Capitol Alert

Sean Parker puts money behind California marijuana legalization

In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, speaks at Web. 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. The Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist has announced one of the largest private donations to allergy research through the establishment of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University.
In this Oct. 17, 2011 file photo, Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, speaks at Web. 2.0 Conference in San Francisco. The Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist has announced one of the largest private donations to allergy research through the establishment of the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy Research at Stanford University. AP

Former Facebook President Sean Parker formalized his support – with money – for a proposed ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana with a half-million dollars in contributions.

Parker this week donated $250,000 directly to the initiative committee and sent the other half through the Marijuana Policy Project of California as part of a matching campaign, according to state records released Thursday. The donations represent Parker’s first official involvement in the legalization push, which is supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and is seen as the most likely to qualify for the ballot.

Another $250,000 each came from the New Approach PAC, Drug Policy Action and the Californians for Sensible Reform committee funded by the online delivery and information service Weedmaps.

The legalization measure, which has yet to draw organized opposition, would allow adults 21 years and older to possess, use and share up to an ounce of marijuana. The proposal seeks to impose a 15 percent tax on all retail sales, and state cultivation taxes of $9.25 per ounce of marijuana flowers and $2.75 per ounce of leaves.

It also would allow localities to ban marijuana sales in their jurisdictions.

State financial officials predict net tax revenues ranging from the high hundreds of millions of dollars to over $1 billion annually. Much of the added revenues would have to go to substance use education, prevention, treatment, as well as to beef up law enforcement efforts.

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago

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