A North Carolinian GOP lawmaker who has been staunchly opposed to marijuana legalization throughout her career is likely the largest cannabis stock holder in the US Congress.
Since September 2020, Rep. Virginia Foxx made six investments in Altria Group Inc. which is the owner of Marlboro cigarettes and one of the world’s largest tobacco companies.
In 2018, Altria made significant inroads into the legal marijuana marketplace by investing $1.8 billion into Cronos Group, a company licensed to cultivate cannabis in Canada. Altria now holds a 45 percent stake in Cronos, with the company anticipated to grow by 55 percent in the next five years.
Foxx’s investments in Altria, therefore, probably means she has more marijuana stocks than any other member of Congress, though it’s difficult to be sure since congressional lawmakers are not required to fully disclose their holdings. Her investments over the past year, according to the records, total somewhere between $79,000 and $210,000. Altria, meanwhile, has been busy recruiting and retaining lobbyists to push for favorable marijuana reforms at the state and federal level.
Her large stake in the legal cannabis marketplace comes despite her staunchly prohibitionist voting record. At the end of last year, Foxx voted against a measure that would federally decriminalize cannabis – the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act.
Commenting on Foxx’s investments, Richard Painter, a University of Minnesota law professor and former White House ethics attorney under George W. Bush’s administration, said it amounted to a “conflict of interest” that “brings into question [her] credibility as a lawmaker,” as reported by Salon.
After voting against the MORE Act in December, Foxx took to Twitter to condemn Democratic leadership for its Covid-19 relief bill, which included provisions to help state-legal marijuana businesses.
Democrats can’t get their minds off pot bills, and they think it’s more important than:
Supporting small businesses ❌
Safely reopening schools ❌
Protecting the livelihoods of Americans ❌
No wonder their majority is shrinking. They’re so far removed from reality.
— Virginia Foxx (@virginiafoxx) December 1, 2020
A $3T monstrosity that mentions “cannabis” 68 times. How many times did it mention the word “jobs”? 52 times.
What are Republicans fighting to protect? Jobs.
What are Democrats fighting to protect? Pot.
What a joke. https://t.co/0f0xdrQwuL
— Virginia Foxx (@virginiafoxx) May 21, 2020
While Foxx is probably the largest holder of cannabis stocks in Congress, she’s far from the only one. According to congressional filings, 20 House members and six senators have either bought or sold marijuana stocks in the past year.
Rep. Foxx’s office chose not to respond to Salon’s inquiries about her marijuana-related investments.