Pubdate: Mon, 25 Jul 2016
Source: Arizona Republic (Phoenix, AZ)
Copyright: 2016 The Arizona Republic
Author: Laurie Roberts


It seems the grass-roots campaign to legalize weed in Arizona is more 
grass than roots.

The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has raised $2.2 
million - nearly four times the $638,000 raised by opponents.

The vast majority of that was put up by either the national pot lobby 
or medical-marijuana dispensaries, which stand to corner the 
lucrative market should voters legalize recreational marijuana.

Yet just last month, the campaign chairman talked of its "broad 
coalition of contributors."

"We've actually seen quite a bit (of support) from the construction 
industry ... as well as the agricultural industry," J.P. Holyoak 
said, while submitting 258,582 signatures to put the measure on the 
Nov. 8 ballot. "We've got hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and tourism 
that's supporting us."

If so, they don't show up on the group's latest financial report.

By my calculation, at most 2 percent ($46,000) of the $2.2 million 
comes from people and businesses with no apparent connection to the 
pot industry.

No one in construction or tourism has contributed. Not so much as a 
single bed-and-breakfast.

But the Marijuana Policy Project is there. The group is working to 
legalize recreational pot in five states this year and has sunk 
$840,000 into Arizona.

Other big contributors: $135,000 from Arizona Grassroots Dispensary, 
a medical-marijuana dispensary in Mayer; $97,500 from Monarch, a 
Scottsdale dispensary; $85,000 from Urban Greenhouse, a west Phoenix 
dispensary; and $80,000 from Sixth Street Enterprises, which runs 
dispensaries in west Phoenix and Fountain Hills.

Also, $80,000 from the Holistic Center, a north Phoenix dispensary; 
$70,000 from High Mountain Health, a Flagstaff dispensary; $55,000 
from Green Sky Patient Center of Scottsdale North, also a dispensary; 
and $50,000 from the Giving Tree Wellness Center of Mesa, a dispensary.

And $52,000 from Advanced Nutrients, a Washington company that makes 
hydroponic products; $50,000 from Hydroponics Solutions, of Phoenix; 
and $50,000 from Az Compassionate Care, which runs Tru Med, a 
medical-marijuana dispensary in Phoenix.

The largest individual donors: $55,000 from Steve White, whose Tempe 
law firm represents medical-marijuana dispensaries, and $6,000 from 
Elizabeth Stavola, who owns medical-marijuana businesses in Arizona 
and Nevada, according to the Washington Post.

Also, $5,600 from Steven Trenk of Scottsdale, who runs the Budding 
Enterprise Fund, a company that invests in marijuana businesses. Or, 
as he has called it, "this exciting and rapidly expanding new frontier."

It makes sense that the bankroll to legalize weed would come from the 
pot industry. There is, after all, big money to be made, and the 
proposition gives existing medical-marijuana dispensaries first dibs 
on opening the limited number of shops that initially would be 
allowed under the law.

But does it make sense for Arizona?
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom