Bernie Sanders, although a spoken supporter of ending marijuana prohibition, is not receiving money from the marijuana industry for campaign efforts. What it boils down to is that the industry does not believe that presidential campaign contributions are really going to help legalization efforts.
The marijuana movement currently feels that contributions have a larger effect when used towards non-presidential candidates and initiatives that have better potential to shift marijuana laws nationwide, according to Ibtimes.com.
Marijuana industry organizations like NORML only have so much to spend on donations. They have to make sure it is going to the right places.
Allen St. Pierre, NORML’s Executive Director says, “Today we have so many requests for support from candidates and so little money to spend, we have to be more judicious.”
Until contributions to Rand Paul’s campaign in 2015, presidential campaign contributions had not been made by the marijuana movement since 2002.
In regards to contributions from this industry, Ethan Nadelmann says, “Unlike the gay rights movement, where you have a large number of affluent people who can write big checks, the drug policy movement doesn’t have that.”
Marijuana Policy Project’s Mason Tvert, in regards to Rand Paul contributions, says, “At the time, it was a matter of Rand Paul being the only Republican presidential candidate who was very proactively talking about marijuana policy reform and sponsoring bills that we support. That was at a point in time well before Bernie Sanders came out in support of marijuana policy reform and well before the other Republican candidates expressed any remote interest in the issue.”
It comes down to the issues of both the candidate being sincere and following through with their spoken intentions and lack of money. Much of the marijuana industry believes that the funds could be better spent elsewhere because, although a candidate may have good intentions or make certain promises, concerns regarding marijuana seem to be “conveniently forgotten about” after election day.