The medical marijuana industry has lost a huge supporter who pumped tens of millions of dollars into the cause and helped legalize cannabis in several states.
Billionaire Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, died over the weekend at his home in Florida at the age of 80.
Lewis spent more than $40 million over the past two decades funding marijuana legalization efforts. Most recently, he funneled money into the successful drives to legalize recreational cannabis in Washington State and medical marijuana in Massachusetts.
Earlier, he funded marijuana efforts in almost a dozen states, including everywhere from Arizona to Utah.
His track record was impressive, as many of the measure he backed eventually were successful, though he was unable to help legalize medical marijuana in his home state of Ohio.
Lewis was the ideal champion for the industry: an extremely wealthy, hugely successful businessman in a mainstream industry who spoke out publicly about the benefits of medical marijuana.
He also railed on federal marijuana laws, calling them “outdated, ineffective, and stupid.”
Some other notable business professionals support marijuana legalization, but none of Lewis’ caliber. It doesn’t appear at this time that there is an heir apparent to MMJ cause with the same level of personal wealth and credibility, though that could change as marijuana becomes more acceptable nationwide.