Koch-Backed Advocacy Organization Joins Marijuana Legalization Coalition

Koch-Backed Advocacy Organization Joins Marijuana Legalization Coalition cannabis plant (Getty Images)

By Jim Thomas | Wednesday, 07 April 2021 05:52 PM

Koch Industries Chairman and CEO Charles Koch started Americans for Prosperity (AFP) in 2004 with backing from and his late brother, David Koch. AFP has joined forces with the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank; the Global Alliance for Cannabis, a marijuana trade organization; and The Weldon Project, a nonprofit supporting social change, in kickstarting a new group called the Cannabis Freedom Alliance (CFA), reports the Hill.

AFP is bringing its influence to bear as a member of the CFA, which launched Tuesday with the goal of ending the prohibition, criminalization and overregulation of marijuana at the federal level.

The idea for the CFA was said to have been born during a Zoom call Koch had with rapper Snoop Dogg and criminal justice reform advocate Weldon Angelos who was pardoned by former President Trump in January, after serving 13 years of a 55-year sentence for marijuana trafficking charges, according to Politico.

The Hill updated their report to note that Snoop Dogg is not a part of the CFA.

The CFA see the current government trifecta of the House, Senate and the Presidency under democratic control as the perfect opportunity for the advancement of the groups 4 core values through federal legislative reform: “federal de-scheduling and criminal justice reform, reentry and successful second chances, promoting entrepreneurship in free and open markets and competitive and reasonable tax rates,” the CFA stated.

The CFA is betting on Koch’s prominence among conservatives help persuade Republicans to join Democrats to reform federal marijuana legislation.

“We need 10 to 12 Republican senators,” Angelos said, according to Politico. “With Koch’s influence, I think that's likely a possibility.”

“Americans for Prosperity is excited to work alongside our partners to bring cannabis businesses into the light, replacing black and gray markets with a free and fair legal framework," said Brent Gardner, the chief government affairs officer for AFP. "Cannabis commerce will become a way for Americans to lift themselves up, rather than a barrier holding them back," he added.

During an interview with Politico on Saturday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., vowed to move forward with legislation to federally legalize marijuana, even if President Biden resists such a move, reported the Hill.

"He [Biden] said he's studying the issue, so [I] obviously want to give him a little time to study it,” the Senate Democratic leader told Politico. “I want to make my arguments to him, as many other advocates will,” he added. “But at some point, we're going to move forward, period,” reported the Hill.