Tag Archives: Sen. Ron Wyden

Marijuana Lobby Attempts to Buy Their Congress

When voting in the next election, for state and federal offices, it would be nice to support the candidates who are not taking money from the marijuana lobby and their various advocacy groups.

Here’s some direct quotations from an article in Open Secrets, The Money in Marijuana, updated by Brianna Gurciullo in November, 2015:

Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Oregon, is a big advocate for the marijuana lobby. Rep. Jared Polis,Colorado, top photo, is a big pot supporter. Polis is also the third wealthiest member of Congress.

“During the 2014 election cycle, NORML PAC’s $28,000 in donations – the most it has ever spent – went to politicians like Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), along with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who have supported legislation freeing up access to medical marijuana and protecting state marijuana laws.

“Besides contributions, MPP has spent more than $1 million on lobbying in Washington since 2002. The organization’s efforts peaked in 2007 at $200,000 and have dropped off since then. In 2014, MPP’s lobbyist, Dan Riffle, looked to gain support for legislation to protect state marijuana laws, eliminate marijuana prohibition on the federal level, give marijuana-related businesses access to banking services and allow those businesses to receive tax deductions and credit.  (Dan Riffle has since quit working for MPP)

“That year, MPP also lobbied against Congress blocking a D.C. law to decriminalize marijuana possession.

“Then there is the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization that calls for the revision of all drug laws. Since 2001, DPA has spent almost $4.2 million lobbying to end the “War on Drugs.” The organization’s spending skyrocketed in 2009 to $880,000 and has hovered around $500,000 ever since. In the first three quarters of 2015, DPA spent $322,000 lobbying Congress on overhauling drug sentencing, ending the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana, preventing overdoses, tackling synthetic drug use and allowing individuals convicted of drug-related crimes to obtain student loans.

Representative Dana Rohrabacher is the marijuana lobby’s biggest ally in Congress from California.

“The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA), founded in 2010, is the sole group representing state-sanctioned marijuana-related businesses on the federal level. NCIA aims to create an economic environment that is not hostile to cannabis. During the 2014 election cycle, NCIA’s PAC raised $48,600 and spent $32,500 on contributions to allies like Reps. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Edwin Perlmutter (D-Colo.), former Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). So far this cycle, NCIA has been one of the biggest contributors to Rand Paul’s presidential campaign.

“The trade group has spent $312,500 on lobbying since 2011. This year, NCIA hired outside lobbying firms – Heather Podesta & Partners and Jochum, Shore & Trossevin – to bolster efforts by its chief lobbyist, Michael Correia. NCIA has zeroed in on issues like protecting banks that provide services to marijuana enterprises from federal prosecution and giving tax deductions to those businesses, in addition to supporting bills to regulate marijuana like alcohol and protect state marijuana laws. The association also supported an amendment to an appropriations bill that would prevent “any federal Department of Justice funds from being used to raid, prosecute or otherwise harass state-sanctioned medical marijuana patients and providers,” according to its lobbying report.”

Groups Allegedly Against Legalization

The same article talks about the type of lobbyists who may be against legalization and records money given by pharmaceutical companies, alcohol companies, police unions and prison-for-profit companies.

Alcohol businesses profit when marijuana is legalized, because so many marijuana users drink also.  In fact, the so-called “sin industries” sometimes join forces in their lobbying efforts.

Everyone knows pharmaceutical companies donate a lot to Congress, but most of their medications are not medications that would compete with marijuana.  We believe that if pharmaceutical companies find a way to profit from marijuana, they will join Altria, a tobacco company, and get into the marijuana businesses.  In fact, GW Pharmaceuticals has Sativex and Epidiolex, two medicines derived from components of marijuana.

Read the entire Open Secrets article online(California has its own marijuana lobby that is active in the state legislature.)