In November California voters will go to the polls and one of the issues they’ll decide on is recreational marijuana legalization. The measure, now officially dubbed Proposition 64, would legalize cannabis possession for all adults up to an ounce and would also allow for adults to grow 6 plants at home.
The major financial force behind the measure – though far from the only financial force – is tech billionaire Sean Parker, who donated another $1.25 million to the Prop 64 campaign earlier this month, bringing his total contributions to $2.5 million. That is half of what the campaign has raised in total; other contributors include the Drug Policy Alliance and Weedmaps.
Prop 64 now has everything it needs to push toward the fall and victory. While some activists are unhappy about the 15% sales tax and lament the “corporate takeover” of marijuana in California, it’s worth pointing out that many other groups have tried and failed to get recreational legalization on the ballot, and the one time they succeeded Prop 19 went down in flames in 2010.
Excessive taxes and regulations are certainly something to be on the lookout for; they can easily cripple the marijuana industry before it gets off the ground. And most can agree that 15% seems a bit steep for a sales tax, but what is the alternative? The loss of a huge, new industry and all the jobs and economic activity that come with it. The continued harassment of cannabis users. More regulations for patients as politicians would turn their sights back to “reigning in” the “wild west” of medical cannabis in the state.
Worst of all, if Prop 64 loses, anti-legalization activists will have their biggest victory since Nixon left the White House. Which, in turn, will allow them to raise even more money and operate in more states.
The time for legalization is now, all across the country.