David Frum

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California: Kennedy Group Puts $2 Million Into Fighting Pot-legalization Measures

California weed 2.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

A national coalition that includes Rep. Patrick Kennedy has raised more than $2 million to fight marijuana legalization initiatives in five states this year, including a November ballot measure to legalize recreational pot in California.

Smart Approaches to Marijuana is the anti-legalization group founded by Kennedy and co-founders David Frum, senior editor of the Atlantic; and Kevin Sabet, a former drug policy advisor to the Obama administration.

Sabet, president of the group SAM Action, said that California will get a large amount of the money, because its vote affects so many people and is likely to have the biggest influence on other states considering similar proposals.

“If there is one thing we agree on with legalization advocates, it’s that California is important,” said Sabet, explaining why a large share of funding is going to the state.

If approved by voters this November, the ballot measure would allow adults 21 and older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of pot for recreational purposes and would also impose a 15% tax on retail sales of the drug.

SAM Action also plans to fund battles against marijuana legalization initiatives on the November ballots in Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine, in addition to Arizona, where signatures have been turned in, according to Sabet.

California: Police And Prison Guard Groups Fight Marijuana Legalization

Police and prison guard groups are afraid of losing revenue if marijuana is legalized.

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Police and prison guard groups are afraid that legalizing recreational marijuana in California will cause them to lose the revenue streams upon which they have become addicted. These groups have raised roughly half of all money raised to oppose the legalization measure.

The marijuana legalization initiative is slated to go before voters in November. Opposition to the initiative has been organized by John Lovell, a longtime Sacramento lobbyist for police chiefs and prison guard supervisors. His Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies raised $60,000 in the first three months of this year for his committee created to defeat the pot initiative, according to a disclosure filed earlier this month.

The funds came from groups representing law enforcement, including the California Police Chiefs Association, the Riverside Sheriffs’ Association, the Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Issues PAC, and the California Correctional Supervisor’s Organization. Other donors include the California Teamsters union and the California Hospital Association, as well as Sam Action, an anti-marijuana advocacy group co-founded by former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-Mass., and former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum.

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