Marijuana industry donations to DC lawmakers already top 2018

The cannabis industry donated more than $305,000 to U.S. congressional members in the first half of 2019, exceeding last year’s total of about $248,500 by more than 20%.

The data was collected from federal filings by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), an organization that actively opposes marijuana legalization, The Hill reported.

SAM said in a blog that its database now includes donations from lobbying firms that work for the marijuana industry.

Lobbyists include Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck for the Cannabis Trade Federation and Squire Patton Boggs for former House Speaker John Boehner’s National Cannabis Roundtable.

The top recipients for those donations in the first half of 2019:

  • Rep. Earl Blumenauer, Oregon Democrat: $103,500
  • Rep. Kathleen Rice, New York Democrat: $76,800
  • Sen. Rand Paul, Republican from Kentucky: $50,300
  • Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, Democrat from Nevada: $32,600
  • Rep. Dave Joyce, Ohio Republican: $29,700

Blumenauer and Joyce are longtime marijuana reform advocates who also have tried to ensure that state lawful cannabis programs are protected from federal interference.

Although higher than last year, the donations to individual lawmakers pale in comparison to what the cannabis industry is spending on lobbying on Capitol Hill.

Leading marijuana industry associations and companies spent roughly $2 million in the first half of this year to fight for reform in Washington DC. That includes meeting with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.

And in Florida, Curaleaf and Surterra have contributed a total of $1.1 million to push for recreational marijuana legalization in the state.

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