An advocacy group consisting of cannabis proponents from both sides of the political spectrum – the Cannabis Freedom Alliance – launched on Tuesday. The organization includes the Koch brothers-founded Americans for Prosperity, libertarian think tank Reason Foundation, the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, and the Weldon Project, a nonprofit that advocates for the release of cannabis prisoners.
“The Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA) seeks to end the prohibition and criminalization of cannabis in the United States in a manner consistent with helping all Americans achieve their full potential and limiting the number of barriers that inhibit innovation and entrepreneurship in a free and open market.” – Cannabis Freedom Alliance mission statement
The organization, which was reportedly devised during a Zoom call between Calvin Brodus (or Snoop Dogg), Charles Koch, and criminal justice reform advocate Weldon Angelos, last year. Angelos, who got a full pardon from former President Donald Trump last year after serving 13 of 55 years on cannabis trafficking charges, said he was surprised by Koch’s position on drug legalization.
“I had known that his position on drugs was very libertarian,” Angelos said in an interview with Politico. “I just didn’t know he supported the legalization of all drugs.”
Angelos added that advocates “need Republicans” in order to pass a federal legalization measure.
“We need 10 to 12 Republican senators,” Angelos said in the interview. “With Koch’s influence, I think that’s likely a possibility.”
Brent W. Gardner, chief government affairs officer for Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement that the organization is “excited to work alongside our partners to bring cannabis businesses into the light, replacing black and gray markets with a free and fair legal framework.”
“Cannabis commerce will become a way for Americans to lift themselves up, rather than a barrier holding them back,” Gardner said.
In addition to owing his own cannabis brand – Leafs by Snoop – Brodus is a general partner for cannabis investment firm Casa Verde Capital.
Last month, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he and several colleagues soon plan to introduce federal cannabis decriminalization legislation which would grant states greater freedom to establish their own legalization policies.
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