Marijuana industry spent $23 M to bring the legalize petition to the ballot in Missouri/Arkansas – Newstalk KZRGPosted by On

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — The call went out from leaders in the medical marijuana industry: Money was needed for a Missouri ballot initiative to legalize recreational cannabis for adults. Their colleagues responded.

Marijuana farms, manufacturers and retailers provided millions of dollars that footed a petition drive to put the proposal on the November ballot and promote it to voters. The deep-pocketed outpouring highlighted the depth of the emerging industry’s roots in the traditionally conservative state, as well as its tremendous potential for growth.

All told, marijuana legalization campaigns have raised about $23 million in five states — Missouri, Arkansas, Maryland, North Dakota and South Dakota. The vast majority of that has been in Arkansas and Missouri, where more than 85% of contributions have come from donors associated with companies holding medical marijuana licenses, according to an analysis of the most recent campaign finance reports.

The biggest donor is Good Day Farm, which describes itself as the “largest licensed medical cannabis producer in the South” with facilities in Arkansas, Missouri and Louisiana. It gave a combined $3.5 million to legalization campaigns in Arkansas and Missouri. And when the Missouri campaign needed help gathering petition signatures, Good Day Farm paid an additional $1 million directly to the firm circulating the petitions.

“It’s kind of the cost of doing business, I guess,” said Alex Gray, chief…

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