A customer counts out cash for a transaction at the Native Roots pot shop in Boulder County. Marijuana sales in Colorado are subject to the regular state sales tax of 2.9 percent. In addition, recreational sales are subject to a special 15 percent excise tax and a 10 percent sales tax. (Daily Camera file)

Who’s funding California’s campaign for legal weed — and who’s funding the opposition?

Economists have said that California voting this November whether to legalize the recreational use of cannabis could be the “watershed moment” for the future of the legal marijuana industry.

As such, Proposition 64 with its big implications has attracted some big bucks.

Brooke Edwards Staggs, who covers the cannabis industry for The Orange County Register, joins Cannabist editor-in-chief Ricardo Baca on The Cannabist Show to give a breakdown of the campaign cash flooding both sides of that proposed measure.

Claiming the lion’s share of the total contributions has been the pro-Prop. 64 camp, Staggs says.

Those in support of Proposition 64’s passage have raised “substantially more” than their opposition — on a scale of $15 million to $1 million, as of a month before Election Day, she says.

Prop. 64’s biggest backer is Sean Parker, of Napster and Facebook fame, who has contributed more than half of that $15 million, she adds.

“He has not done any interviews on why he is supporting the measure, but the campaign has said it’s strictly a social justice issue for him,” Skaggs said, referencing marijuana possession arrest rates and the disproportionate effect on minorities. “… They say he does not have any financial interest in the industry and doesn’t ever plan to. The research we’ve done, we haven’t been able to find any indication of that.”

Other social justice groups, including an offshoot of the Drug Policy Alliance are among the other financial supporters of Proposition 64, she says.

The anti side includes a collection of public safety groups, correctional institutions, members of law enforcement and Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or Project SAM, which opposes recreational marijuana measures across the United States.

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