Publix billionaire donates $800k to fight Florida medical marijuana legalization

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A trust run by an heiress of Publix, a beloved Florida grocery store chain that carries cigarettes, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, just donated $800,000 to a conservative-led campaign fighting medical marijuana legalization in Florida.

According to the Ledger, Carol Jenkins Barnett, the former chairwoman of Publix, used her trust to make this personal, and sizable donation to the lobbying group Drug Free Florida Committee back on July 14. She also reportedly gave more than $500,000 to Drug Free Florida in 2014.

Drug Free Florida helped squash 2014’s medical marijuana amendment and is hoping to do the same with Amendment 2, which is on the ballot this November.

Carol Jenkins Barnett, who is estimated to be worth $1.8 billion, is the daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins.

The company announced in June that the 59-year-old Barnett would be stepping down from Publix’s board of directors because of early onset Alzheimer’s disease.


Publix has since released a statement to Time regarding Barnett’s donation:

“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. 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.”

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