[dropcap class=”kp-dropcap”]O[/dropcap]regon’s Gov. Kate Brown is currently up for reelection. In the upcoming November general election, Brown will run against state Rep. Knute Buehler. Gov. Brown has been raking in donations from a number of donors, including $50,000 from California-based philanthropist Steve Silberstein, $30,000 from Seattle-based retired Microsoft employee David Cornfield, and $25,000 from the Local 48 Electricians PAC.
Total donations to Brown’s gubernatorial campaign are close to $3 million at the time of this writing. One notable, and somewhat unprecedented campaign donation came from Portland-based, Canadian-owned Golden Leaf Holdings.
Brands owned by Golden Leaf Holdings include extract, edible and flower producers Golden and Left Coast Connections, and flower producer and retailer Chalice Farms. Golden Leaf Holdings is one of the top cannabis producers in Oregon and is publicly traded in Canada.
“We support candidates who support the industry. Gov. Brown has proven to be an advocate for building a safe, regulated, thriving marketplace that adds to the local economy in communities throughout Oregon.” Golden Leaf Holdings, CEO William Simpson told CULTURE.
Gov. Brown’s office did not respond to CULTURE’s request for a comment on the donation from Golden Leaf Holdings.
So what is Gov. Brown’s track record when it comes to cannabis? Brown came into office in 2015, after legal cannabis had already been voted in. Still, Gov. Brown has proven popular among cannabis business owners for her policies.
According to Gov. Brown’s website, “Gov. Brown is committed to keeping marijuana out of the hands of children while educating adults about the products they use, protecting public safety, and creating sensible regulations for Oregon businesses. Gov. Brown’s team is committed to continued dialog with the newly developing marijuana business community to ensure that regulations work not just to keep consumers as safe as possible, but also to allow Oregon grown businesses to thrive.”
Additionally, along with several other governors and leaders from legal cannabis states, in 2017 Gov. Brown wrote a letter in response to Attorney General Sessions’ memo condemning legal cannabis. “Reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions will roll back federal marijuana policy are deeply concerning and disruptive to our state’s economy. Over 19,000 jobs have been created by the market Oregon worked carefully to build in good faith and in accordance with the Cole Memorandum. The federal government must keep its promise to states that relied on its guidance,” her letter read. “Voters in Oregon were clear when they chose for Oregon to legalize the sale of marijuana and the federal government should not stand in the way of the will of Oregonians.”
Golden Leaf Holdings isn’t the only cannabis company supporting Gov. Kate Brown’s run. In mid-July, Oregon’s first cannabis incubator, event and communal space, The Commune, opened its doors. The space, which aims to help promote women in cannabis business, and provide a venue for cannabis related businesses and events, kicked off its opening with a campaign fundraising dinner for Gov. Brown.
“Gov. Brown is committed to keeping marijuana out of the hands of children while educating adults about the products they use, protecting public safety, and creating sensible regulations for Oregon businesses.”
Recreational cannabis sales surpassed $520 million in 2017, according to data from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. That figure is expected to grow in 2018. With that kind of revenue, it’s no wonder cannabis businesses would want to contribute to political campaigns, just like virtually every other highly-regulated industry. And given her history and stance on cannabis, Gov. Brown may be the candidate of choice for cannabis businesses.