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Publix Heiress Donates $800K to Fight Medical Marijuana in Florida



medical marijuana

In an effort to defeat Florida’s medical marijuana ballot initiative, the Drug Free Florida Committee has ramped up its fundraising, reportedly raising $805,000 between July 9 and July 15. The bulk of this money came from one contributor—the family that founded beloved supermarket chain Publix.

According to a recently filed financial disclosure, the Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust donated $800,000 to Drug Free Florida, a group opposed to Amendment 2, which would allow doctors to prescribe medicinal cannabis for certain debilitating illnesses.

Barnett, the daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins, stepped down from Publix’s board of directors in June, after being diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

According to WPBF 25 News, the trust also contributed $540,000 in 2014 to Drug Free Florida, which helped defeat a proposed constitutional amendment that would have broadly legalized medical marijuana.

But before you start boycotting Publix, the company’s spokesperson Maria Brous assured the Miami New Times that the donation is not reflective of Publix’s views.

“Publix has not made a contribution in support of or in opposition to Amendment 2,” she said. “The donation made by Carol Jenkins Barnett was a personal donation and not one made by the company.”

The same sentiment was echoed in a comment given to TIME magazine, that the donation was “personal” and not a company decision.

“Carol Jenkins Barnett has long supported efforts to protect Florida’s families and children against the perils of drug abuse. As such, she feels that Amendment 2 would usher in an unprecedented era of legalized marijuana in Florida as opposed to only helping those who suffer from debilitating illnesses,” Publix said in a statement to TIME. “It is her desire to maintain the health and welfare of Floridians. For this reason, she contributed to Drug Free Florida, which is dedicated to educating the public on the dangerous consequences contained in this ballot initiative.”