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California seeks Sean Parker to legalize marijuana

By Oscar Pascual |

California cannot rely solely on current initiatives to legalize marijuana. The state needs Sean Parker to save the day.

The billionaire venture capitalist known for co-founding Facebook plans to draft and back his own initiative for the 2016 vote. BuzzFeed reports.

According to sources within the legalization movement, Parker is working with several associates to launch their own well-funded campaign to legalize adult recreational use in the state.

The affluent 35-year-old investor has a history of financially backing past efforts to legalize cannabis in the state — namely, narrowly defeated Prop. 19 2010 effort. Parker even contributed a significant amount to Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom — who, along with the ACLU, released a report on how to successfully legalize cannabis in the state — for his 2018 gubernatorial bid.

Industry sources told BuzzFeed that Parker’s partners include Weedmaps founder and CEO Justin Hartfield, as well as Silicon Valley investor Joby Pritzker, whose family is one of the wealthiest in America.

Parker also has an interest in cannabis reform due to his ties to mega-investor Peter Thiel and his Founders Fund, which has invested millions in Privateer Holdings, an emerging company with several marijuana licenses, including one for the commercial distribution and sale of official Bob Marley brand marijuana where legal.

Hopeful legalization ReformCA and the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act have already filed initiatives to seek approval for the 2016 election, but are sorely missing the massive amount of funding Parker and his partners can inject into an initiative, let alone the expected one. $15-20 million in political venture capital needed for a successful statewide campaign.

ReformCA, the state’s current best shot at legalization, lacks both funding and support. Supporters of the Drug Policy Alliance and the United Food and Commercial Workers union no longer support the effort.

“We’re looking forward to reading it,” Tamar Todd, DPA’s state director for cannabis policy, said SF Evergreen’s Chris Roberts on Monday. “In the meantime, we are still working on our own initiative.”

While Parker’s efforts may seem late in the election process, sources remain confident in his efforts.

“This is good news that people are rallying behind Sean,” an insider told Buzzfeed. “Sean’s group is playing a catch-up game, but they are working hard to get it right and avoid a repeat of last time.”

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

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