Ben Pollara is one of the top political strategists and public affairs professionals in Florida, as well as one of the two individuals primarily responsible for bringing medical marijuana to the Sunshine State. Ben’s services are highly sought after for Democratic candidates and campaigns, efforts to support and oppose statewide and regional ballot initiatives, corporate communications matters and efforts to enter Florida’s growing market for medical marijuana.
For nearly two decades, Ben has worked in the trenches of Florida politics. He got his start as a junior fundraiser in the 2002 election cycle, and by 2007 was managing Florida fundraising for Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign. Under Ben’s leadership, Florida was one of the few states where Clinton consistently outraised Barack Obama.
From 2010 until 2018, Ben was a partner at a Miami Beach-based government affairs and communications firm, where he helped clients manage multi-jurisdictional lobbying and public affairs campaigns across the country. He has overseen nationwide letter writing campaigns targeted to federal regulators, hired and managed teams of lobbyists and consultants on behalf of corporations, and assisted executives and organizations with crisis messaging and communications strategy.
Ben is perhaps best known for his work bringing medical marijuana to Florida. Beginning in early 2013, he worked alongside a prominent Florida attorney to put a medical marijuana law into the Florida Constitution through referendum. In 2016, they did just that when voters approved the issue with over 71% in favor.
After the law was approved, Ben led a battalion of lobbyists in the 2017 legislative session in an effort to fully implement the amendment and expand the marketplace for medical marijuana businesses. Because of those efforts, Florida’s original five legal marijuana operators have grown to 14, and more licenses are due to be competitively issued as the program grows.
Most recently, Ben served as senior advisor to the campaign of Nikki Fried for Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, a statewide elected cabinet-level position. The success of the campaign made Fried the sole statewide elected Democrat in Florida.
Ben has twice been named to INFLUENCE Magazine’s “INFLUENCE 100” list of the most influential individuals in Florida politics. Former Minority Leader of the Florida Senate, Oscar Braynon II, called Ben, “a mainstay in Democratic inner circles” and said, “there are few campaigns or races that [he] hasn’t influenced in some form or fashion.”