Pro-Legalization Groups Have Huge Fundraising Advantage For Ballot Measures

With just two weeks to go until the U.S. election – when nine states will vote on marijuana legalization measures – new data from the Marijuana Business Daily shows that funds raised for pro-legalization campaigns have far surpassed those raised for anti-legalization groups.

Collectively, pro-legalization ballot committees have raised $3.25 for every $1 given to anti-legalization ballot committees, according to an analysis of donations made to both camps.

In total, pro-legalization ballot committees have raised $38.7-million compared to the opposition’s $11.9-million (these figures include funds raised in Montana, which has already legalized medical marijuana and is voting on allowing commercial production and sales.)

chart donations

This new data should have legalization supporters feeling optimistic, as a financial advantage so significant at this stage in the game will allow for further advertising, marketing, education and voter turnout campaigns ahead of the November 8 election.

Ballot committees (or political action committees, depending on the state) are registered organizations that gather campaign contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations in support of or against certain ballot initiatives. Major advocacy groups like the Drug Policy Alliance or the Marijuana Policy Project are typically the big donors to pro-legalization committees.

Committees in every state with a ballot measure to actually legalize recreational or medical marijuana have raised more than their opponents. The greatest disparity in funds raised between camps is in Maine, where pro-legalization groups have so far outraised the opposition almost 29 to one. Only Montana’s pro-legalization committees have been outraised by anti-legalization groups.

California’s eight pro-legalization ballot committees have raised more dough than any other state – nearly $20 million dollars versus the $2.4-million raised by the measures’ opponents.

Despite still being outraised by pro-legalization groups, anti-legalization ballot committees in Florida have raised $3.4-million – more than any other opposition campaign across the country.

Where the money is actually coming from changes dramatically between camps. For many anti-legalization ballot committees, large donations typically come from a small group of wealthy donors. For example, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave $2-million to anti-legalization committees in Nevada and $1-million each to opposition committees in Florida and Massachusetts.

For pro-legalization committees, the money tends to come from a more diverse range of sources, including individuals, advocacy groups and business interests.

h/t Marijuana Business Daily

Banner image: Mark Dion, who has spent 32 years in law enforcement, took part in a video ad campaign in support of Maine's legalization ballot initiative, Question 1.


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