Mid-year Federal Election Commission filings are in, and Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign has reportedly received a boost from atypical Republican primary donors like Marijuana Policy Project and Whole Foods.
National Journal notes that Marijuana Policy Project PAC donated $5,000 to Rand Paul for America, another $5,000 to Paul’s Senate re-election campaign, and $4,500 to Rand Paul Victory Fund, a PAC which supports Paul’s Senate re-election bid. MPP recently rated Rand Paul’s positions on cannabis freedom issues with an “A-” grade, placing him ahead of all announced presidential candidates in both parties.
“Rand Paul has actually put his money where his mouth is,” said Marijuana Policy Project federal policies director Dan Riffle. “He’s been very firm in his belief that states ought to set their own marijuana policy.” Riffle said that he is not surprised that his organization chose to “max out” donations for Paul after MPP executives attended Paul’s political fundraiser for marijuana-related business leaders last June at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit in Denver, Colo.
Paul sponsored a bill last month that would allow cannabis businesses to access legal banking services. He has also joined with Democratic Senator Corey Booker to promote reform to federal drug sentencing guidelines and in sponsoring the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, which would end the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana and scientific cannabis research.
Mother Jones’ Russ Choma analyzed the FEC filings of America’s Liberty PAC, a super PAC supporting Paul’s campaign, and found more unusual filings for a Republican primary bid. “George Macricostas, the CEO of data storage company RagingWire, donated $1.1 million to the super PAC. Jeff Yass, the CEO of Philadelphia private investment firm Susquehenna International donated $1 million. Both represent relatively untapped sources of money for a conservative candidate. Yass has previously written large checks, but none larger than the $50,000 donation he made in 2004 to Club for Growth, while Macricostas appears to have donated a total of just over $12,000 prior to his $1.1 million donation to America’s Liberty,” he wrote.
Choma added, “The super PAC roped in other big donations, including $50,000 from John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, and $50,000 from Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com. The group also also received $15,000 from ICC Holdings, an Illinois company hoping to be one of the first companies to legally operate a commercial cannabis farm.”
Paul has called for a more inclusive Republican Party and said earlier this year, “If we want our message to resonate across the land, if we want our message to be inclusive, I tell people, look the Republican party needs to look like America… White, black, brown, rich poor, with tattoos and without tattoos, with earrings and without earrings. We need to take our message where it’s not been taken before.”
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Last September, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.