Pubdate: Sat, 09 Jul 2016
Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)
Copyright: 2016 Los Angeles Times
Author: Patrick McGreevy


Parker Adds Another $1.25 Million to the Proposition 64 Effort.

Former Facebook President Sean Parker has put another $1.25 million 
into the campaign for Proposition 64, the initiative to legalize the 
recreational use of marijuana in California, bringing his total 
contributions to $2.5 million, according to records released Thursday.

The latest donation by the billionaire tech titan was reported to the 
secretary of state by the initiative's campaign committee, 
Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana 
While Protecting Children.

If approved by voters Nov. 8, the ballot measure would allow adults 
21 and older to possess, transport and use up to an ounce of cannabis 
for recreational purposes and would allow individuals to grow as many 
as six plants. The measure would also impose a 15% tax on retail 
sales of the drug.

Parker has emerged as the biggest donors to the campaign, which has 
raised $5 million, much of it spent on a petition drive to qualify 
the measure for the ballot.

A controversial figure, Parker left as Facebook's first president in 
2005 after a cocaine-related arrest, though he was not charged with a crime.

The opposition to the measure is led by the Coalition for Responsible 
Drug Policies, which has raised about $125,000 from groups including 
the Assn. of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs State PAC and the Los 
Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Assn.

Wayne Johnson, the lead strategist for the campaign against 
Proposition 64, said that supporters including Parker expect to make 
money if the initiative passes, something a Parker representative denied.

"Sean Parker didn't make a contribution; he made a business 
investment that he expects to pay off," Johnson said. "And why 
shouldn't it? The initiative practically eliminates his competition 
by decimating the medical marijuana provider network. This is 
strictly a big-business monopoly model that permits a single company 
to control growing, manufacturing and distribution."

Jason Kinney, a spokesman for the pro-legalization campaign, said the 
criticism is misplaced.

Parker "has no investment or interest in the marijuana industry nor 
any plans to enter it," Kinney said. "He's supportive because he is a 
social justice advocate. Like pretty much everything the opposition 
tries to throw at us, this is Jell-O that doesn't stick."

Kinney also disputed that the measure would lead to a monopoly.

"This measure was specifically and carefully written to protect small 
business, especially existing small operators who are abiding by the 
new regulatory framework created by the governor and Legislature."

Meanwhile, Proposition 64 was opposed Thursday by the California 
District Attorneys Assn. in part for failing to "give prosecutors any 
standard by which to measure and convict drug-impaired drivers," said 
Mark Zahner, the group's chief executive.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom