As political causes go, legalizing pot isn’t as glitzy as re-electing Barack Obama. Sarah Jessica Parker and George Clooney are not on marijuana’s A-list.
But with marijuana initiatives on state ballots in Colorado and Washington in 2012, after Prop. 19′s failure in California in 2010, pot enjoys the financial backing of a small cadre of semi-famous people. Here they are:
- Peter Lewis, chairman, Progressive Insurance. Lewis’ company carries a small hint of lefty flavor, from its name to its casual corporate dress code, and Lewis himself is marijuana’s biggest financial backer. After supporting California’s Prop. 19 legalization campaign in 2010, Lewis has given far more than any other individual donor to the campaigns in Colorado and Washington — $875,650 and $650,000 respectively.
- David Bronner, CEO, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps. Those earthy-looking hemp soaps, sold at Whole Foods, could be more profitable if the company didn’t have to import its hemp from Canada, and David Bronner, son of the original Dr. Bronner, is an avid hemp activist, most recently getting arrested outside the White House after firefighters had to cut him out of a metal cage in which he locked himself in protest. Bronner has pledged $50,000 to the Colorado legalization campaign, according to an official, although his donation hasn’t yet been made official.
- Rick Steves, author and TV host, Rick Steves’ Europe. He might be the best known American expert on European travel, with dozens of books on travel destinations and a travel series on public television. He also wants pot to be legal. While Steves himself hasn’t contributed to either legalization initiative in 2012, the committee to promote Washington’s ballot initiative has reported taking in $100,000 from Steves since last year, according to Washington’s campaign-finance disclosure website.
- George Zimmer, founder and CEO, Men’s Wearhouse. You’re gonna like the way your state looks with legalized marijuana: George Zimmer guarantees it. The Men’s Wearhouse CEO has not donated to either of this year’s state campaigns, but he backed Prop. 19 in California in 2010 to the tune of $50,000, and he’s known as a major supporter of pot legalization