Politicians Opposed to Marijuana
WHO IS FUNDING THE POLITICIANS OPPOSED TO MARIJUANAN LEGALIZATION?
Debbie Wasserman Shultz, the former head of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and current congresswoman from Florida’s 23rd district, has become a national celebrity over the past year.
She drew criticism from many major media outlets for favoring her longtime associate Hillary Clinton over the other Democratic candidates in the presidential primaries, and she was forced to step down as DNC chair after leaked emails proved that top-ranking members of the DNC were indeed biased for Clinton.
She may be on her way out of congress as well. After serving as a US House rep for over a decade, Wasserman Schultz is facing the toughest primary challenge of her career. In addition to those DNC shenanigans, Wasserman Schultz’s opponent Tim Canova has been pointing to her anti-marijuana record as one reason why Florida’s 23rd needs a new representative.
“In Florida, I supported the 2014 medical marijuana referendum that garnered about 58 percent of the vote statewide, falling just short of the required 60 percent mark,” Canova writes on his campaign website. “My opponent, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is a drug warrior who opposed the medical marijuana referendum.”
“I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs,” Wasserman Schultz said in January 2016.
Why does Wasserman Schultz fight something that’s supported by a majority of her constituents?
THE ALCOHOL INDUSTRY
One likely reason why is that Wasserman Schulz has long been funded by the alcohol industry, and the alcohol industry rightfully sees legalized marijuana as a threat to its profits.
According to OpenSecrets, over her career Wasserman Schultz has received $81,500 in campaign contributions from Southern Wine & Spirits, making the company her second-biggest contributor. She’s also received $60,000 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association and $51,000 from Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America.
Wasserman Schultz is far from the only person that alcohol companies have funneled money to.
John Mica (R – Florida) has received $91,000 from the National Beer Wholesalers Association over his career, making the company his fifth-biggest contributor. Mica has referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug” and criticized the Obama administration for not cracking down on states that have legalized marijuana.
NORML has given Mica an F rating.
California will vote on Prop 64. this November, which will legalize recreational marijuana if it passes. Marijuana advocates have recently filed a lawsuit against Feinstein as a response to the misleading attacks she has made against Prop 64.
NORML has given Feinstein a D rating.
Other industries are also funding anti-marijuana politicians, including:
The prohibition of marijuana has created a lot of work and generated a lot of funds for law enforcement agencies.
In 2012, the State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers gave $5,000 to former governor Linda Lingle’s unsuccessful campaign for a senate seat. Lingle has always been opposed to marijuana. She once said that calling medical marijuana dispensaries “compassion centers” was an insult because they are actually “pot shops”.
The Florida Police Benevolent Association has donated the following amounts to none other than Debbie Wasserman Schultz:
THE PRIVATE PRISON INDUSTRY
Marijuana prohibition and the many non-violent offenders it has put in jail has generated a lot of revenue for private prisons, too.
Corrections Corp of America, the largest private corrections company in the country, has given the following amounts to senator Bob Corker (R – Tennessee):
Corker’s office sends out the following stock response when constituents complain about the fact that marijuana is classified by the FDA as a Schedule I drug, making it officially considered less dangerous than cocaine and crystal meth: “As you know, the use and distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law. At this time, I do not support the legalization of marijuana or any legislation that declassifies it as a Schedule I drug.”
NORML has given Corker an F rating.
The GEO Group, a corrections company with 20,000 employees and billions of dollars in assets, has given the following amounts to US House rep Henry Cuellar (D – Texas):
NORML has given Cuellar a D rating.
With private prisons being phased out by the Justice Department, the Obama administration allowing for more medical marijuana research, and more and more states opting to legalize medical and recreational marijuana, the future of the cannabis industry looks very bright despite all the money that’s being used to fight it.
*Note: Campaign contribution totals include contributions from both companies’ political action committees and individuals who work for these companies.
ABOUT THIS AUTHOR
David Miller works for Legal Marijuana Finder. Legal Marijuana is a one stop website for cannabis business owners and their clients. List your marijuana dispensary for free here.