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Krispy Kreme is paying to keep weed illegal



Big Donut is teaming up with the NFL, Big Pharma, and the Methodist Church to defeat legalization in Congress

Follow the money: It’s the best-known adage in journalism, and for good reason. People often lie, but a money trail always gives it to you straight.

Just ask the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), which recently deleted a list of their major donors from their website. We emailed CADCA, a national anti-drug organization based in Virginia, to ask why they’d do such a thing, but they failed to respond.

The answer, anyway, seems fairly obvious.

They don’t want you to know who puts up the cash to keep cannabis illegal.

Money talks, but donors don’t want to talk about it

Back in July, the dogged journalists at Marijuana Moment first reported that CADCA was actively lobbying against the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act, the bill sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) that would federally legalize cannabis.

When Dr. Peter Grinspoon—a primary care physician, author, educator, and cannabis specialist—tweeted out his take on that story, he put the focus squarely on CADCA’s donors.

While it’s no surprise that an overtly anti-drug group would actively oppose legalization, to see who’s really calling the shots you have to follow the money a little further down the line.

And that’s where things get surprising.

What is CADCA, anyway?

Founded in 1992, CADCA’s website says the nonprofit organization is dedicated to “building drug free communities.” This is code for supporting an all-out, never-ending War on Drugs. With headquarters located just outside Washington, DC, CADCA claims to represent “over 5,000 community coalitions,” all committed to maintaining the status quo of marijuana prohibition despite its decades of well-documented failure.

You might be surprised to know that a portion of your consumer dollar spent on Krispy Kreme donuts, Johnson & Johnson beauty products, and even your Sunday offering at a United Methodist Church service is going to CADCA to fight legalization.

Exposing the anti-legalization brands

The donor list is no longer posted on CADCA’s website, but we saved the screen shots and gathered the brand logos together in this handy guide:

Krispy Kreme, the NFL, Pfizer, DirecTV, and the United Methodist Church are among the major donors to CADCA, an anti-drug group that’s actively lobbying to defeat legalization in Congress. (Sasha Beck / Leafly)

A category-by-category breakdown of prohibition brands

CADCA’s major corporate donors include marquee names from Big Pharma (Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Purdue), finance (Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Barclays), the drug treatment industry (Caron Treatment Centers), and other companies that directly or indirectly benefit from the War on Drugs.

Consumer products

Among the dozens of names on CADCA’s donor list, one stood out as fairly inscrutable: Krispy Kreme.

What on Earth does a purveyor of cloyingly sweet corporate doughnuts have to gain from financially backing the ongoing arrest of cannabis smokers? Is it simply that cops eat more doughnuts than stoners, and they had to pick their fighter?

We emailed Krispy Kreme’s corporate PR to find out, but they didn’t respond.

The presence of the National Football League is a little surprising, too. Ex-NFL players are among the most highly visible advocates for medical marijuana and cannabis legalization. Ricky Williams, a pioneering advocate for cannabis even during his playing years, has become one of the leading voices for legalization in pro sports. Former Chicago Bears Super Bowl-winning quarterback Jim McMahon has been outspoken about the relief he’s gotten from cannabis, as have ex-linemen Kyle Turley and Eben Britton.

Gannett is a media company that owns more than 100 daily newspapers and nearly 1,000 weeklies across 44 states—including USA Today, which actually endorsed federal legalization earlier this year.

The other consumer product companies manufacture goods and services you may use every day. Johnson & Johnson makes Tylenol, Band-Aids, Neutrogena skin care products, and Acuvue contact lenses. DirecTV provides cable channels to roughly 13 million Americans, while Scholastic is a book publishing company best known as the home of the Harry Potter series.

Religious groups

The United Methodist Church turned up as the only religious organization on CADCA’s donor list.

Why are you on this list, Methodist Church? In the 1970s, Methodists were among the most mainstream progressives in all of American churchdom. Back then it was all acoustic guitars, felt banners, peace doves, and the groovy Good News Bible. Nowadays, the church’s money pays for suits to lobby members of Congress to keep weed criminal.

Pharmaceutical companies

No surprise here: Big Pharma sees legal cannabis as a threat to its bottom line, so pharma comprises the largest grouping of companies on the CADCA donor list.

CADCA’s list of pharmaceutical donors includes Pfizer, PurduePharma, Endo, Auburn, the PhRMA Foundation, and Miami Luken. Also Invidior, Alkermes, and Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

Purdue Pharma, of course, is the most notorious instigator of America’s deadly opioid crisis. In 2020, Purdue pleaded guilty to felony counts of fraud and conspiracy, and agreed to pay a fine of $5.5 billion, the largest penalty ever levied against a pharmaceutical company.

Accounting firms

We’re not sure why three of America’s biggest accounting firms are spending their money to keep cannabis federally illegal. There are plenty of law-abiding, tax-paying clients who need accounting help in the nation’s $25 billion legal industry.

Nevertheless, we found PWC, Deloitte, and Ernst & Young among the donors to CADCA.

Law firms

The law firms on CADCA’s donor list are dominated by big corporate law shops—not the small local criminal lawyers who typically work with the people who get snared by cruel and racist marijuana laws.

So maybe they just don’t see the damage done to hundreds of thousands of Americans who are punished for activities that are wrongly labeled as criminal.

Whatever the reason, here is where we find Skadden, Ropes & Gray, Quarles & Brady, Sidley, Faegre Drinker, Tarplin Downs & Young, and Bryan Cave Leighton Pasner.


Once again allow us to reiterate: Legal cannabis is already a $25 billion industry in 21 legal states. There are thousands of legal, licensed companies eager to bring their banking needs to America’s houses of finance.

And yet here we find Barclays, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs contributing to an organization that’s actively lobbying against the federal legalization of cannabis.

Healthcare and addiction recovery

Honestly, we expected more addiction recovery companies to be on this list. They’re traditionally among the industries most invested in keeping cannabis illegal. But on the CADCA list we only spotted Caron, the Pennsylvania-based addiction recovery organization with facilities in Florida, New York, Georgia, and Washington DC.

Cardinal Health, the Ohio-based medical industry supply chain giant, is a donor to CADCA’s anti-legalization campaign. So is CHPA, the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, a trade association that works on behalf of the dietary supplements industry. In CHPA’s most recent round of grant funding, CADCA was the group’s largest recipient.

Foundations and nonprofits

This category holds two of the most surprising organizations on CADCA’s donor list.

The Moyer Foundation (which changed its name to Eluna in 2018) is the nonprofit established by the former Mariners and Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer. The beloved slow-baller is known widely in both Seattle and Philadelphia for his crafty pitches and his charitable works.

So why is his group on this list? Jamie and wife Karen Moyer, co-founders of the foundation, have long been involved with causes that benefit children at risk, and that includes children harmed by substance use disorders and trauma.

We would respectfully suggest that the children of parents sent to prison for possessing small quantities of cannabis, or children removed from their homes for same, fall under that same category. Legalizing and regulating cannabis reduces childhood trauma.

Also on the list: Truth Initiative, the nonprofit public health organization dedicated to ending tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

Not…sure…why Truth Initiative is getting involved with cannabis. Would an anti-alcohol organization support a fruit juice ban just because they’re both drinkables? This one has us puzzled.

Advertising and marketing

Big-name marketing firms aren’t known for championing clients in the legal cannabis industry, and that’s opened the door for a number of cannabis-focused start-ups to gain traction over the past few years. (And good for them!)

With new companies coming online in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan, and other major markets, there are plenty of entrepreneurs who need help with branding and advertising.

And yet here we find marketing firms giving their money to CADCA, in order to actively lobby against the federal legalization of cannabis.

For shame, Abelson Taylor, Kekst CNC, and IMN Solutions.

Colleges and universities

What up, Redhawks? Did you know that a portion of your Southeast Missouri State University tuition dollar is being donated to CADCA to keep marijuana federally illegal?

Yes, we know your state just voted to legalize statewide. You probably voted in favor of it. Thank you.

Now go ask your SEMO Board of Governors why they’re spending your hard-earned tuition money to support a national group that wants to keep putting people in jail for cannabis.

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adult-use cannabis

Legal cannabis is America’s 6th biggest cash crop




Prepare to spend far less of a percentage of your income on cannabis as legalization spreads and prices tumble. 

According to the new Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report 2022 published today, cannabis prices tumbled despite a year of historic inflation. Adult-use cannabis farmers in the US grew 554 more metric tons of cannabis in 2022 than they did the year before. Still, the crop’s value fell by $1 billion. That’s because legalization makes the price of pot go down. Large-scale farming and high technology have driven wholesale prices to historic lows in Colorado this summer. Flower grams can go for $4 in Oregon.

Prices promise to fall further. In conclusion, we’re only one-fourth of the way out of prohibition, according to the report. 

Download the Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report 2022

How much legal weed does the US grow?

How much legal weed does the US grow? It’s a question both big and nebulous. 

Gallup reports that about 68% of Americans are ready to end the 85-year-old war on marijuana and switch to a regulated system. But so far, not a single regulator or politician can give you a progress report on that switch. Leafly can.

According to the second annual Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report 2022, adult-use cannabis farmers grew 2,834 metric tons in the last year. Based on federal use surveys, 2,834 tons comprise only about one-fourth of Americans’ annual demand for marijuana. So we are only 24% of the way out of disastrous, failed prohibition. To get out, the remaining prohibition states are going to legalize, as well as Congress, and it’s going to take your voice.

The Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report 2022 finds that, generally, Western US weed farmers grew too much over the last year. Meanwhile, Midwest and Eastern farmers did not grow enough to meet their region’s demand. Because of federal prohibition, licensed farmers cannot sell across interstate lines. However, the illicit market does. This dynamic hurts legal western farmers, while over-charging Midwest and East Coast customers. Residents of Illinois and Maine, for example, pay some of the highest prices for marijuana in the country. Colorado, Oregon, and Californians pay some of the lowest prices.

Our findings suggest Congress needs to do the will of 68% of voters and send cannabis reform bills to President Biden this year. Americans want to vote with their dollars for craft, legacy, sustainable cannabis but they can’t—yet. Small farms are failing and corporate ones are taking over with each day that we delay.

Dozens of farmers reported in, reflecting regional booms and busts in the fast-changing field.

At Emerald Cup-winning Ridgeline Farms, Jason Gellman sees Humboldt County, California, reeling from the end of prohibition.

“The prices this year are at an all-time low and honestly pretty tragic for all the craft farmers….

Jason Gellman, Ridgeline Farms, Humboldt County, CA

“The prices this year are at an all-time low and honestly pretty tragic for all the craft farmers. Lots of people will not be able to afford to keep their farms going. Our community as a whole is in a bad financial place.”

By contrast, Dusty Shoyer, President and COO of Revolution in Illinois and Missouri said: “It’s been a great year for Revolution: We finally finished two expansion projects and brought 10 more small batch cultivation rooms online in Illinois and a high-tech mini-grow in Missouri. Both are harvesting and producing amazing results.”

What is the Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report 2022 methodology?

(CannaPics for Leafly)
(CannaPics for Leafly)

The Leafly Cannabis Harvest Report gives readers a free, one-of-a-kind synthesis of: 

  • Licensing records
  • State cannabis production totals 
  • Sales, and tax reports, 
  • Commercial price trends
  • Field measurements
  • The 2022 Leafly Jobs Report
  • US Department of Agriculture data
  • and expert interviews. 

Leafly News’ award-winning senior editor David Downs and researcher Amelia Williams, along with Bruce Barcott, Whitney Economics, and other contributors have reported the findings. The team spent the fall finding the average price of marijuana in each state in the study, determined how many pounds those states grew, then multiplied those two factors to determine the crop’s value in each state—and nationally. Photographers CannaPics and Mike Rosati Photography captured the trends defining cultivation, and Sasha Beck designed the report.

We studied the 15 operational, adult-use states where any adult over the age of 21 can go in and buy cannabis like they can any other crop. In this year’s report, we also added the four states that began sales in 2022: Montana, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Vermont. Excluded from the report are medical marijuana markets and the illicit market, whose inclusion would falsely inflate our figures. More details are on page 27 of the report.

More quick facts:

  • Cannabis ranks No. 1 for cash crops in three states, including in New Jersey during its first year of operation.
  • Colorado wholesale prices hit an all-time low in July.
  • Regulators in the world’s biggest legal cannabis market, California, do not report how much their licensees are growing.


States in the US where marijuana is illegal

Why do we need a Harvest Report?

(CannaPics for Leafly)
(CannaPics for Leafly)

Neither the USDA nor state regulators count the crop like they do other agriculture. For the second year in a row, Leafly has exclusively computed adult-use cannabis crop production and value. We did this because voters and leaders need this basic info to make choices.

Regulators in most legalization states cannot supply the most basic fact about their cannabis markets, such as, “How much pot did you grow?” or, “How close is society to supplanting the illicit market?”

Thanks to Leafly, voters and policymakers have the info to pursue policy changes. Cannabis farmers can use the data to start wielding political power in proportion to their economic clout. Why do tobacco farmers get federal disaster aid, while licensed cannabis farmers cannot?

At its essence, cannabis is an agricultural product. Seeing it through that realistic lens makes the issue far more clear. Activists are using Leafly Reports—including the Cannabis Jobs Report, and the Opt-Out Report— in local, state, and national legislatures to advance legalization and to normalize the cannabis trade.


Leafly Report: ‘Opt-out’ towns are encouraging illegal marijuana sales

Download the report, and share it with your industry peers and regulators. We hope it sparks further research and better data collection. We’ll also have updates in the weeks ahead forecasting oversupply in Michigan, and enforcement in Oklahoma, Oregon, and California.

Reach out to us with questions, corrections, clarifications, and more at

Frequently Asked Questions

US marijuana production and value:

Q: How much weed does the US grow?

A: Adult-use cannabis farms in the US grew 2,834 metric tons of cannabis in the past year. Medical and illicit production is 3 to 5 times bigger and includes some illicit inflows from Mexico.

Q: How much is weed farming worth?

A: As a crop, adult-use cannabis is worth $5 billion in 2022 and is the sixth most valuable crop in the US—ahead of potatoes or rice.

Q: How is weed legalization going?

A: America is only about one-quarter of the way to marijuana legalization, as measured by the legal amount grown (2,834 metric tons per year), versus the estimated demand (12,000-15,000 metric tons). Only 15 states allow adult-use cannabis sales in 2022.

(Mike Rosati Photography)
Pacific Stone, Carpinteria, CA. (Mike Rosati Photography)

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Congressional Candidates’ Silence On Cannabis Reform




By John Hudak

Cannabis reform has grown in popularity with voters, activists, and state legislators; cannabis is now legal for medical use in 38 states and DC and for adult-use in 19 states and DC. Despite those advances in state level reforms and in the broader conversation nationwide, Congress has failed to pass a major piece of legislation addressing the issue, and many voters and activists wonder why.

One argument is that federal level officials—in the executive branch and in Congress—simply don’t care enough about the issue to address it. To consider this question, I included a coding about cannabis reform in Brookings Primaries Project in 2022. The Brookings Primaries Project examines the publicly stated views—via the websites and social media presence—of all candidates running in U.S. congressional primary races. We coded each candidate on a four-point scale: whether they supported legalization or decriminalization of cannabis, whether they supported medical legalization only, whether their position was complex or indecipherable, and whether they failed to mention the issue at all.

The results provide three general takeaways. First, primary candidates for Congress do not consider the issue important enough to elevate to be included on their website or on social media. Second, on average, candidates who do engage on the issue are at least not harmed by staking out a public position. Third, stark differences exist between Democratic primary candidates for Congress and Republican primary candidates for Congress.

These findings generally reflect a reality that bears out in public opinion polling. While cannabis reform is popular among Americans (68% support in the latest Gallup poll), it is not a salient issue among voters; polling shows that cannabis reform has never jumped into even the top 20 most important issues for voters. That support but lack of salience has a compelling impact on members of Congress and congressional candidates: it gives them the freedom not to engage the issue.

Overall, we coded 2360 candidates running in Democratic and Republican primaries for Congress. As table 1 shows, the vast majority of candidates (81.4%) made no mention of cannabis reform at all on their websites and social media. In fact, clashing against the idea that the popularity of cannabis reform should be pushing legislators to make clear statements of support for reform, 86.4% of candidates either made no mention, staked out an unclear position, or explicitly opposed cannabis reform.




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Congress’ new SHIP Act would let small-scale producers mail weed directly to consumers. Hell yeah!




Talk about standing up for the little guy.

Yesterday, Sept. 14, Congressional representatives Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) filed a new federal bill with a tight focus: To enable small cannabis growers and manufacturers to ship flower and marijuana products both within a state and across state lines, using either the US Postal Service or a private shipping company.

The bill, entitled the Small and Homestead Independent Producers Act (SHIP Act), would only go into effect after Congress deschedules cannabis and removes penalties for possessing, manufacturing and distributing cannabis at the federal level. In other words, it’s a post-legalization trigger bill. 

When Congress does legalize, the SHIP Act would give smaller cannabis players a crucial tool to compete against large companies in a federally legal landscape. Customers anywhere in the country could access sought-after products, and producers themselves would save big on third-party distribution fees. Barring future legislation, only these small businesses could take advantage of the shipping policy.


The Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act is finally here. Here’s what it would do

Helping small farmers compete

Huffman, whose home district includes the California cannabis cultivation mecca known as the Emerald Triangle—considers federal legalization an “inevitability.”

“It is a daunting business environment that [small businesses] are facing. Markets are consolidating,” Huffman told Marijuana Moment’s Kyle Jaeger. “The huge multinational corporations are certainly going to do very well, but we want to make sure that the smaller operations have a chance to compete and succeed.”


As Biden waffles on weed reform, Dems press him to do, like, any-f’ing-thing

Still waiting for federal legalization, though

While members of Congress have introduced several federal legalization bills, none has made it through both the House and Senate. 

The MORE Act has passed the House twice, but stalled in the Senate.

More recently, in July 2022, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) officially introduced the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. While the federal legalization bill may not pass the Senate this year, it nonetheless indicates growing interest in getting legalization across the finish line.

Furthermore, President Joe Biden campaigned on the promise of federal decriminalization. He has yet to make good on that commitment.

Who qualifies for the SHIP Act?

The SHIP Act lays out clear guidelines regarding the businesses that can take advantage of the interstate direct-to-consumer commerce policy. On the cultivator front, SHIP would apply to those who grow up to one acre of mature canopy outside, up to 22,000 square feet in greenhouses, or up to 5,000 square feet in indoor cultivation.

It would additionally apply to manufacturers who pull in less than $5,000,000 in gross annual revenue.

Wide support across the industry

The SHIP Act has already garnered endorsements from a wide range of trade and advocacy organizations including the Origins Council, Humboldt County Growers Alliance, F.A.R.M.S. Inc, Washington Sun & Craft Growers Association, Vermont Growers Association, Maine Craft Cannabis Association, Farm Bug Co-Op, Big Sur Farmers Association, Nevada County Cannabis Alliance, Mendocino Cannabis Alliance, Trinity County Agricultural Alliance and the Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

Even organizations that typically stay mum on federal legalization have come out in support of the SHIP Act.

“Today we are endorsing a federal bill for the first time! We are proud to support the SHIP Act and all of the small business associations that developed it with [Reps. Huffman and Blumenauer],” the nonpartisan Parabola Center for Law and Policy wrote on Twitter. “Craft growers should be allowed to ship directly to consumers.”

Max Savage Levenson's Bio Image

Max Savage Levenson

Max Savage Levenson likely has the lowest cannabis tolerance of any writer on the cannabis beat. He also writes about music for Pitchfork, Bandcamp and other bespectacled folk. He co-hosts The Hash podcast. His dream interview is Tyler the Creator.

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