In the past year and a half, a small but growing crowd of cannabis industry moguls have quietly donated $69,000 to one particular political action committee called What a Country! – or WACPAC – or the Wack Pack.
WACPAC was founded by Republican Congressman Carlos Curbelo in 2015 with the expressed mission to bring about comprehensive immigration reform.
That’s right, immigration reform.
Not cannabis reform.
Still though, 31 of the 41 donors that have paid into WACPAC so far are from the cannabis industry and the $70k that they have tossed in the pot most likely has little to do with immigration laws.
Cashing out that large sum of cannabis-infused donations are 26 different political candidates from across the country.
19 of them support penalizing so-called “Sanctuary Cities”.
19 of them express their support to give the federal government more power to deny citizenship to immigrants.
20 of them voted to tighten health care laws in order to exclude immigrants from receiving any sort of health benefits.
Just pulling one recipient’s name from the list, Congressman Duncan Hunter from California, you’ll find no love for the cannabis plant. NORML scores Hunter -30 or “Hard on Drugs” and he voted to prohibit marijuana legalization in Washington D.C. and consistently votes to drug test government employees.
But in some excellent reporting from Weedwire we learn that WACPAC is not at all what it appears to be, and nor are the maxed out donations that they are getting from the cannabis sector.
Curbelo himself is a bit of a walking contradiction. He lines up with his fellow Republicans to vote for millions of dollars of funding for a ridiculous wall on our southern border, then he vows to defend DACA/The Dream Act and provide a path to citizenship for Mexican immigrants, then he voted for a 2-year funding bill that purposefully excluded DACA.
One thing that he has been consistent on is his support for cannabis reform from the federal level on down. Curbelo has been an outspoken opponent of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and his disparaging threats against the plant. He even sponsored federal legislation trying to loosen IRS policy to allow cannabis-based businesses more tax breaks and allowable deductions.
So that brings the picture a bit more into focus.
In fact, one of those WACPAC donors said as much when reached for comment. Here is what a spokesperson from MedMen Enterprises had to say, “We support causes and candidates who are aligned with our efforts to pass common-sense cannabis-related laws at the local, state, and federal levels. Congressman Carlos Curbelo is a champion of cannabis reform and represents a state where an overwhelming majority of the electorate voted to legalize medical marijuana, just as a majority of Americans, regardless of party or affiliation, now support marijuana legalization across the board.”
MedMen Enterprises is currently valued at roughly $1.65 Billion with 18 shops operating from coast to coast in California, Nevada, and on 5th Avenue in Manhattan. They are also a publicly traded company in Canada.
Adam Bierman, founder and CEO of MedMen, donated $5,000 to WACPAC and then an additional $5,000 through his own political action subsidiary – both max donations. He also gave $4,300 to Curbelo’s personal campaign fund.
Joining MedMen in support for WACPAC are cannabis brands LivWell, PalliaTech Inc., Columbia Care, Medicine Man in Colorado and Remedy Compassion Center in Maine, among others.
Curbelo, it should be noted, is a Florida congressman.
MedMen, not-so-coincidentally, just laid out a cool $53 Million to purchase Florida-based Treadwell Nursery & Remeny Wellness which will allow MedMen to vastly expand their reach and more than double their current retail outlets with 25 new stores in Florida alone.
PalliaTech Inc., run by a gentleman named Joseph Lusardi, also gave a max contribution to WACPAC for $5,000. They operate in Florida under the name Curaleaf as one of just 13 cultivation operations allowed by the state.
Following the money even further, a Moscow-based equity firm has dumped $100 Million in PalliaTech Inc., so naturally, they too sent a sack of Russian rubles equivalent to $5,000 to WACPAC.
As odd as it would have been if these cannabis CEO’s all really happened to have such hardline stances on immigration reform, it’s even creepier to see just how the sausage gets made in federal and state-level politics.
Just another way that the true cannabis community is getting left behind by wealthy cannabis carpetbaggers.
When the #1 rule of the game is ‘Pay to Play’, cash stacks fast.
Where does yours go after you replenish your stash?