In these divided political times, it’s hard to know where allegiances lie. For instance, who would have thought that White Castle, a stoner profiteer and maker of some of the most munchable munchies in the realm of fast food ,would be opposing a bill to reform cannabis and other drug laws?
In addition to selling the perfect stoner group snack in the form of their bargain-priced burger sliders, the restaurant chain also participated in the major studio mega-hit stoner comedy Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle.
But now the company is donating money to actually fight drug reform in Ohio. The ballot measure State Issue 1 aimed to reduce incarceration in the state by reducing many drug crimes, including marijuana possession, to misdemeanors. It also would have allowed prisoners to reduce their existing sentences if they completed educational, vocational, or rehab training. The measure failed to find voter approval in the state and was defeated on Tuesday with only 35 percent of the vote, as reported by The Cincinnati Enquirer.
White Castle was one of the largest contributors to the State Issue 1 opposition campaign “Vote No to Protect Ohio,” donating $15,000.
In an in depth article on the issue, Leafly points out that while White Castle regularly makes political contributions, they are rarely as high as $15K. A look at their past contributions also shows that their donations do not fall neatly along partisan lines. In 2016, the company gave $5,000 to Republican John Kasich’s presidential primary campaign, but this year it also donated $5,000 to the Franklin County Democratic Party.
Leafly reached out to the company and found them relatively open to talking about their political leanings. Their opposition to State Issue 1 “isn’t related to cannabis,” said Jamie Richardson, White Castle’s vice president of government and shareholder relations.
“It’s about the opioid crisis. Ohio’s really been ground zero,” he said. Richardson outlined the toll that opioids have taken on the state in general and also on the restaurant in particular, saying that White Castle have had drug overdoses in their bathrooms within the last year. Richardson also said that the company had made a donation to a nonprofit aimed to target the health effects of the local opioid crisis.
“We don’t have a position on cannabis decriminalization,” he said. “We’re not actively opposing decriminalization of marijuana anywhere.”
Photo via Flickr user farrellink