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Sean Parker Backs Marijuana Legalization in California

Venture capitalist and former Facebook president Sean Parker has thrown his support behind a new ballot measure that seeks to regulate and legalize marijuana for recreational purposes in California this year.

Parker, an early investor in Facebook, contributed $500,000 to a new committee called Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children, Sponsored by Business, Physicians, Environmental and Social-Justice Advocate Organizations, according to a filing with the Secretary of State’s office. The committee is just one of several organizations vying to place marijuana legalization on California’s 2016 ballot.

According to the committee’s finance document, the group received an additional $250,000 from the pro-marijuana Drug Policy Action, and another $250,000 from a group calling itself Californians for Sensible Reform. The latter group includes contributions from WeedMaps, a popular service that allows marijuana users to find local dispensaries and browse their menus.

In August, WeedMaps contributed $2 million to Californians for Sensible Reform and its corresponding political action committee, an early indicator of the big-money role that many marijuana-related services are likely to play in this year’s political battle for legalization.

The Secretary of State cleared Parker’s ballot measure to begin collecting the necessary signatures for inclusion on the ballot this week, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The measure would place a 15 percent state excise tax on all retail sales of marijuana, according to a brief of the measure prepared by the state Attorney General and released Wednesday. The measure would also impose a state cultivation tax of $9.25 per ounce of flowers, and $2.75 per per ounce of leaves.

Advocates say the new taxes on marijuana could bring in more than $1 billion of revenue annually, with most of the money required to be spent on substance abuse education and treatment programs.

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