Marijuana

Here Are the Prohibitionists Who've Donated $10,000 or More to Keep Marijuana a Felony in Arizona

When you need to spend $1,500 on new tires, will you give money to Bruce Halle, the owner of Discount Tire, who gave $1 million to make sure pot stays a felony in Arizona?

The munchies gave you a craving for a slice of pizza — but did you know that Grimaldi's Pizzeria in downtown Scottsdale recently gave $10,000 to the prohibitionist group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy?

Does opposition to Proposition 205 by Empire Southwest LLC of Mesa make you more or less likely to rent construction equipment from the firm?

Whether you're pro or con on Prop 205, which voters will decide on Tuesday, it's always important to follow the money. The money gathered and used by the group behind Prop 205 essentially comes from just two sources: the Arizona dispensaries that will benefit if voters approve the measure, and the national Marijuana Policy Project, which also put the Arizona medical-marijuana law and Colorado's recreational-legalization law on the ballot.


The anti side has a larger, more diverse group of donors. Not that all these people or groups deserve a boycott like the one launched against Discount Tire, but their staunch belief that Arizonans should be thrown in jail for something half the state believes should be legal is worth a closer look.

Not only do these folks want marijuana to remain an arrestable offense in Arizona, but they're backing an untruthful campaign. Representatives of the ARDP claim falsely that marijuana is killing children and that employers will lose the ability to maintain drug-free workplaces.

This week, three Democratic Colorado lawmakers slammed the opposition group for stating that money from marijuana taxes hasn't helped Colorado schools, noting that the $138 million in pot taxes have gone to the state's department of education in the past two years. The Arizona Legislature's own budget-analysis division calculated last year that Prop 205 would bring in $124 million a year in fees and taxes by 2020.

Governor Doug Ducey's name doesn't show up here, by the way, but he should be considered the ARDP's number-one fundraiser, considering his high level of campaigning and fundraising against the ballot measure.

Here's the list (as of today) from the Arizona Secretary of State's Office of prohibitionists, politically minded business owners, and others who gave $10,000 or more to encourage the defeat of Prop 205. Companies and donors are from Arizona except where noted.

$100,000-plus donors:

Discount Tire $1 million

Arizona Chamber of Commerce $918,000

Sheldon Adelson (Nevada casino magnate) $500,000

Insys Therapeutics Inc. (maker of Fentanyl and synthetic THC) $500,000

Empire Southwest LLC (construction-equipment company) $350,000

Services Group of America (food distribution company — has a division that sells food to private prisons) $180,000

SAM Action (national anti-marijuana group) $165,000

T. Denny Sanford (South Dakota businessman) $100,000

Larry Van Tuyl (auto dealership mogul who owns a $125-million-dollar yacht) $100,000

Randy Kendrick (wife of Ken Kendrick, Arizona Diamondbacks owner) $100,000


$50,000-plus donors:

Arizona Mining Association $51,000

Arizona Automobile Dealers Association $50,000

Michael Ahearn (co-founder of First Solar) $50,000


$25,000-plus donors:

Arizona Republican Party $45,570

Anita Farnsworth (Mesa philanthropist) $40,000

Pima Medical Institute $40,000

Dan Grubb (auto dealer) $35,000

U-Haul $35,000

Gila River Indian Community $25,000

Robson Communities Inc. (home developer) $25,000

Fulton Homes Corporation $25,000

Larry Clemmensen (Paradise Valley investor) $25,000

Southern Arizona Leadership (Tucson-boosting group) $25,000

Microchip Technology Incorporated $25,000


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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern