Capitol Alert

Peter Thiel opens wallet for pot legalization in California

Peter Thiel, the Silicon Valley billionaire who co-founded PayPal and has become an outspoken supporter of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, has cut a big check to the California campaign to legalize recreational pot.

Thiel contributed $300,000 to Proposition 64, which would allow adults to consume cannabis, possess one ounce and grow six plants.

He becomes the largest marijuana investor to give to the measure. Through his venture capital firm, Thiel launched a multimillion-dollar investment in Privateer Holdings, a firm with stakes in marijuana businesses.

Thiel contributed $70,000 to the failed legalization bid, Proposition 19 in 2010, a donation that also came late in the campaign. He also gave $25,900 that year to Republican Meg Whitman’s failed gubernatorial campaign.

In April, he maxed out ($56,400) to Democratic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s gubernatorial campaign, after donating $13,600 to Newsom in 2014. Newsom is Proposition 64’s primary backer.

A conservative libertarian who endorsed Ron Paul for president in 2012, Thiel spoke in support of Trump in July at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. He contributed $1.25 million to Trump’s campaign last month. In a speech this week at the National Press Club, Thiel stressed that he doesn’t agree with everything Trump has said and done – “and I don’t think the millions of other people voting for him do, either.”

“It’s not a lack of judgment that leads Americans to vote for Trump; we’re voting for Trump because we judge the leadership of our country to have failed,” he said.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago