Who pays for pro/con marijuana ballot campaigns

For the Gazette
Published: 10/28/2016 10:42:28 PM

Much of the money powering the campaign for marijuana legalization in Massachusetts is coming from big national pro-legalization groups and the cannabis industry, while the funding for the opposition is mostly from the alcohol industry and health care groups, as of Oct. 10.

Yes on 4

Filings with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance shows much of the $5.3 million the pro campaign, Yes on 4, has raised came from the cannabis industry, civil rights groups, medical marijuana proponents, private donors and national pro-legalization groups including the National Organization For The Reform of Marijuana Laws, the Marijuana Policy Project, and the New Approach Political Action Committee.

New Approach alone accounted for more than three-quarters of the total. That group has also supported legalization efforts in California, Maine and Oregon, with much of its funding over the last few years coming from the family of the late Progressive Insurance founder Peter Lewis, a medical marijuana advocate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Jonathan Bush, the CEO of Athenahealth and cousin of former U.S. President George W. Bush, also gave the group $10,000, and Susan Ruiz, a Milton-based investor, gave $155,000.

Another $25,000 came from Happy Valley Ventures, an organization that plans to open a medical marijuana dispensary on Greenfield’s Main Street.

The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Mass.

Anti-legalization effort, The Campaign for a Safe and Healthy Massachusetts, had raised $1.7 million as of Oct 21.

The lion’s share of that money came from a $1 million donation from Sheldon Adelson, a casino magnate and Boston native.

The rest came from the alcohol, beer, wine and restaurant industry, health care and health policy groups, national anti-marijuana political action committees, substance abuse treatment groups and law enforcement. Professional hockey legend Bobby Orr gave $1,000.


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