- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 25, 2014

DENVER — Colorado marijuana bigwigs are holding a fundraiser Friday for Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, an indication that the growing industry is moving to exercise its clout in partisan politics.

The host committee for the fundraiser at a private Denver home includes the National Cannabis Industry Association PAC; Rachel Gillette, attorney for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; and prominent Denver marijuana attorneys Christian Sederberg and Brian Vicente, according to the invitation from Udall for Colorado.

Colorado voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older in November 2012, but so far the issue has barely made a ripple in the Senate campaign. Both Mr. Udall and Republican Rep. Cory Gardner have said they respect the will of the voters, and little else.

The invitation requests a $2,000 donation from hosts, $500 from co-hosts and $100 from guests, but doesn’t say that Mr. Udall will attend. The Udall campaign is helping coordinate the event: Those wishing to attend the reception are asked to RSVP to a Udall for Colorado staffer and make checks payable directly to the campaign.

Mr. Udall didn’t take a position on Amendment 64, the legalization ballot measure, but has since called for Attorney General Eric Holder to allow the state to proceed with its retail pot market, even though marijuana is illegal under federal law.

The National Cannabis Industry Association PAC has contributed $2,500 to Mr. Udall’s campaign since June 2013, according to federal elections records.

SEE ALSO: Colorado evenly divided between Republicans, Democrats: poll

The NCIA PAC has also donated $500 to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, who’s locked in a tight re-election race, even though the governor opposed Amendment 64 and promised to “regulate the living daylights out of it” in an interview last year with the Durango Herald.

Indeed, marijuana legalization has cut across partisan lines in Colorado. Former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo was the biggest name to endorse the legalization measure. After it passed, Republican state legislators fought with Democrats to limit sales and excise taxes on the industry.

Voters in Alaska and Oregon are slated to vote in November on adult recreational pot legalization ballot measures. Along with Colorado, Washington voters approved retail marijuana for adults in November 2012.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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