Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul made a splash in Denver on Tuesday, raising an estimated minimum of $120,000 in a closed-door private fundraising event at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit.
The total amount raised puts him firmly in the top tier of public officials who have raised campaign funds from the cannabis industry.
There was no immediate word from the Paul campaign on how much was actually raised at the event, and the total could easily top Marijuana Business Daily‘s estimate. Attendees reported about 40 individuals took part in the event, paying a minimum of $2,700 apiece. In addition, the Marijuana Policy Project provided a $15,000 donation.
Tripp Keber, CEO of Dixie Brands, was one of those attendees.
“Sen. Paul certainly is bringing some innovative ideas to the cannabis reform movement. Certainly, he seems to have a tremendous amount of support behind him in that room, and I’d suggest that room represents the majority of the leadership in the space,” he said. “This is a historical moment… that our industry is now working with a presidential candidate.”
Keber said Paul kept his comments “somewhat vague” on specific policy, but the overall message was that he was behind states’ rights when it comes to regulating the marijuana industry.
“I ultimately think he’s looking to marshal the resources that we have as cannabis business owners and leaders in the industry to work to his advantage,” Keber said.
Rob Kampia, the executive director of MPP, was also at the event, and said his organization is backing Paul in the GOP primary.
“It was encouraging. We wouldn’t have heard a presidential candidate talking that way four years ago,” Kampia said, though he said Paul didn’t say anything that he hasn’t said publicly in the past. He added that MPP will likely contribute another $10,000 down the road to Paul’s campaign.
“He’s our leader,” Kampia said.