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Bush Cousin and Bobby Orr Give Big in Mass. Legalization Fight

September 15, 2016
Boston Bruins' star Bobby Orr is seen on the ice during game action at Boston Garden, Feb. 1975. (AP Photo/J. Walter Green)
Massachusetts’ Question 4—which would legalize the adult use of cannabis—is likely to be one of the closest marijuana initiatives this November. Current polls have support at 50 percent, with opposition at 45.

Opponents have rallied an impressive number of powerful state politicians—including Gov. Charlie Baker, Attorney General Maura Healey, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh—to publicly oppose legalization. Nonetheless, the Yes on 4 campaign has raised more than $2.4 million in 2016, while the opposition has raised $363,000 since it launched its campaign in the spring.

And there are some interesting donors on both sides of the issue.

A scan of the Massachusetts campaign database reveals former NHL stars, a former nephew and cousin of two U.S. Presidents, as well as several major advocacy groups.

Former Boston Bruins star Bobby Orr, widely considered one of the greatest hockey players ever, donated $1,000 to stop cannabis

Hockey hall of famer Bobby Orr poses for a photograph in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Orr has a new booked called " Orr: My Story". (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Hockey hall of famer Bobby Orr poses for a photograph in Toronto on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Orr has a new booked called ” Orr: My Story”. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

legalization in Massachusetts. Orr—who now lives in Florida, according to campaign finance documents—gave the money this past summer.

Another interesting donor against legalization: the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts. They gave $25,000, presumably on the theory that the legalization of cannabis would likely hurt beer sales.

The largest campaign donation against legalization came from the Markley Group LLC of Boston, which gave $100,000. Markley is one of the largest New England mission critical telecommunications and data center companies in New England.

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As for the legalization advocates: A database scan found that President George W. Bush’s cousin, Jonathan Bush, donated $10,000 in support of Question 4. Bush is the CEO of Athenahealth, a health care software company based in Boston. He has not made a public comment on the matter, but Athenahealth spokeswoman Holly Spring confirmed he had made a personal donation to the campaign.

“He believes this is one of many freedoms Americans should have the right to,” Spring said.

Bush has also donated to the Libertarian presidential ticket, according to The Boston Globe.

The largest portion of the $2.5 million raised by Yes on 4 was donated by New Approach Political Action Committee, a Washington, D.C. group that supports various state measures concerning the legalization of marijuana.

Gage Peake's Bio Image

Gage Peake

Gage Peake is a former staff writer for Leafly, where he specialized in data journalism, sports, and breaking news coverage. He's a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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