On June 30, US Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul attended the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO and held his own private, $2,700-per-ticket fundraiser. An invitation to the fundraiser, which was originally obtained by Yahoo News, can be seen below.
As The Associated Press points out, Rand Paul’s pot industry fundraiser marks the first time in US history that a major-party presidential candidate has attempted to openly seek campaign cash from America’s new legal marijuana industry. Around 40 marijuana business leaders met with Paul at the event.
“This is a historical moment, that our industry is now working together with a presidential candidate,” said attendee Tripp Keber, owner of Dixie Elixirs.
Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert told The Associated Press, “It really speaks to how important this issue is and how far it’s come… We’re seeing officials at the local, state and now federal level recognize this is now a legitimate industry, just like any other legal industry in many facets.”
The Denver Post notes that the National Cannabis Industry Association donated $5,000 to Paul, marking the organization’s first-ever donation to a presidential campaign. “We are simply showing support for Senator Paul because he has shown support for us,” said NCIA deputy director Taylor West.
In March, Senator Paul teamed up with Democratic Senators Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing a bipartisan bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, to end the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana and scientific cannabis research. Senators Booker and Paul have also recently joined forces in a push to reform the federal criminal justice system’s treatment of non-violent drug offenders. Paul has also indicated that he supports changing federal laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to use banking services.
According to The Associated Press, former New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Gary Johnson held a fundraiser for the Drug Policy Alliance while he was still vying for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. However, marijuana legalization was still in its infancy at that time, meaning there was no significant marijuana industry from which to seek donations.
In September of last year, 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.
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