Refresh Checked Unchecked Menu Search Shopping bag Geolocation Person Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube Info Icon CBC Icon CBC Shape CBD Icon CBD Shape CBG Icon CBG Shape THC Icon THC Shape THCV Icon THCV Shape Loading…
Advertise on Leafly

Does Out-of-State Cash Fund Legalization Campaigns?

October 21, 2016
Marijuana and Dollar notes
Where is all that campaign cash coming from?

In key legalization battleground states like Massachusetts and California, legalization opponents have claimed that out-of-state donations are funding cannabis campaigns.

Is it a fair claim?

To find out, we made a dive into a number of state campaign finance databases.

The short answer: It depends on the state. In most cases—California, Florida, and Nevada—a majority of money donated in favor of legalization has come from in-state sources. In Massachusetts, though, it’s a different story. In the Bay State, most advocacy money has come from out-of-state sources, and most opposition cash has come from within the state.

Here’s a state-by-state breakdown in some of the most important races.CA



In California, since 2015 the committees and PACs in support of cannabis legalization have reported a total of $27,942,132 in 644 donations. When looking at just in-state donations, Californians have generated $15,990,697.40 in 477 donations, making up around 57 percent.

For the opposition, it’s a different story. In-state money makes up only 16 percent of the total donations reported by legalization opponents. Anti-Prop. 64 groups have reported $2,049,976 in 58 total donations, with in-state donations accounting for just $345,915 of that money.






Florida’s data is similar to California’s. The majority of money given to advocates comes from within the state. There were 8,557 donations made in support of Amendment 2, for a total of $5,507,439.65. Of that total, 76 percent, or $4,223,448.03, came from in-state sources.

The opposition in Florida has seen fewer in-state dollars flowing into their war chest. They reported 41 donations for a total of $3,430,482 raised. Only 56 percent of that 3.4 million is from the state of Florida, with $1,930,380 coming from out of state.





Things in Nevada are a little different. Las Vegas-based casino magnate and billionaire Sheldon Adelson donated $2 million to the opposition last week, which as you might  imagine, changed the No On 2 campaign’s financial picture considerably. In fact, Adelson’s contribution represents 94 percent of the campaign’s contribution total.

Advocates for Question 2 has amassed $1,088,000 via 107 donations, with 62 percent of that coming from within Nevada ($676,470). The opposition, with just 20 donations, has generated $2,120,691 in total donations. Thanks to Adelson, 99 percent of that comes from the state of Nevada.


MASS (1)



Out-of-state donations make up the majority of funds banked by Massachusetts’ campaign to legalize adult-use cannabis. Several Washington DC-based PACs, notably the New Approach PAC, have donated millions of dollars to the campaign. In total, 276 donations have brought in $3,663,270. In total, 276 donations have brought in $3,663,270. There were 50 donations from out-of-state donors reported for the advocates, but that total made up the majority of donations, with 91 percent of the 3.6 million coming from out of state ($3,323,750.00).

The opposition campaign has only generated $632,525 in 88 donations. The percentage of in-state donations totals 90 percent, as there only $61,500 was donated from outside of Massachusetts.

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.

View Gage Peake's articles

  • billdeserthills

    What’s that, the elite, who want to decide our every move, are influencing elections everywhere in their attempts to control us??

  • Kyle Morgan

    Just legalize the stuff Nobody cares any more.

  • Teresa

    No legalization is necessary. .Those that continue to do so without taxes getting involved. We pay enough taxes and most of it is misspent anyway.

  • Brew Time

    Who are they to say we the people can grow some thing natural in nature. But yet i can grow any plant that is highly poisonios that can kill a person. But i cant grow somthing that helps me with my problems a veteran

  • Tim Johnson

    How do opiate campaigns get funded and passed so easily?

    • lowk3y

      Doctors and big pharm…. I work as a nurse you run into the norco crap like crazy. Me give me a bowl or joint I’m happy. Wish michigan passed it, having a card is nice but ridiculous I can’t get hired else where…. gotta love those 90’s drug policies it’s almost 2020 it’s medicinally used now RE-DO IT!! but michigan senators and governor keep avoiding my emails and calls

  • MG Deegan

    I well learn and see if not real I dump in water and pen text it

  • Yanaar Jane Lee

    It’s sickening that so many lies have been told about a medically beneficial plant… and for what reason? Those who would accuse marijuana users of being ‘addicts’ better look at their own addiction to MONEY! Big pharma (which kills more than any other, the alcoholic industry, which kills plenty of people, and the tobacco industry.) All 3 industries sell poison!

  • Deborah Ann Wilde

    We have to get it off the Schedule 1 list.

  • machinephilosophy

    Get video of prohibitionists’ children. They’re huge druggies.