Technology and finance are forging a new world for marijuana business and politics. Here are some of the emerging players:
Sean Parker, former president of Facebook and co-founder of Napster. Parker is the key backer of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act. The proposed 2016 ballot measure would allow California residents to possess an ounce of marijuana and impose a 15 percent tax on state-regulated marijuana sales.
Justin Hartfield, Irvine venture capitalist. Hartfield created Weed Maps Media, a website and mobile app that guides consumers to marijuana dispensaries. He supports the marijuana initiative backed by Parker.
Steve DeAngelo, veteran cannabis activist. DeAngelo founded Oakland’s Harborside Health Center dispensary, billed as the world’s largest marijuana provider. He is president of The ArcView Group, an investment network for cannabis startups co-founded with Troy Dayton.
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Amy Poinsett, former Web developer in the financial services and medical technology fields. Poinsett partnered with Jessica Billingsley in MJ Freeway Business Solutions, a Denver-based company that provides sales and inventory tracking software and consulting services for marijuana businesses.
Joby Pritzker, an heir to the Hyatt Hotels family and board member for the Marijuana Policy Project. Pritzker was a key player in the formation of The ArcView Group. His Tao Capital Partners provided funding for MJ Freeway. Pritzker is also a backer of the Parker initiative.
Keith McCarty, former sales director and general manager of global strategic accounts for Yammer. His new venture, Eaze, has created an app-driven marijuana delivery service for medical marijuana consumers in more than 85 California cities.
Emily Paxhia, a corporate branding consultant for media and film companies. Paxhia co-founded Poseidon Asset Management with her brother Morgan, a private investment portfolio manager. Poseidon has invested in pot labs and Internet services, as well as a Canadian cultivator, Aphria Inc.
Steve Berg, venture capitalist and former managing director for Wells Fargo’s capital markets group. Berg was an architect of The ArcView Group and is CEO of a Denver company, O.pen Vape, which manufactures vaporizers that allow people to consume marijuana without lighting up.
Brendan Kennedy, a former director with Silicon Valley Bank. Kennedy is co-founder of Seattle-based Privateer Holdings, a cannabis business investment group that recently entered a partnership with the family of late reggae singer Bob Marley to produce an international marijuana brand.
Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal. Thiel donated $70,000 to California’s unsuccessful 2010 recreational pot initiative. In January, his Founders Fund provided $75 million for Privateer Holdings, considered the first major institutional investment in the cannabis economy.