KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press

DENVER (AP) — Marijuana entrepreneurs are taking another step into the mainstream by becoming political donors.

Marijuana businesses are using some of their profits to support cannabis-friendly candidates and ballot questions that could bring legal pot to more states. The political activity includes swanky fundraisers at Four Seasons hotels and art auctions. And members of Congress who once politely returned the industry's contribution checks are now keeping them.

Patrick McManamon is head of Cleveland-based Cannasure Insurance Services, which offers insurance to marijuana growers and dispensaries. He says if pot-based businesses don't contribute, they "can't help shape what happens" in the industry.

Medical marijuana sellers have given to candidates since the late 1990s. The arrival of recreational pot in Colorado and Washington has helped expand the industry and its political influence.

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