Political contributions to lawmakers from marijuana industry groups this year have already topped totals from 2018, a new study finds.
The marijuana industry gave $305,675 to members of Congress in the first half of 2019, compared with $248,504 for all of last year. This is according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission filings by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a group that opposes legalization.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) leads the number of recipients with nearly $60,000 from marijuana-related companies. He was also the top recipient among incumbents seeking reelection last year, when he received $33,176.
Blumenauer is a staunch supporter of the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks to work with marijuana businesses that are legal under state law.
The representative’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the SAM analysis.
SAM took into account contributions from groups like the National Cannabis Industry Association, as well as the law firm Squire Patton Boggs, which has a group working on client matters on cannabis.
“The flow of political donations from the marijuana industry to elected officials has grown exponentially over the last few years as massive investment from the titans of addiction has increased,” Kevin Sabet, president of SAM said in a statement.
“Big Marijuana is dutifully following the playbook of Big Tobacco and part of that strategy was greasing the wheels on public policy with donations. Another key aspect was keeping those donations under the radar, we aren’t going to let that happen,” he added.
In 2018, the top recipients besides Blumenauer were Reps. Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Ed Perlmutter (D-Colo.) and Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).
SAM opposes marijuana legalization efforts at the state and federal level. On Tuesday, the New York Joint Commission on Public Ethics denied a request from the SAM Action New York chapter to keep its donors and sources of funding private, meaning it may soon need to reveal the identity of its contributors.