Death of Peter Lewis Leaves Marijuana-Law Backers Without A Generous Funder


With the death of Cleveland billionaire Peter Lewis, the push for relaxed U.S. marijuana laws lost its most-generous supporter. That's left supporters wondering what comes next, reports the Associated Press. Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, died Nov. 23 at 80. Since the 1980s, he had donated $40 to $60 million to marijuana-law reform — including ballot campaigns, research, polling and legal-defense efforts.

Largely through Lewis and other billionaires, 20 states since 1996 have passed medical-marijuana laws, 17 decriminalized the drug and two have legalized it. Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said, “Frustratingly, Peter Lewis really was the sole funder for so many entities. Now, we're going to find out whether, when the funder's no longer there, is this really a movement?”

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