The war against the War on Drugs now has an unlikely ally in GOP megadonor Charles Koch, with a Koch-backed group joining the Cannabis Freedom Alliance, a new organization pushing for federal marijuana legalization.
According to Politico, the idea for the group came after Koch was on a Zoom call with rapper Snoop Dogg and criminal justice reform advocate Weldon Angelos, who was pardoned by former President Donald Trump after serving 13 years of a 55-year sentence for marijuana trafficking charges. (Like many great ideas, we're guessing cannabis was involved, at least on Snoop's part.)
Reportedly, on the call Koch expressed support for legalizing all drugs, which surprised Angelos.
"I had known that his position on drugs was very libertarian," Angelos said, according to Politico. "I just didn't know that he supported the legalization of all drugs."
Last year, the House made history by voting on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, the first cannabis legalization legislation to ever make it to the floor of Congress, with six Democrats voting against the bill and five Republicans voting for it.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has also expressed interest in passing cannabis legalization reform. While the Democrats have a narrow majority in the Senate, Koch's involvement could be crucial in convincing enough Republicans to vote to legalize pot. Schumer would likely need about 10 Republican Senators to pass the legislation.
"We need 10 to 12 Republican senators," Angelos said, according to Politico. "With Koch's influence, I think that's likely a possibility."
The Cannabis Freedom Alliance includes the Koch-founded Americans for Prosperity, libertarian think tank the Reason Foundation, marijuana trade organization the Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, and Angelos's nonprofit The Weldon Project.
The group's goal is to "end the prohibition, criminalization, and overregulation of cannabis in the United States." In a statement announcing the coalition, the group wrote that it aims for "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."
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