Marijuana committee spent $886,000 on ads; sources unclear | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Marijuana committee spent $886,000 on ads; sources unclear

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 10:32 AM

Informing Arkansas, the committee formed to pass the medical marijuana amendment, reported in a final accounting last week  that it spent $886,663 on advertising to pass the amendment.

Who contributed the money is a more difficult question.

The sources for the money were:

* Vantage Investment, which lists only a mail drop in Little Rock as identifying information. It gave $626,521. People associated with the effort have refused to identify anyone associated with an entity by that name. The only business entity by that name I can find in Arkansas is Vantage Investment Holdings, of which Jackson T. Stephens III, grandson of one of the founders of the Stephens Inc. financial empire, is a member. The corporation dissolved in Arkansas but remains registered in California.  I've been unable to reach anyone to say if there's any relationship between that entity and the campaign. David Couch, the Little Rock lawyer who's fronted much of this campaign, won't say. (He says it's not that he won't say, but doesn't know.)

* Broadleaf PSG of Cincinnati contributed $212,000. As I wrote previously,  it's headed by Cheney Pruett of Texarkana, who's interested in getting into the business. It also accounted for $357,000 in money and non-money contributions to a separate committee, Arkansans United for Medical Marijuana, which spent $885,000 on the petition campaign to qualify the amendment for the ballot.

* Bevans Family Trust of Maumelle, whose interests in include retail liquor, contributed $50,000. It, too, helped pay for the petition drive, about $430,000.

Informing Arkansas spent about $774,000 on TV advertising through Diamond States Consulting, headed by Keith Emis, a long-time Republican consultant.  It spent $112,000 on digital advertising through the Markham Group.

Informing Arkansas dissolved with about $1,800 on hand.

So, in the end, the single biggest source of money was an unknown entity, Vantage, with $626,521 in spending, followed by Broadleaf with about $569,000 and Bevans Trust with $480,000.

The Medical Marijuana Commission meets today. Among the decisions to be made eventually is whether it will chose for the available dispensing permits based strictly on qualifications or by a lottery system, likely to include some qualifications to participate. That process will cost money, too, and not necessarily guarantee an outlet. This, after $1.7 million to qualify and pass the amendment from three primary sources

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Two votes for older judges

    The Joint Retirement Committee this morning approved bills that would ease or remove an impediment to state judges continuing to serve after 70 years of age.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • The latest on that vacant federal judgeship: Focus on a newcomer to Arkansas

    Donald Trump and the Republican Senate have speedily delivered huge numbers of extremist federal judges in two years, making all the more noticeable a lag in filling the opening on the federal Eastern District Court bench created by Judge Leon Holmes' retirement March 31, 2018, almost a year ago. Difficulties in clearing candidates have led now, the rumors go, to the choice of something of an outsider.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • Legislators may dine free tonight at the Capital Hotel

    What? No free lunch on the schedule today? Not to worry. Legislators can load up on quality free eats and drinks tonight at the Capital Hotel.
    • Mar 18, 2019
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • Use of solar on the rise in Arkansas

    With a pivotal ruling expected any day now from the Public Service Commission, Kyle Massey at Arkansas Business reports on the increase in Arkansans adding solar generation units on their homes and business.
    • Apr 13, 2018
  • Antwan Phillips wants to make a difference in reducing Little Rock violence

    KARK/Fox 16's push to do something about Little Rock violence includes a spotlight on people trying to make a difference — in this episode Antwan Phillips, a lawyer at Wright, Lindsey and Jennings.
    • Aug 30, 2017


Most Recent Comments


© 2019 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation