Pubdate: Tue, 03 Nov 2015
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2015 Associated Press


SAN FRANCISCO (AP)  The push to put California among the states where 
marijuana can be sold to and legally used by adults for recreation 
took a major step forward on Monday as ballot language backed by 
Napster co-founder Sean Parker, other wealthy entrepreneurs who 
support pot legalization and leading advocacy groups was filed with the state.

The proposed legalization initiative is one of more than a dozen that 
has been submitted in California for the November 2016 election. 
Because of the deep pockets, political connections and professional 
credibility of its supporters, however, observers think the so-called 
Adult Use of Marijuana Act is the vehicle with the greatest chance of success.

"We believe this effort has the support and resources to mount a 
successful campaign for responsible adult-use," California Cannabis 
Industry Association Executive Director Nate Bradley, whose 
organization is endorsing the measure, said. "This is the one to 
watch. This is the one."

The measure would allow adults 21 and over to buy an ounce of 
marijuana and marijuana-infused products at licensed retail outlets 
and also to grow up to six pot plants for personal recreational use. 
Both the new recreational market and the state's existing medical 
marijuana industry would be regulated through the California 
Department of Consumer Affairs and authorize the state to impose the 
same 15 percent excise tax on both medical and recreational marijuana.

Four people who worked on the initiative independently told The 
Associated Press the drafting process and early work to enlist 
sponsors and build a campaign team was spearheaded by Parker, the 
billionaire technology investor who upended the music business as a 
teenager by cofounding the file sharing site Napster and served as 
Facebook's first president.

Those people requested anonymity because they were not authorized to 
discuss Parker's involvement or to name the other wealthy 
entrepreneurs expected to fund the effort until an official campaign 
committee starts raising money and becomes subject to state disclosure laws.

Other potential donors who have expressed interest in bankrolling the 
work to qualify the measure for the ballot and to mount a 
multi-million dollar election campaign include a political action 
committee founded by the family of the late Progressive Insurance 
executive Peter Lewis; some members of the Chicago family that owns 
the Hyatt hotel chain; and Justin Hartfield, chief executive of 
online marijuana directory WeedMaps, the sources said.

Lewis, who died almost two years ago, gave $218,505 in 2010 to 
support what became an unsuccessful attempt to legalize recreational 
marijuana in California. Parker gave $100,000.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom