Can the cannabis industry help Hillary Clinton win the White House? David Freedlander of Bloomberg thinks it might, if only she would embrace their cause.
Presidential candidates, he argues, could cash in on the fastest-growing industry in the US by making legalization part of their platform. The incentives go beyond courting the college student and stereotypical-aging-hippie vote, he says. Cannabis is a $2.7-billion industry in America. And today's legalization lobbyists wear suits instead of tie-dye, notes Amy Margolis, who runs the Oregon Cannabis PAC.
These lobbyists could provide substantial campaign financing, if candidates are bold enough to accept their money. According to the Bloomberg piece, the Clinton campaign returned a donation from The National Cannabis Industry Association, though of course supporters were free to buy tickets that costs $2,700 apiece to a fundraiser for Clinton's campaign in Portland in August.
Lobbyists were on-site to plead their case. Leah Maurer, an Oregon-based advocate who attended the Portland fundraiser, says she cornered Clinton about legalization afterward, and the former First Lady said, "I am thinking about it."
Nonetheless, the former Secretary of State and U.S. senator says she's never smoked cannabis and opposed legalization during the 2008 presidential campaign, so it remains to be seen whether industry lobbyists can change her mind.
For now, cannabis advocates seem content to wait for her to come on-side. As Margolis told Bloomberg News, "We felt like she was teetering on the edge of taking a side on the issue. Like she was at least willing to have a further conversation about it."