Business owners replace idealists in legalization movement

DENVER (AP) — Business owners are replacing idealists in the pot-legalization movement.

The rise of a nascent marijuana industry in a handful of states is helping to build a broad base of new donors. Unlike in the past, these supporters are not limited to a few wealthy people seeking change for personal reasons. They constitute a bigger coalition of business interests.

Their support provides a significant financial advantage for pro-legalization campaigns.

Marijuana-related measures are on the ballot next month in nine states. The five that are considering recreational marijuana have seen more money flowing to groups that favor legalization than to those fighting it.

On the other side, legalization opponents are attracting new support from businesses as diverse as trucking, pharmaceuticals, even gambling.