California Lt. Gov. Filling Gubernatorial War Chest with Cannabis Industry Donations

California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has raised $317,478 for his expected 2018 gubernatorial bid from cannabis companies in the state – far exceeding industry donations to other Democratic candidates Antonio Villaraigosa, the former mayor of Los Angeles, and state Treasurer John Chiang, who have raised $5,000 and $100, respectively, the Los Angeles Times reports.  The contributions from the industry, however, represent just a fraction of Newsom’s $14 million campaign war chest.

In February, following comments from White House officials indicating a potential crackdown on state-approved cannabis markets, Newsom wrote a letter to President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, urging the administration “to work in partnership with California and the other eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana for adult use,” adding that enforcing federal law on the industry would “hand it back to drug cartels and criminals.”

According to the report, political donors with cannabis industry ties have, so far, donated more money to California’s gubernatorial candidates that all other farmers in the state’s agricultural industry combined.

On Mar. 3, Newsom attended a $5,000-a-plate fundraiser held by Indus Holding Company, a manufacturer of cannabis-infused confections. During the event, attendees and the lieutenant governor discussed banking options for the cannabis industry; however his spokesman, Dan Newman, said that Newsom “never” discusses specific or pending legislation with donors and there were “hundreds” of banking ideas discussed and his boss “had not endorsed any one concept.”

Newsom’s campaign committee reported $50,000 in cannabis industry-related donations after the fundraiser.

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