Big Pot set to influence elections

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You’ve heard of Big Oil, and Big Coal, and Big Money, and Big Sugar…it is what the left wing likes to do to demonise an industry they are campaigning against.

Now there is Big Pot.

After handing over their campaign donation cheques, the smartly dressed business people took their seats at a large horseshoe table inside the Colorado convention centre.

The room was drab and grey and the gathering looked no different from any of the other daily fundraising events that are pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2016 presidential campaign.

But the business executives being courted by Rand Paul, a libertarian-leaning Republican senator, were not lawyers or bankers or oil men. They were the leaders of America’s rapidly growing cannabis industry, men and women becoming rich selling a product that is technically just as illegal as heroin or LSD.

“It was a historic moment,” said Tripp Keber, head of Dixie Brands, a company that sells cannabis-infused fizzy drinks and other marijuana products. “This is the first time a presidential candidate has openly dealt with an industry still considered illegal at the federal level.”

As marijuana becomes big business in America, its political clout is also growing. Politicians are no longer embarrassed to be seen in public with so-called ?pot barons? and the cannabis industry is gearing up to be a significant player in next year?s presidential election. ??

Just as coal companies and Wall Street banks use campaign dollars to get politicians? attention, the makers of pot brownies and cannabis tea are prepared to spend big to get their message across. There is even talk of a marijuana super-PAC which could run television ads in support of cannabis-friendly candidates.

The ?holy grail? of their lobbying efforts is to get marijuana decriminalised and out of the legal grey zone where it is now stuck.

Under US national law, marijuana is still prohibited but the Obama administration has stepped aside to allow individual states to experiment with legalisation.

That means you buy marijuana perfectly legally under state law while at the same time violating federal laws.

It is a legal industry now, there is no reason to be alarmed. These are business people seeking to use their now legal millions to campaign for law changes that suit them.

What will be hilarious is watching the left try and demonise them…after lobbying for legalisation for years.

Arcview, a firm that gathers investment data, calls cannabis ?the fastest growing industry in America? and forecasts it will grow from its current value of $3.4 billion to more than $10 billion by 2019. Last year around 1.5 million Americans are estimated to have bought marijuana products legally under state law.

Yet for all the celebratory news coming out of the industry, business leaders and activists are still trying to strike down the federal ban on cannabis, which they compare to the failed 1920s prohibition on alcohol.

“Marijuana exists on every street corner in America,? said Mr Keber. ?Why allow the drug cartels to fill their coffers and fuel narco-terrorism when we can tax it, track it and regulate it??

And so cannabis supporters are looking for champions among the 2016 presidential candidates. Rand Paul is so far the leading contender and earned an A- ranking from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) for his calls to let states decide their own drug laws.

Cannabis leaders responded with more than $100,000 (?65,000) in donations at his Colorado fundraiser, the maximum they could give, and the National Cannabis Industry Association?s political action committee gave another $5,000.

Good on them…participating in democracy. Prohibition of anything has never worked. Cannabis should be treated the same way as alcohol and tobacco.

Regulate it, tax it, everyone wins.

 

– The Telegraph

 

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