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OpinionColumnistsMark Chiusano

Lobbyist group doesn't want legal pot plans in NY to go up in smoke

Marijuana plant are seen at a growing facility

Marijuana plant are seen at a growing facility in Seattle on April 4, 2013. Credit: AP/Elaine Thompson

One way you know Long Island’s State Senate delegation was at the center of this year’s budget fight:

A group called The Good Growth Alliance spent thousands of dollars on Facebook ads late last week and over the weekend calling out the six Democrats in the majority about marijuana, along with a few other suburban legislators.

The ads, targeted with each senator's name, told users that their particular senator “has FAILED to reform our marijuana laws in the state budget,” adding contact information and urging the user to ask the senator to “take action” on the issue before the legislative session ends.

The Long Island Six has generally been wary to tentative in the marijuana legalization process. Ultimately, the matter got dropped from the state budget as legislators were confronted with implementation issues and the reality of dispensaries in their districts. The road to legalization gets more difficult without a budget to cram it into and the smart betting says nothing will happen to legalize recreational weed this year.

But who is so interested in the minutiae of Long Island politics that they’re purchasing close to $10,000 in Facebook ads?

The Good Growth Alliance is registered as a lobbyist in New York and a website paid for by the group’s legalization campaign says “State licensed marijuana is changing people's lives for the better.”

But the group is hard to find online beyond the ads preserved in Facebook’s political ad archive. A handful of other ads last week targeted local governments in California, though most focused on New York. A phone number from an affiliated website traces back to Colorado (calls were not returned).

Apparently, news about LI influence is spreading.