Marijuana Legalization Measure Courts Billionaires for Vital Campaign Cash

Categories: Marijuana
poll_5_pie.png
Close. But close enough?
Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, a marijuana legalization measure vying to get onto the November ballot, has only $80,000 in cash on hand, according to finance records. But in a poll released this week, it had potential support from 62 percent of likely voters -- and that, ballot proponents say, is quite literally money in the bank.

"That shows funders we can win," said Steve Kubby, a South Lake Tahoe marijuana activist and member of the Regulate Marijuana Like Wine's campaign committee. "Anytime you're polling over 60 percent, you command anyone's attention."

And history just might be on RMLW's side: Those poll numbers are also close to where Proposition 215 was 16 years ago, before the nation's first medical marijuana laws were approved by a million vote margin in November 1996, Kubby noted. Those are also rosier numbers than 2010's Proposition 19 -- which earned more votes than former Republican gubernatorial nominee Meg Whitman -- enjoyed before its historic defeat.

It's still going to be an uphill climb: Organizers have 30,000 signatures thus far, a fraction of the 504,760 validated signatures from registered California voters needed to qualify Regulate Marijuana Like Wine for the ballot (closer to 750,000 or more are in reality needed, allowing for invalidated scribbles and other snafus). Nonetheless, the poll means several billionaires are at this moment crunching numbers and deciding whether to bankroll the initiatives, Kubby told SF Weekly Thursday.

Regulate Marijuana Like Wine is one of several ballot measures concerning marijuana in the signature-gathering process. If passed, it would remove from the California law books all criminal statutes related to marijuana for adults 21 or older. Another ballot initiative, Repeal Cannabis Prohibition, would also undo criminal penalties pertaining to marijuana. A third, the California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative of 2012, would go even further, but has yet to commission the poll necessary to attract heaps of cash.

Another ballot initiative, called the Medical Marijuana Regulation, Control and Taxation Act, is sponsored by labor union UFCW and Americans for Safe Access. It seems to have a good shot at gathering the necessary money and signatures, but creates an updated regulatory framework for medical marijuana, and does not address adult legalization.

About $1.5 million is needed to obtain the required 504,760 valid signatures -- if done a month before the April 20 deadline. If the signature-gathering is done in the final, crazy month -- when everyone vying for the ballot is employing any paid signature gatherers they can find -- signature-gathering firms' prices quadruple, meaning it could cost as much as $5 million, Kubby noted.

"Right now, three different billionaires have our numbers, and are reviewing them," said Kubby, who declined to name them -- though very moneyed men, among them liberal make-it-rainer George Soros, Progressive Auto Insurance Chairman Peter Lewis, Napster cofounder Sean Parker, and Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskovitz, were tapped in 2010 for Prop 19. Are they willing to throw money after Regulate Marijuana Like Wine, too?

Maybe.

Lewis recently wrote an e-mail to cannabis activist Mickey Martin, who had asked Lewis for $1.5 million to fund a legalization ballot measure.

Lewis replied thusly:

"I have done considerable research which leads me to conclude that the time has not yet come for legalization. I believe that if the issue you want to pass isn't polling well above 60% in favor before the election, there is no chance to pass it. California is not there yet."

Is 62 percent enough for Lewis? Time will tell. In the meantime, the campaign is celebrating its poll numbers.

"Everyone, including the polling company, was shocked," Kubby said. "We owe a debt of gratitude to the United States attorneys, who pushed the voters this way with their ridiculous scare tactics. I can't think of anything better for our campaign."

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19 comments
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Sovereignday
Sovereignday

I did five years in the Feds for growing pot.....State law is alot more progressive when it comes to pot legalization but try talking to the DEA about how you are a licensed grower as your being put in handcuffs. Know that there is a quiet war being waged against the States and the Fed which is a dummy corp. posing as the authority in the land over all of our sovereignty. Wake up people, look into why the District Of Columbia is where the Feds are housed at.....why the fuck is the IRS based out of Peurto Rico???? We are not free!!!!

Lightblueeyed
Lightblueeyed

Don't regulate, confiscate, synthesize, tax or mess with our free will, innate right, to access natural nature as we please! 

Jose
Jose

I agree, we already pay enough taxes and are overly regulated.  The government will swap putting people in jail for smoking pot to putting people in jail for not paying taxes on the weeds growing in the back yard.

Let the government keep it illegal.  In the small chance of getting caught ask for a jury trial and talk to the jury.  Say the government is out of control and ask one of them to acquit you using the power of jury nullification as specified in the Constitution.

If your lawyer refuses to go along with this defense then fire him/her and inform the court that your lawyer is not following your instructions.

Jose
Jose

I am really getting tired of this regulate and tax nonsense. I'm also tired of the play sick routine for medical marijuana.

NORML has been sucking money for over 40 years to try to fix this problem.  It is time for a new approach.  Take a look at:

http://normlsucks.com/

Yanlove
Yanlove

I am a tall girl,  I joined a club -- ' Tal l' loving''.С 0 m  --- where I could chat with many hot ta ll guys. Come on, join us,   discuss love with us.

langfooo
langfooo

He really does seem to know what is going on over there.Total-Privacy dot US

langfooo
langfooo

I never thought about it like that. You have to admit the dude makes a lot of sense man. WOw.Be-Anon.tk

Sherry and Bryan
Sherry and Bryan

My wife,son, daughtor and I favor the legalization of Marijuana!It will give a billion-dollar-per-year industry to the private sector and not to the crime element. Marijuana is much-less harmful than tobacco and alcohol and should be legalized, taxed, and regulated.         

concernedparentandtaxpayer
concernedparentandtaxpayer

Jesus said to do unto others as we would have them to do unto us. None of us would want our child or grandchild thrown in jail with the sexual predators over marijuana. None of us would want to see an older family member’s home confiscated and sold by the police for growing a couple of marijuana plants for their aches and pains.If the people who want to use marijuana could grow a few plants in their own back yards, it would be about as valuable as home-grown tomatoes; it would put the drug gangs out of business and get them out of our neighborhoods.

bossanova
bossanova

 For those of you in your twenty's please remember this commentwhen you're 60. Marijuana will never ever be permitted in theUnited States of America. You will grow old like the rest of us didwishing and hoping but nothing will ever become of it. Because ofthe nature of the high we had no desire to struggle with theauthorities over it being illegal or not. I suggest drinkingalcohol rather than fighting the system. Booze and tobacco seem tobe the only drugs that the DEA will allow so why not...tomorrow ourrights to use alcohol and tobacco may be taken from us so now's isthe time to drink-up, smoke cigarettes and grasp at the otherpersonal freedoms being taken away from Americans.

starchild
starchild

It should not be necessary to go to billionaires for help in order to get popular measures like legalizing marijuana on the ballot. The requirements to qualify a ballot measure are obviously way too high. State legislators don't have to jump through onerous hoops like this to pass laws, and the people shouldn't have to either. We need more direct democracy to bypass the elites who monopolize power at our expense.

jway
jway

The federal ban on stores selling marijuana to adults flies in the face of the basic economic principal that "where there's demand there will be supply". If you make this supply illegal then you'll have illegal supply - demand won't just magically go away! The federal government's ban on supermarkets, gas stations and specialty stores selling marijuana to adults therefore makes children LESS safe.

The prohibition *doesn't* make demand for marijuana go away so this demand is met by criminals who sell marijuana to any kid with money. It is outrageous for the federal government to impose a law on the American people that causes more harm than good! The federal marijuana prohibition doesn't prevent marijuana use but does make children less safe and does cause the arrest of 850,000 people every year and does empower the Mexican drug cartels, providing them with the incentive and ability to brutally murder 10,000 people every year.

In this year of reelection, it's plain to see that the old adage of "in a democracy, people get the government they deserve" is simply not true because although a majority of Americans want legal adult marijuana sales, each of the top three presidential candidates (Romney, Gingrich and Obama) oppose legalizing marijuana. This year the people of America will *not* get the government they deserve.

maryjanesuncle
maryjanesuncle

Welcome to LEAP!

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies. Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal market.

Bryonte
Bryonte

can you repeat that a million times to the whitehouse pls.. great comment

joeyrockx
joeyrockx

Thats what's up, nice job feds. That's what happens you piss on the citizens and then tell them "duhh its just rain, its all for your safety".

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