California Pot Legalization Is Crushing Opponents
File photo by Timothy Norris/L.A. Weekly

California Pot Legalization Is Crushing Opponents

Police groups and anti-drug activists might not like the idea, but recreational marijuana legalization has a lot going for it.

The latest poll of likely California voters shows that nearly 60 percent approve of the idea. And with the backing of Silicon Valley billionaire Sean Parker, the leading legalization initiative in the Golden State, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), has plenty of cash.

Cash is king in 39 million–strong California, where TV advertising will be necessary to sway voters in November.

A new analysis from MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money in politics, concludes that AUMA "has a huge fundraising advantage" over opponents.

Pro-legalization forces have raised 240 times as much as opponents of recreational pot, the nonprofit organization said.

While AUMA has received nearly $3.3 million, opposing group Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana has raised only $13,635 this election cycle, MapLight's analysis found.

Parker,  cofounder of Napster and a onetime Facebook president, contributed nearly a third of AUMA's war chest, more than $1 million, the research organization says.

Another big-name donor is Nicholas Pritzker, CEO of Tao Capital and an heir to Hyatt Hotels, the nonprofit says. He contributed $250,000.

AUMA has been endorsed by the California NAACP, national NORML and Drug Policy Alliance's political arm, Drug Policy Action, which contributed $500,000.

"When people see that there's one consensus measure on the ballot supported by the largest coalition ever formed to support a marijuana policy measure. we have every expectation we will be getting contributions both large and small from across the state," AUMA spokesman Jason Kinney said.

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