You can count on one hand the number of chief executives of large companies who publicly support the legalization of marijuana. The list goes as follows:
John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market; Richard Branson of the Virgin Group; billionaire financier George Soros; and Peter Lewis of Progressive Insurance (who was a longtime advocate before passing away in 2013).
Now, there's a fifth CEO–George Zimmer, founder of Men's Wearhouse, a company that fired him two years ago. He divulged to CNBC that he's a cannabis aficionado of sorts.
"I've been smoking marijuana on a regular basis for about 50 years," Zimmer said to CNBC, before joking, "As you can see, it's really impacted me in a negative way."
Zimmer gave the keynote speech Friday at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo in Los Angeles, pushing for legalization. "Everybody in the country knows what the truth here is, except the 535 people we elect to make these decisions in Washington, D.C.," he told attendees. "It's astounding."
He's throwing his support behind an initiative to legalize recreational marijuana in California next year, just as he supported the proposition that failed in 2010. No matter what form legalization might take, Zimmer said, "I think it's important that we protect limited home cultivation without any government licensing, so whether it's one plant or 10 plants, I don't know, but I think that's very important."