Devout cannabis advocates and social justice reformers believe this may finally be the year that California voters legalize all marijuana, and that optimism has led to a mashup of proposed statewide ballot measures — more than 20 filed so far.
They vary from a one-sentence constitutional amendment that simply declares California adults are free to “grow, own [and] purchase” marijuana to a 62-page treatise on how to best regulate and tax legal pot.
But just one has attracted the deep-pocketed donors and leading advocacy groups to emerge as the clear favorite to make the November ballot — the so-called Adult Use of Marijuana Act.
That was in no small part thanks to the backing of Napster co-founder and former Facebook President Sean Parker, who so far has donated $1 million of the $2.25 million raised by the campaign.
The initiative’s bankroll dwarfs the funds collected by rival marijuana initiative campaigns, and prompted a few to abandon efforts because they lacked the money to compete.
Momentum behind the Parker-backed initiative was further strengthened by an endorsement from Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom. The 2018 Democratic gubernatorial hopeful chaired a blue-ribbon commission to determine the best way to legalize recreational marijuana in California while still limiting children’s access, targeting illegal activity and regulating the drug’s cultivation and sale.