Why Marijuana Merchants Love Rand Paul

And what could make them love him more



Last week Rand Paul got a higher grade on marijuana policy than any other presidential candidate in a report card from a leading reform group, and this week he held a fundraiser at a cannabusiness convention in Denver. In my latest Forbes column, I review the positions that have made the Kentucky senator popular among pot entrepreneurs:  

This week about 40 people paid at least $2,700 each to hear Rand Paul talk about drug policy during the National Cannabis Industry Association's conference at the Denver Convention Center. That "private briefing" made the Kentucky senator the first major-party presidential candidate to hold a fundraiser aimed at people in the marijuana business.

"We are now establishing ourselves as a true industry with a professional focus, and we have issues that we need to have dealt with on the federal level," Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, told The Washington Post. "We have candidates and elected officials who are seeing that need for reform." Tripp Keber, CEO of Dixie Elixirs & Edibles, a Denver-based manufacturer of marijuana products, called the fundraiser "a historical moment, that our industry is now working together with a presidential candidate."

That the candidate was a Republican may seem counterintuitive, but that it was Paul is hardly surprising. For years the self-described "libertarian-ish" conservative has been criticizing the war on drugs and recommending a state-centered approach to psychoactive substances. Among other things, that means states like Colorado are free to adopt policies that allow businesses like Keber's to flourish. Although Paul has refrained from endorsing marijuana legalization, he opposes federal interference with the industry, which is the biggest obstacle it currently faces.

Read the whole thing.

NEXT: Brickbat: Boo Boo

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  1. I’ll do everything to end the war on drugs. The war on drugs has become the most racially disparate outcome that you have in the entire country. Our prisons are full of black and brown kids. Three-fourths of the people in prison are black or brown, and white kids are using drugs, Bill, as you know?at the same rate as these other kids. But kids who have less means, less money, kids who are in areas where police are patrolling?Police are given monetary incentives to make arrests, monetary incentives for their own departments. So I want to end the war on drugs because it’s wrong for everybody, but particularly because poor people are caught up in this, and their lives are ruined by it.

    At which point I assume Bill Maher’s audience booed on reflex.

    1. Rand Paul is only doing this because he hates black people

      1. It’s signalling all the way down

    2. The seals who pack in to clap for Maher seem marginally less trained than those who cram in to clap-clap-clap for Stewart/Colbert/Oliver.

      But seals gotta clap. That’s what they do.

      1. Is Oliver the guy who took over for Stewart ?

        I’ve only seen clips of the new guy but all he did wasa to try and act like he was the guy who just left. No originality at all and very poor copy of who just left.

        That show is over except for the pure politicals who get their signalling info from it.

  2. Seriously…who pays $2700 to hear this speech?

    1. I assume people who want him to have money for his campaign.

    2. People who were going to donate to his campaign anyway, but now get to meet him and talk to him for 30 seconds.

    3. It was either that or spend $65,000 on Chelsea Clinton. The audience wasn’t that stoned.

  3. I like that he’s openly courting the pot industry. I like that there’s a legitimate, above-board pot industry TO court.

    1. And that signals to the customers of those investors that he is serious and not just giving lip service.

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