Marijuana Industry Finds Unlikely New Allies in Conservatives
WASHINGTON — Hoping to get pot legalized in Nevada, an investment firm specializing in the fast-growing marijuana industry invited the ballot initiative’s backers to pitch 150 financiers at a Las Vegas symposium.
Within 10 minutes, they raised $150,000.
Political contributors are not the only ones taking notice of the new realities of the marijuana business, said San Francisco-based ArcView Chief Executive Troy Dayton, who estimated his group would pump about $500,000 into pot this year. Officeholders and candidates now jostle for the stage at investor meetings, he said.
“A little more than a year ago, it would have been worthy of a headline if a sitting politician came to talk to a cannabis group,” he said. “Now they are calling us, asking to speak at our events.”
No clearer example of the change exists than the industry’s newest full-time lobbyist, Michael Correia. An advocate for the 300-member National Cannabis Industry Assn., he is a former GOP staffer who worked two years as a lobbyist for the American Legislative Exchange Council — the powerful conservative advocacy group that has worked with state lawmakers to block the Affordable Care Act, clean energy incentives and gun restrictions.