Why billionaire Charles Koch supports cannabis legalization

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For the first time, the 85-year-old CEO of Koch Industries is openly talking about why he is supporting national cannabis reform in the US — and it’s not because he’s a big cannabis consumer, writes Forbes.

‘Prohibition is counterproductive’

Although he did unknowingly eat a weed brownie on a ski trip to B.C. once (which he said made him feel “loopy”), the fierce libertarian said his support is about “freedom”.

“It should be the individual’s choice,” he told Forbes. “[Prohibition] is counterproductive. It ruins people’s lives, creates conflict in society and is anti-progress. The whole thing never made sense to me.”

Lessons from booze prohibition

Koch also said he was puzzled that policymakers hadn’t learned from the alcohol prohibition era. 

“Marijuana, as I understand it, is less addictive than alcohol,” he said. “So why is alcohol legal and marijuana isn’t?”

Will money talk?

It’ll be interesting to see if Koch’s powerful influence can sway both reluctant Republican and Democratic hearts when it comes to cannabis reform.

Koch’s Americans for Prosperity advocacy group joined the Cannabis Freedom Alliance earlier this year, which has already embarked on lobbying efforts in Washington. In addition to $70 million over the last two years, he is putting $25 million toward advocacy efforts  in 2021.

If you’ve heard of Koch’s political reach in the past, it’s probably because of the political prowess. You can see more of Koch’s political engagement.

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