Some 60 percent of likely voters support California marijuana legalization, according to a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Pictured: Medical marijuana vials are displayed at the Venice Beach Care Center medical marijuana dispensary in Venice, Calif., in May 2013. (Damian Dovarganes, Associated Press file)

Two financial backers shell out $2 million for California legalization campaign

SANTA ANA, Calif. — With four months to go before the election, an initiative campaign to legalize marijuana for adults in California has a $5.5 million war chest.

Promoters of Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, got a $2 million boost in donations recently from two key financial backers.

Sean Parker, who co-founded Napster and was Facebook’s first president, gave an additional $1.25 million, bringing his total contributions to $2.25 million.

The New Approach PAC, which is a legacy of Progressive insurance mogul and legalization activist Peter Lewis, gave an additional $750,000. The PAC has now contributed $1.5 million.

If approved by voters, the proposition will allow Californians 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana, up to 8 grams of concentrated cannabis and up to six plants.

Other backers of the initiative include Irvine-based Weedmaps; Drug Policy Action, the advocacy arm of Drug Policy Alliance, which aims to end the war on drugs; Nicholas Pritzker, a Hyatt Hotel heir and billionaire investor; and a handful of smaller donors.

Lynne Lyman, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said she expects the pro-Proposition 64 campaign will raise $10 million to $20 million by the Nov. 8 election.

An opposition campaign also continues to raise funds.

The Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, sponsored by the Public Safety Institute, has now raised $131,000 to defeat Prop 64.

Most recently, the California State Sheriffs’ Association gave $10,000. Other opponents include the Teamsters, a state hospital association, multiple law enforcement groups and the nonprofit arm of an anti-legalization group called Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Some 60 percent of likely voters support legalization, according to a recent poll from the Public Policy Institute of California. Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer, D-South Los Angeles, and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni G. Atkins, D-San Diego, were among those who declared their support for the proposition in the past week.

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