Road to Legalization: list of major donors who gave to the campaigns

By: The Gazette
April 27, 2014 Updated: April 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm
photo - Medical marijuan growing at the Eagle's Nest Wellness Center. Monday, June 13, 2011. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett)
Medical marijuan growing at the Eagle's Nest Wellness Center. Monday, June 13, 2011. (The Gazette/Jerilee Bennett) 


Marijuana Policy Project, Washington, D.C.: $1.4 million.

The organization, which says it has 125,000 members throughout the U.S., was founded in 1995. Spokesman Mason Tvert founded Safer Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation, which got the successful pro-recreational marijuana Initiative I-100
on the Denver city ballot with
54 percent voter approval. (It amended a city ordinance to penalize possession of up to an ounce with only a fine.)

Peter Lewis: $909,350. The late Ohio billionaire is reported to have spent more than $40 million on marijuana legalization nationwide since the 1980s, his obituaries noted.

Scott Banister: $250,100. The California Internet entrepreneur and angel investor who co-founded spam blocking firm IronPort to keep porn from corporate in-boxes and Zivity, a risque social network site. He also donated to the Ron Paul super PAC.

Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps: $125,000. The California company’s CEO David Bronner, who has been arrested at pro-hemp protests, gave $100,000 to a California legalization effort. He has been importing
20 tons annually from Canada to use in soaps and says hemp cultivation in the U.S. would create farm and processing jobs.

Drug Policy Alliance: $100,000.The New York-based group and its Drug Policy Action electoral arm were in the Colorado fight. In addition to raising funds through a registered committee in Colorado, the group also gave $100,000 to other efforts. The national group receives donations from billionaire George Soros. Honorary board members include former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, Arianna Huffington, Depak Chopra and Harry Belafonte, the website says. The board president is Ira Glasser, former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been a major supporter of legalization.

SAFER Voter Education Fund: $17,792. Affiliated with Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, which gave $3,000. SAFER started in 2005 after several alcohol-related deaths on Colorado college campuses.

NORML: $1,050. The nonprofit group, which has a political action committee and legal team, is a major force in legalizing marijuana, including the Colorado effort. It was founded in 1970 by Keith Stroup, a Washington, D.C., public interest attorney.



S.O.S.: The campaign arm of Drug Free America (Save Our Society from Drugs): $284,871.

Betty Sembler is board president and founder of the Florida organizations. Her husband, Melvin, a strip mall magnate, was national fundraising chairman of Mitt Romney’s
presidential campaign. They once owned a controversial drug rehab facility.

CitizenLink: $30,000. A family advocacy group that is the public policy partner of Focus on the

J. Landis Martin: $25,000. Founder of Denver-based Platte River Equity Denver.

Marilyn Ware: $25,000. A Denver resident, former U.S. ambassador to Finland and longtime trustee of the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.

Benson Mineral Group: $25,000. Denver-based gas and oil exploration company founded by Bruce Benson, president of the University of Colorado.

Trice Jewelers: $22,588. A Centennial family business, said to be one of the largest full-service jewelers in the Rocky Mountain region. Founded by Ralph Klomp and family members.

Steve Mooney, Denver businessman: $20,000.

Associated General Contractors of Colorado: $12,500.

• Several hospitality interests, including Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association, United Food and Commercial Workers, Hospitality Issue PAC and individual hotels, collectively gave about $25,000.


Compiled by The Gazette

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