June 2, 2023 12:00 pm ETEstimated Read Time: 4 Minutes
Side hustle: Many of us have one (or more) to help make some extra for things we need and want in life—things like food, power, gas, and, if we’re lucky, something nice for ourselves or someone else. A side hustle brings in a little extra income but typically doesn’t surpass your main income—unless, of course, you happen to be an American politician. Republican, Democrat, Independent, it doesn’t matter. Pick one, and chances are good that you will find they have a quite lucrative side hustle.
It’s no secret that politicians have been using their positions to sway markets and make financial investments based on inside information. In recent news, Republican lawmakers called for a Democratic lawmaker to resign over her side hustle working with the cannabis industry. They called her actions “unethical.” Here’s what happened.
Shemia Fagan’s Cannabis Side Hustle
Oregon Secretary of State Shemia Fagan accepted a position as a paid consultant for an affiliate of a vertically integrated cannabis company called La Mota which has multiple retailers across Oregon. The position paid $10,000 monthly, much more than her $77,000 yearly salary as Oregon Secretary of State. On top of the $10,000 monthly salary, the position reportedly offered a bonus of three times that amount for helping to secure business licenses in other states. $120,000 a year plus the potential of a $30,000+ bonus per state that she helped the company get licensed in is a pretty sweet deal. Was she in the wrong? You bet she was.
Republicans didn’t let this slide. They threw called for Shemia Fagan to resign. Did that happen? Nope. Apparently, there is more money to be made in politics since money seems to have been the issue. Oregon Secretary of State, Shemia Fagan, told the media she is “divorced with two young children and has student loans and other bills that she says her secretary of state’s salary is not enough to cover.” Sorry, this is not an excuse. Fagan knows this and released a statement in a press release saying, “Clearly, this contract raises questions. Upon painful reflection, taking that contract was poor judgment, and for that, I am sorry.”
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This all came to light because the Oregon Secretary of State issued an audit that Shemia Fagan opted to remove herself from. Otherwise, we may have never known about it.
Politicians Make Bank From Unethical Financial Practices
If Republican lawmakers are going to call for the resignation of Shemia Fagan, they better start doing the same thing with Republican Congresswoman Virginia Foxx. This anti-cannabis congresswoman might be one of the biggest political investors in cannabis stock. If she supports it, why is she so against legalizing it?
A few years back, Rep. John Yarmuth tried to make a few bucks with inside knowledge of cannabis legalization efforts. Fox Business reported on it in December 2020, saying, “Rep John Yarmuth, D-Ky, on Feb. 12 bought between $1,000 and $15,000 worth of shares in each of Aurora Cannabis Inc., Canopy Growth Corp., Cronos Group Inc., and Tilray Inc, according to a financial disclosure form.”
Continued Federal Marijuana Prohibition Is Unethical
Federal marijuana prohibition began in 1937 with the signing of the MJ Tax Act. It was reinforced, and the penalties were made even harsher in 1971 with the signing of the Controlled Substance Act. To this day, the U.S. federal government lists cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Under this listing, cannabis is said to have no medicinal use and a high potential for addiction and abuse. This is so far from the truth. The federal government knows that cannabis has beneficial properties, yet they have chosen to keep them from the American people for decades.
Patent number 6630507, “Cannabinoids as Antioxidants and Neuroprotectants,” is owned by the United States Health Department. Beyond this type of unethical practice, it is unethical for lawmakers who stand in front of the American people and utter a phrase like more research is needed. More research isn’t needed. Politicians who don’t have private agendas are what’s needed. From a business point of view, marijuana prohibition makes money. Just think of the untold amount of tax dollars wasted over discussing the legalization of something that never should have been criminalized in the first place.
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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