Pro-Marijuana PAC Backs Libertarian-Minded Rand Paul

The political action committee of the Marijuana Policy Project gave to his Senate and presidential campaigns.

Marijuana plants grow at Perennial Holistic Wellness Center, a not-for-profit medical marijuana dispensary in operation since 2006, on September 7, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (National Journal)

One of the leading voices on marijuana policy reform wants to light up Rand Paul's foundering presidential campaign.

According to midyear filings released Friday by the Federal Election Commission, Marijuana Policy Project PAC donated to three entities supporting the Kentuckian's political ambitions: $5,000 to Rand Paul for President, Inc.; $5,000 for his Senate reelection campaign; and $4,500 to Rand Paul Victory Fund, which the FEC report said supports his Senate campaign.

It makes sense that an organization supporting drug policy reform would back the libertarian-minded senator, and earlier this year, the organization graded his record higher than those of his fellow presidential candidates, giving him an A-.

"He's been very firm in his belief that states ought to set their own marijuana policy," Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, told National Journal.

Riffle noted that Paul has previously supported federal legislation that would allow states to set their own marijuana policy. That's in contrast to other presidential candidates — like senators Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Marco Rubio — who Riffle said only hinted at their support for such federal measures.

"Rand Paul has actually put his money in his mouth is," Riffle said.

In recent months since his presidential announcement, Paul has criticized the war on drugs, saying they disproportionately hurt minority communities. Late last month, the senator held a fundraiser at the National Cannabis Industry Association's business summit.

Riffle said his boss attended the event, and that it's not a surprise his organization would "max out" in giving to Paul.

Correction: An earlier version of the story misstated the name of Paul's presidential organization. It is called Rand Paul for President, Inc.