Krispy Kreme pays to keep weed illegal

Big Donut works with the NFL, Big Pharma and the Methodist Church to prevent legalization in Congress

Follow the money: That’s the most well-known saying in journalism, and with good reason. People often lie, but a money trail always proves you right.

Just ask the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), who recently deleted a list of their major donors from their website. We emailed CADCA, a national anti-drug organization based in Virginia, why they were doing this, but they didn’t respond.

Anyway, the answer seems pretty obvious.

They don’t want you to know who is raising the money to keep cannabis illegal.

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

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

as dr Peter Grinspoon – a family doctor, author, educator and cannabis specialist – tweeted his take on this story, turning the focus squarely on CADCA’s donors.

According to @MarijuanaMoment, “The Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) is urging its supporters to … urge senators to oppose the newly proposed federal law legalizing marijuana.”

Check out who funds CADCA:

A Who’s Who of Pharma & Rehab! #Cannabis

— Peter Grinspoon, MD (@Peter_Grinspoon) July 28, 2022

While it’s not surprising that an overtly anti-drug group is actively opposed to legalization, to see who’s really calling the shots, you have to follow the money a little further.

And that’s where it gets surprising.

What is CADCA anyway?

The CADCA website, founded in 1992, says the nonprofit organization is dedicated to “building drug-free communities.” This is code for supporting a full-scale, never-ending war on drugs. Headquartered near Washington, D.C., 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 failures.

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 goes to CADCA to fight against legalization .

Uncovering the anti-legalization marks

The donor list is no longer published on CADCA’s website, but we’ve saved the screenshots and compiled the brand logos into this handy guide:

illustration-of-prohibitionist-brand-logosKrispy Kreme, the NFL, Pfizer, DirecTV and the United Methodist Church are among the top funders of CADCA, an anti-drug group that actively works to prevent legalization in Congress. (Sasha Beck / Leafly)

A breakdown of prohibited brands by category

Major corporate donors to CADCA include prominent names in big pharma (Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, Purdue), finance (Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Barclays), the drug treatment industry (Caron Treatment Centers), and other companies that benefit directly or indirectly the war on drugs.

consumer products

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

What on earth does a purveyor of sweet and sweet donuts have to gain by financially supporting the ongoing arrests of cannabis smokers? Is it just that cops eat more donuts than stoners and they had to choose 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 also a bit surprising. Ex-NFL players are among the most prominent advocates of legalizing medical marijuana and cannabis. A pioneering advocate for cannabis while still a player, Ricky Williams has become one of the leading voices for legalization in professional sports. Jim McMahon, former Chicago Bears Super Bowl-winning quarterback, has been open about the relief he gets from cannabis, as have ex-linemen Kyle Turley and Eben Britton.

gannett is a media company that owns more than 100 dailies and nearly 1,000 weeklies in 44 states — including USA Today, which actually advocated state legalization earlier this year.

The other consumer goods companies produce goods and services that you can use on a daily basis. Johnson&Johnson manufactures Tylenol, patches, Neutrogena skin care products, and Acuvue contact lenses. DirectTV provides approximately 13 million Americans with cable channels scholastic is a book publisher best known for being the home of the Harry Potter series.

religious groups

The United Methodist Church emerged as the only religious organization on CADCA’s list of donors.

Why are you on this list, Methodist Church? In the 1970s, Methodists were among the mainstream progressives throughout the American church. Back then it was acoustic guitars, felt banners, doves of peace and the groovy Good News Bible. Today, church money pays for lawsuits against members of Congress to criminalize weed.

pharmaceutical company

No surprise: Big Pharma sees legal cannabis as a threat to its bottom line, making Pharma the largest group of companies on CADCA’s donor list.

CADCA’s list of pharmaceutical donors includes Pfizer, PurduePharma, Endo, maroonthe PhRMA Foundationand Miami Luke. Likewise I’m jealous, Alkermesand Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals.

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

accounting company

We’re not sure why three of America’s largest accounting firms would spend their money declaring cannabis illegal at the federal level. There are many law-abiding, tax-paying clients who need accounting help in the country’s $25 billion legal industry.

Nevertheless we found PWC, Deloitteand Serious among the donors to CADCA.

law firms

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

Perhaps they just don’t see the harm being done to hundreds of thousands of Americans who are being penalized for activities that are falsely labeled as criminal.

Whatever the reason, here we find it The injury, Ropes & GreyQuarles & Brady, sidley, Faegre drinker, Tarplin Downs & Youngand Bryan Cave Leighton Pasner.


Let’s reiterate: Legal cannabis is already a $25 billion industry in 21 legal states. There are thousands of legitimate, licensed businesses out there eager to bring their banking needs to America’s financial houses.

And yet we find here Barclays, Deutsche Bankand Goldman Sachs Contributing to an organization actively opposed to the federal legalization of cannabis.

Health and Addiction Healing

Honestly, we expected more addiction healing companies to be on this list. They’ve traditionally been among the industries that invest the most in keeping cannabis illegal. But on the CADCA list we only sighted Caronthe Pennsylvania-based addiction support organization with facilities in Florida, New York, Georgia and Washington DC.

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

foundations and non-profit organizations

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

The Moyer Foundation (which has changed its name to heaven in 2018) is the nonprofit organization founded by former Mariners and Phillies pitcher Jamie Moyer. The beloved slow baller is well known in both Seattle and Philadelphia for his smart pitches and community service.

Why is his group on this list? Jamie and his wife Karen Moyer, co-founders of the foundation, have a long history of supporting causes that benefit children at risk, including children harmed by addiction and trauma.

We would respectfully suggest that the children of parents who have been sent to prison for possession of small amounts of cannabis or children who have been taken from their homes for the same fall into the same category. Legalizing and regulating cannabis reduces childhood trauma.

Also on the list: truth initiativethe nonprofit public health organization dedicated to ending tobacco use and nicotine addiction.

Not…sure…why the Truth Initiative is into cannabis. Would an anti-alcohol organization support a fruit juice ban just because both are drinkable? This one confused us.

advertising and marketing

Big-name marketing firms are not known for championing clients in the legal cannabis industry, and that has opened the door for a number of cannabis-focused startups to gain a foothold in recent years. (And good for them!)

As new businesses come online in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Michigan and other key markets, there are many entrepreneurs who need help with branding and advertising.

Yet here we find marketing companies donating their money to CADCA to actively oppose the federal legalization of cannabis.

to shame, Abelson Taylor, Cookies CNCand IMN solutions.

colleges and universities

What’s up Redhawks? Did you know that part of your State University of Southeast Missouri Tuition Funds Donated To CADCA To Keep Marijuana Illegal Federally?

Yes, we know your state just voted for statewide legalization. You probably voted for it. Many Thanks.

Now ask your SEMO board why they are spending your hard-earned tuition money to support a national group that wants to keep jailing people for cannabis.

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