Friday, August 26, 2016

California Legalization Proposition 64 Raises $11.45 Million

By David Downs
Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 10:17 AM

Proponents of a ballot initiative to legalize cannabis in California, Proposition 64, have raised $11.45 million in donor support, Ballotpedia.org reports.

That’s 61 times the amount of campaign cash as the opposition, who has raised $185,870.

click to enlarge Cannabis legalization supporters report raising $11.45 million in California. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • Cannabis legalization supporters report raising $11.45 million in California.
Private donors and groups — not the medical marijuana industry or pot users — are providing almost all the funding for legalization, records indicate.

Major donors include billionaire philanthropist Sean Parker ($2,303,965), the New Approach PAC ($1,500,000), the non-profit Drug Policy Action ($1,250,000), the pot shop listings site Weedmaps ($750,000), Drug Policy Action ($500,000) and Nicholas Pritzker ($250,000).

By contrast, the No on Prop 64 team has raised $185,000 from anti-pot group Smart Approach to Marijuana Action (SAM Action) ($64,510), plus $25,000 from the CA Teamsters Public Affairs Council, $25,000 from the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, $12,500 from the California Police Chiefs Association $10,000 from a Los Angeles County lobby, and $10,000 from the California State Sheriffs' Association.

No on Prop 64 spokespeople have stated the legalization measure is a bid to enrich cannabis capitalists.  Both WeedMaps and Pritzker work in the state's medical marijuana industry, which generates about $2 billion in revenue each year.

The Yes on 64 disputes this claim. “[Sean] Parker supports the initiative as a social justice priority, but has no personal financial interest in the marijuana industry, nor will he invest in it in the future,” Yes on 64 spokesperson Jason Kinney told the Sacramento Bee today. Other major groups like DPA have spent decades fighting to end America's war on some drugs.

No on 64 is funded by groups who stand to lose money on legalization, reports indicate. The Teamsters stand lose lucrative pot distributor contracts if Prop. 64 passes, insider say. The state’s police chiefs and sheriffs benefit from billions of dollars in federal anti-drug grants, as well as asset forfeitures related to pot.

An analysis by the Los Angeles Times’ columnist Robin Abcarian finds Prop. 64 is likely to pass.

“These days, you can’t really find anyone who dismisses cannabis as intrinsically evil. You don’t even hear the “gateway drug” argument very much,” Abcarian reports.

Correction: This story previously reported that Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana has ties to the makers of OxyContin and Vicodin, according to The Nation. That is incorrect.

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