NEWS BRIEF

New marijuana alliance joins Koch brothers, social justice advocates

The Cannabis Freedom Alliance is the third national marijuana reform group announced in three months this year, but the difference with this one is its Republican participation – particularly the billionaire Koch brothers.

According to Politico, the alliance includes Americans for Prosperity, the political organization founded in 2004 by the Koch brothers to support Republicans and conservative causes.

The advocacy group also includes:

  • Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank.
  • Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, which is run by a former staffer of Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul.
  • The Weldon Project, a nonprofit dedicated to getting people with marijuana convictions out of prison.

Weldon Angelos, the founder of The Weldon Project, told Politico he was able to connect with Charles Koch last summer, and the two found mutual ground in their desire to get Congress to legalize marijuana.

Angelos believes the political influence wielded by the Koch brothers could prove key to getting legalization across the finish line, particularly with the 50-50 Democrat-Republican divide in the U.S. Senate.

Angelos called Americans for Prosperity the “perfect partner” to work with on federal legalization because of its support for “free and open markets” – in contrast to some marijuana corporate interests that prefer the various state-level oligopolies they currently enjoy without much in the way of outside competition.

The alliance plans to lobby Republican senators such as Paul and Utah’s Mike Lee, Politico reported. In addition, the group hopes to help shape a national marijuana regulatory system.

Also new to the federal MJ lobbying scene in recent months, with a dizzying array of business and activist stakeholders: the U.S. Cannabis Council and the Coalition for Cannabis Policy, Education and Regulation.

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