This month, state senators in Oregon sent a letter to U.S. Attorney for Oregon Natalie K. Wight asking her to open an investigation into corruption in the state capitol related to campaign donations from cannabis operators in the state.
The letter was prompted by a report from Willamette Week (WW) that revealed large cash contributions made by Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell, the operators of the La Mota cannabis dispensary chain, to top Democrats, including Gov. Tina Kotek and Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner (D-Lake Oswego).
WW also reported on Shemia Fagan’s resignation as Secretary of State after it was revealed she had taken a consulting contract with a La Mota affiliate while holding her position. The letter sent to the U.S. Attorney raises questions about the legality of large cash campaign donations from federally illegal drug operations and potential implications for other Oregon politicians and organizations involved in such activities.
It remains to be seen what, if any, action will come out of this letter, but it signals a growing concern within the state about the lack of transparency in campaign finance laws and their impact on public trust. For now, all eyes are on Oregon as this story develops and its potential implications for the cannabis industry in the state become clearer.
Letter Sent to U.S. Attorney for Oregon
In the letter sent to U.S. Attorney for Oregon Natalie K. Wight, state senators allege that La Mota operators Rosa Cazares and Aaron Mitchell made large cash contributions to top Democrats in Oregon in violation of federal law.
The letter lists the names of politicians who received these donations up to a total of over $200,000. The senators argue that such actions constitute fraud and demonstrate clear attempts to evade state campaign finance laws.
Furthermore, the letter raises questions about who else may be involved in similar activities and what implications this scandal could have for Oregon politics. In other words, it appears that La Mota’s donations may only be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to large cash contributions from legal cannabis businesses influencing political decisions in the state.
If true, then this could potentially signal a pervasive pattern of corruption among Oregon politicians and organizations that needs to be addressed immediately. It will be interesting to see if any further action is taken as a result of this letter in order to bring transparency and accountability back into Oregon’s campaign finance laws.
Is this the Way?
It is clear that the cannabis industry should not be attempting to pay off politicians in order to gain favor. This practice undermines public trust and goes against democratic principles of accountability and transparency. Not only does it put politicians in a precarious position, but it also undermines the goals of the cannabis industry itself, which is to establish a safe and secure regulatory framework for cannabis and its future as a medicine.
Instead of attempting to bribe politicians with large cash donations, legal cannabis businesses should focus on advocating for themselves through other means, such as lobbying and grassroots efforts. It is important for those in the industry to educate lawmakers about their products and services in order to make sure their voices are heard in the legislative process.