Cannabis Opponents Behind Music Festival Coachella
Despite adult-use cannabis now being legal in California, the promoters of Coachella have recently reminded concertgoers that cannabis use and possession is strictly banned. The rule is nothing new, but the annual music festival’s weed ban is being highlighted this year. While most people probably wouldn’t think much of it, it turns out that there could be more behind the ban than concert etiquette.
Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), which also owns several sports franchises and sports/concert venues, was founded by Philip Anschutz whose family foundation has given millions of dollars to conservative causes - including anti-cannabis legalization groups. According to 2016 tax returns, The Anschutz Foundation donated $50,000 to SAM Inc. (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), and another $110,000 to its partner organization, Smart Colorado. It gave another $50,000 to Smart Colorado in 2015. The goal was to counter the impact of Amendment 64, the recreational-marijuana legalization initiative the state’s voters passed in 2012.
AEG Owners Also Have Stake in Addiction Business
Interestingly enough, The Anschutz Foundation has also given millions of dollars towards the development of addiction recovery facilities. In 2000, the foundation gave the University of Colorado $25 million to build a medical complex in Aurora, Colorado, and thus the Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation (CeDAR). The Anschutz Foundation continues to one of the largest donors to the program.
Philip Anschutz is a well-known conservative; the billionaire owns the right-wing publications Washington Examiner and The Weekly Standard. His foundation previously donated to several anti-LGBTQ organizations, but now claims any relationships with those groups have been ceased.