Lobbying for marijuana reform is almost as big a business as reform itself

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Cannabis campaigns are delivering big money to try to implement legal changes

Federal marijuana reform has been an effort, which, although it has not borne fruit, has been heavily funded. Cannabis signs major funders of recent legalization efforts, which in fact outstrips advocacy groups.

A total of five initiatives have been funded by different marijuana companies. All were intended to have these measures legalized during the midterm elections last November. This certainly marked a dramatic change from the past few years, when the main funders of cannabis reform used to be advocacy groups and individuals with deep pockets.

Arkansas, Maryland, Missouri and North and South Dakota were the five states that, according to campaign finance records, raised nearly $20 million combined. The Old Line State and The Show Me State were the only two that ended up welcoming this growing market.

95% of the total raised, which translates to just over $19 million, came from sources identifiable as cannabis industry companies, the latest campaign finance records show. Data like this is a clear indication of the financial toll the cannabis industry has taken on the country.

“We’re entering a period of time where it’s no longer about taxing and regulating cannabis like alcohol,” said Toi Hutchinson, president, and CEO of the Washington, DC-based Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which was a major force behind the historic legalization campaign more than a decade ago in Colorado. “We now have a thriving industry that exists.”