The shape of federal cannabis reform will come down to which political party, Democrats or Republicans, is in power when it crosses the finish line.
Republicans will be more likely to advance legislation with lower taxes and light regulation, while Democrats have generally shown that they will want more of both, as well as ample justice and equity-focused provisions.
This is already evident in the first two comprehensive reform proposals to emerge from both sides. There’s the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Cory Booker and Ron Wyden, set to be formally introduced in the coming months. And then there’s the States Reform Act, sponsored by Rep. Nancy Mace, which was introduced in late 2021.
While both bills would remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, and therefore end federal cannabis prohibition, the CAO Act is more justice-centered while the States Reform Act is bigger on business. The CAO Act has the backing of the Marijuana Justice Coalition, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union and Human Rights Watch among its members. Mace’s States Reform Act has the backing of the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, which includes the Koch group Americans for Prosperity on its steering committee.
As for the executives at the helm of some of the highest valued cannabis companies in the U.S.? They are putting their money behind Mace.
Cannabis Wire looked at the Congressional campaign contributions of executives at the following multstate operators, or MSOs: Ascend, Ayr, Canopy Growth, Columbia Care, Cresco, Curaleaf, Green Thumb Industries, TerrAscend, Trulieve, and Verano.
Of these companies, six CEOs made a campaign contribution in 2022. Four of them gave to Mace alone. One gave to Mace and to Gary Chambers, a Democrat from Louisiana who is running for Senate. And one gave only to Chambers. (Chambers made headlines by smoking cannabis in his campaign ad.)
Where CEOs gave money to Mace, other executives often followed. Of the 8 non-CEO executives from these companies who made contributions, 6 made contributions to Mace.
Here is a breakdown of each candidate that received a contribution from one of these executives, and how many executives contributed to each candidate:
Total who gave to Mace: 11
Total who gave to Chambers: 5
Others: Rosen for Nevada (1), DCCC (1)
What about 2021?
Total who gave to Schumer: 2
Total who gave to Booker: 2
Total who gave to Wyden: 1
Total who gave to Mace: 1
Others: Blumenauer for Congress (2), Quigley for Congress (1), JD Vance (1), Team Graham (1), Manchin for West Virginia (1), Dan Crenshaw (1), Alex Padilla for Senate (1) Pallone for Congress (1)
Here is an overview of which company executives made contributions, to whom, and how much:
George Archos, CEO, gave $3,000 to Chambers for Louisiana (Last year, he gave more than $10,000 to Cory Booker)
(Last year, John Tipton, President, gave $2,000 to Cory Booker)
Green Thumb Industries:
Ben Kovler, CEO, gave $2,800 to Team Mace, $2,800 to Nancy Mace for Congress, and $2,900 to Chambers for Louisiana
Anthony Georgiadis, Chief Financial Officer, gave $2,000 to Nancy Mace for Congress, $2,000 to Team Mace, and $2,900 to Chambers for Louisiana
Andrew Grossman, Head of Capital Markets, gave $2,000 to Nancy Mace for Congress, and $2,000 to Team Mace, and $1,000 to Chambers for Louisiana
Dina Rollman, SVP Government & Regulatory Affairs, gave $1,000 to Nancy Mace for Congress, $1,000 to Team Mace, and $2,900 to Chambers for Louisiana
Joe Bayern, former CEO, gave $2,000 to Rosen for Nevada (Last year, he gave $2,000 to Wyden for Senate and $1,000 to Blumenauer for Congress)
Ed Conklin, SVP, Government Relations, gave $2,000 to Nancy Mace for Congress (Last year, he gave $500 to Blumenauer for Congress)
Charlie Bachtell, CEO, gave $5,800 to Team Mace, $5,800 to Nancy Mace for Congress (Last year, he gave $2,900 to Quigley for Congress, and $2,900 to Friends of Schumer)
Jason Erkes, Chief Communications Officer, gave $2,900 to Team Mace, and $2,900 to Nancy Mace for Congress
TJ Manning, Chair, gave $2,900 to Team Mace, and $2,900 to Nancy Mace for Congress
Columbia Care (in the process of being acquired by Cresco):
Nick Vita, CEO, gave $2,500 to Nancy Mace for Congress (Last year, he gave $2,900 to JD Vance for Senate, $2,900 to Ohioans for JD, $2,000 to Team Graham, $1,000 to Manchin for West Virginia, $500 to Dan Crenshaw for Congress, and $5,600 to Win Red)
David Klein, CEO, gave $5,800 to Nancy Mace for Congress (Last year, he gave $2,900 to Alex Padilla for Senate, $2,900 twice to Friends of Schumer, $2,000 to Pallone for Congress, $1,000 to Nancy Mace for Congress, and $1,000 to Win Red)
David Culver, Vice President of Global Government Relations, gave $1,000 to DCCC
Abner Kurtin, CEO, gave $2,900 to Team Mace, and $2,900 to Nancy Mace for Congress
Editor’s note: A single contribution from an individual may show up under multiple committees for the same candidate on the FEC website.