Out-of-state billionaire bankrolls marijuana ballot question in MA

Out-of-state billionaire bankrolls marijuana ballot question in MA

More than $1 million bankrolling the Question 3 “medical” marijuana initiative in Massachusetts is coming from out of state.

Peter Lewis, the 81-year-old, retired chief executive officer of Progressive Insurance, is practically single-handedly fueling this campaign from his home in Ohio. He openly supports recreational marijuana legalization and has bankrolled similar initiatives in other states. “Medical” marijuana is what opens the door to Lewis’ ultimate objective — full recreational legalization.

His $1.02 million in contributions to the “Pro” Committee for Compassionate Medicine were made in increments through 2011 and 2012. The war chest he has helped to amass for marijuana-legalization supporters in Massachusetts helped pay $83,000 to a professional signature-gathering firm just to get this issue on the ballot.

By contrast, the No On 3 team is substantially out-funded — and outspent. Small contributions are coming from concerned, private citizens.

Contrary to the opinion among proponents that the “Vote No” effort is funded by “big pharma,” campaign finance records prove it is running on a comparatively tiny budget. A lot of passion and volunteer effort is the primary driver of the No on 3 initiative.  The “Vote No” team is a group of doctors, health care advocates, public health, law enforcement and addiction-prevention professionals, addiction counselors, and concerned teachers and parents.

The Vote No on 3 team is composed of professionals who work directly with the terrible results stemming from bad public policy making.

They are engaged in the difficult work of bringing teens back from marijuana addiction. Their concerns are validated in states, like Colorado, and California, which have gone this route before Massachusetts with regrets.

The word is getting out, however, and a 12-point slide in voter support shows that informed voters are switching their vote to “No”.

 

Colorado Department of Education deals with consequences of diverted “medical” marijuana in teens.

States with mature medical marijuana programs, like California, have youth marijuana rates significantly higher than states without such programs.

Out of state billionaire bankrolls "medical" marijuana ballot question

Click on this image to review Peter Lewis’ contributions. Source: Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance

For more on where the money is coming from:

 Retired Ohio Exec Bankrolling Mass. Medical Marijuana Initiative

Out-of-state cash shapes Massachusetts ballot measure prospects