Chart of the Week: Many marijuana businesses unsure if they’ll donate to 2016 legalization efforts

By Eli McVey

Some marijuana businesses are ramping up donations to legalization efforts ahead of what promises to be a historic election for the industry, but many are still weighing whether to contribute and could end up staying on the sidelines financially.

With just three months to go until Election Day, more than a quarter of industry executives who took an online poll by Marijuana Business Daily said their companies have already pumped money into state-level legalization campaigns or national groups spearheading ballot measures this year.

The average donation hovers around $10,000 for plant-touching and ancillary businesses, and around $13,000 for cannabis industry investors, according to the poll of more than 400 presidents, founders and C-level executives in the marijuana sector.

Another 17% of executives who took the poll said their companies have not made donations yet but plan to in the future, though whether the businesses ultimately follow through is another question.

In a somewhat worrying sign for legalization campaigns, nearly 20% of executives said their companies don’t plan to pitch in at all, while more than a third said their businesses haven’t yet donated and are still deciding whether they will.

Wooing the sizable undecided segment of the industry could make or break some campaigns.

Legalization supporters have been sounding the alarm about the industry’s overall lack of financial support, particularly for recreational marijuana measures in California and Massachusetts and a medical measure in Florida.

Several campaigns are facing increasing opposition from influential individuals and politicians who are planning to pump millions of dollars into defeating legalization at the polls.

The fear this year is that marijuana companies will become complacent, thinking that legalization in various states is a lock considering the strong momentum behind cannabis in general.

On the bright side, marijuana investors seem particularly willing to open their wallets to support legalization: nearly 30% have already made a contribution, and 20% are still planning to.

With a longer-term outlook on the industry and more access to capital than the average business, investors have reason to make donating to legalization initiatives a priority.

Planned future donations from investors who responded to the poll amount to an average of nearly $42,000, more than three times the amount businesses in this segment have already contributed. That means legalization campaigns could get a much-needed boost heading into the elections.

Eli McVey can be reached at [email protected]

3 comments on “Chart of the Week: Many marijuana businesses unsure if they’ll donate to 2016 legalization efforts
  1. Jim Naumann on

    Personally, I think this is a huge issue within the cannabis industry. Several small businesses looking to break into the cannabis industry cannot even get 10 minutes with the major players in the cannabis industry. It feels like those that have now made a good return on their investment forgot they were once a startup looking for a break to work with a company, get advice without having to pay large sums of money or are ignored all together. It seems that now that legalization feels imminent that they do not have an interest in enhancing the industry or organically growing the industry.
    How many of the principles of the major cannabis companies are using multi-national corporations for services as a small business owner from within the cannabis community cannot get time to speak with said principles or celebrities about support in states that are not legal yet?
    Everyone speaks of making sure that everyone can have access to the plant, can everyone have access to the political power of the money now made in this industry? Does everyone have access to the knowledge within the industry? Before we all realized the medicinal power of cannabis we were mostly recreational users, communal in the sharing of our cannabis, helping others when we could.
    Is your company helping others elevate the legalization cause in a non-legal state? Is your company cultivating ancillary small businesses from within the cannabis community to support your business?

  2. Fred on

    Interesting article which fails to ask the Why? of campaign donation reticence. Assumption can only be the status quo wants to remain the status quo.

  3. bongstar420 on

    Hmmm…don’t these people realize that their money in politics is no different from Exxon or Monsanto doing the same?

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