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Facebook Billionaires, Dr. Bronner's Kick in on Prop 19 [FEATURE]

The campaign to pass California's Proposition 19, the tax and regulate marijuana legalization initiative, is seeing some good-sized late donations, including contributions from Facebook co-founders Dustin Moskovitz and Sean Parker. Meanwhile, Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps heir David Bronner has kicked in tens of thousands more for a get out the vote effort in the campaign's final weeks. And they're not the only ones making sizeable late donations.

"Yes We Cannabis" fire truck tour supporting Prop 19
Prop 19 would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of pot by adults 21 or older. It would also allow adults to grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana and possess the harvested results. It would give cities and counties the local option to allow, tax, and regulate commercial marijuana sales and cultivation.

The initiative holds a four-point lead in the Talking Points Memo Polltracker average of the 13 polls taken on it so far this year. Prop 19 has 47.4% in the poll average to 43.2% against, with less than 10% undecided. Only three of the 13 polls have shown it losing, but with support under 50%, voter turnout and the undecideds will be critical in achieving victory.

Moskovitz has now contributed a total of $70,000 to Prop 19, while Parker has given $100,000 to a pro-Prop 19 fund controlled by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). David Bronner is giving $75,000 to Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) for a tour of college campuses designed to energize student turnout, and Washington, DC, activist and entrepreneur Adam Eidinger of Capitol Hemp Clothing and Accessories kicked in another $25,000 for the campus tour.

Those aren’t the only big contributions to the cash-strapped campaign, which, despite having raised more than $2.1 million so far, only had $67,000 in the bank as of September 30. But according to late filing reports, in the first few days of this month the campaign got $20,000 from Oakland cannabis entrepreneur Jeff Willcox, a $50,000 donation from Tiburon retiree Stephen Silberstein, $5,000 from Prescription Vending Machines, Inc., and $75,000 from Encino TV producer Kevin Bright. Not counting the Bronner, Eidinger, Parker, and Moskovitz donations, Prop 19 has raised $180,000 so far this month.

"More than any other initiative out there, Prop 19 will stabilize our national security and bolster our state economy," said Moskovitz in a statement explaining his support. "It will alleviate unnecessary overcrowding of nonviolent offenders in our state jails, which in turn will help California residents."

"These donations mean that these guys get it," said Stephen Gutwillig, DPA California director, referring to the Facebook cofounders. "They are members of a generation that has a consensus that the drug war is a massive failure and will never work. These donors have the means to do something about it. We're really thrilled that they're stepping up in the middle of this crucial campaign that is a bellwether in the struggle to create an exit strategy from this disastrous war on marijuana," he said. "Sean Parker and Dustin Moskovitz are pivotal to this work in this election cycle, and we hope in years to come."

DPA will use the money for get out the vote efforts, said Gutwillig. "We'll be focusing on getting young and black and Latino voters to the polls," he explained. "We don't have enough money to mount a TV ad persuasion campaign aimed at undecided voters -- that takes millions of dollars in California. But this is enough money to participate in getting reform-minded voters to the polls, reminding them that Prop 19 is on the ballot and making sure they vote between now and November 2."

If the pro-Prop 19 forces don't have the money for a TV ad campaign, they can take some solace in knowing that the opposition doesn't, either -- at least not yet. The main opposition group, Public Safety First, reported only $54,000 in the bank as of September 30. But the Prop 19 forces are waiting for -- not hoping for -- the other shoe to drop. A late, well-funded negative ad campaign in 2008 helped to defeat a sentencing reform initiative that had been leading in the polls up to that point.

"I'm calling up businesses like ours that I know are socially and environmentally conscious with a simple message, 'Just Say Now;' now is the time to step up support," said Bronner. "Prop 19 will free up police for fighting real crimes and stop renegade cannabis cultivation by gangs that are destroying our national parks. Cannabis prohibition, not the herb itself, has been ruining productive and upstanding citizens' lives with courts and jails for decades," he said.

"I was hoping to trigger more giving with our donation, and the Facebook guys helped, too," said Bronner. "This is just such an important moment; there is so much at stake. It's about being able to promote and get our message across. It's about cannabis, but it's also about freedom," he said.

"This has been pretty under-funded," said Bronner. "Richard Lee put in enough money to get on the ballot, and now it comes to getting out the youth vote. SSDP is well-positioned to drive that and already had a game plan. We're just powering that up," he said.

Late last week, Bronner and SSDP announced the "Sound the Alarm to Vote Yes on Prop 19" tour of California college campuses, complete with Dr. Bronner's promotional fire truck, now known as the "Yes We Cannabis Fire Truck." The tour kicked off in San Diego last weekend, and will crisscross the state in the three weeks until Election Day -- this weekend it will be in the Bay Area for SSDP's regional conference in San Francisco.

"Young voters are the primary victims of the drug war and logically the largest group of supporters of Prop 19," said SSDP executive director Aaron Houston. "We plan to register thousands of students in the next 10 days and help many first time voters develop plans for Election Day. Meshing good old fashioned one-on-one on college campuses with mobile alert technology sums up our strategy to turn out young voters," he added.

SSDP had already planned a get out the vote effort in conjunction with Firedoglake's Just Say Now campaign, but will now expand that effort thanks to the Bronner and Eidinger donations. "We are ramping up our outreach to even more students thanks to the surprise support," Houston said.

It's just three weeks from Election Day. The race is tight. The final push is on, the energy level is high, and late donations can help make the difference.

CA
United States
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The Truth

The truth is that marijuana legalization will lead to a multi-billion dollar a year industry similar to the alcohol industry with all the power in our government that the alcohol industry has to lower their own taxes, and with all the marketing and media influence to glamorize and popularize marijuana among our youth. Marijuana is substantially more concealable than alcohol, which is the reason it is so much more prevalent in our high schools than alcohol. Legalizing it and allowing it to be marketed will increase youth marijuana use beyond that of youth alcohol use, but alcohol use will not decline as a result of it. National marijuana use and national alcohol use do not move in inverse directions, but more in unison with each other. There will be increased substance use influencing the brain development of our youth; development that peaks during adolescence. 

your fantasy of brain

your fantasy of brain development problems for adolescents is just that ..a fantasy.

 

do you truly still advocate incarcerating persons (paramilitary SWATS kicking in the doors , brandishing military death weapons, shooting the dog, terrorizing the children etc, )   for having a medicinal flower in a baggie?   DO YOU REALLY?

 

 do you understand that cannabis has preventative medicinal qualities and that  the euphoric effect is a pleasant side to those effects and that its ok to enjoy both?

 

 cant you just get  over your twisted evil puritanistic neurosis long enough to leave the rest of  us alone to decide how and with what to approach our own bodies and our souvereign beings.

I smoke heaps of pot, have

I smoke heaps of pot, have been for 20 years and have had no ill effects from it. I can't stand alcohol. You can wake up after a night on the pot and still function, alcohol lingers all day (hangover).

What Justifies Prohibition?

I'm glad you've had such a good response to cannabis, David1969. Not everyone does, including myself, at times. But I wonder how much this should factor in to the decision about whether to legalize any substance. We know that cannabis is relatively benign, but shouldn't we (as a society) accept that most people will use responsibly, and that we can live with the consequences of those that don't? Don't we already understand the risks with alcohol and tobacco being legal? By the way, when was the last time you heard anyone, including drug warriors, speaking rabidly about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco in an attempt to impose prohibition(again)?

What Justifies Prohibition?

I'm glad you've had such a good response to cannabis, David1969.

Not everyone does, including myself, at times. But I wonder how much this

should factor in to the decision about whether to legalize any substance. We

know that cannabis is relatively benign, but shouldn't we (as a society) accept

that most people will use responsibly, and that we can live with the

consequences of those that don't? Don't we already understand the risks with

alcohol and tobacco being legal, and generally accept them? 

By the way, when was the last time you heard anyone, including drug warriors, speaking

rabidly about the dangers of alcohol and tobacco in an attempt to impose prohibition(again)?

Malkavian's picture

The actual truth is...

...that there is ALREADY a multi-billion dollar industry . Currently it's run by criminals, benefits cartels and adds funding to other types of crimes. Abroad it even supports the very terrorism that the US is officially fighting against.

YOU just have to decide which solution is preferable: a black market run by criminals or a legit market where some sort of control and taxation is actually possible?

It's that simple.

And to address your concerns: there is something else going on, obviously, because a country like Holland has not only lower overall usage rates, but more importantly the debut age of younger smokers is significantly higher than in the US.

When Portugal decriminalized ALL drugs for personal use in 2001 the debut age for 15-19 year olds fell too. There was a corresponding increase in the next age bracket, suggesting the really young users had abstained during adolescence only to try it out later - which is a huge benefit.

Not only does decriminalization and legalization seem to make these products more boring, but the added possibility of actual control - like carding or punishing companies that do not comply with the law - seems to work a lot better than the glamorizing and lack of seller ethics that prevail on the black market.

Furthermore the evidence suggests that it's much easier to make people who need it go into treatment when the threat of criminal punishment is removed. Currently a lot of people are forced into treatment even if they don't meet any of the criteria for addiction, whereas some honestly seeking treatment can't get it because the treatment facilities are booked completely with fake addicts.

"National marijuana use and

"National marijuana use and national alcohol use do not move in inverse directions, but more in unison with each other."

Cross-market elasticity dictates otherwise.  Besides, I'd rather have my kids smoking pot than drinking.

The Real Truth

Don't be fooled by "the truth".  Drug dealers, don't ask for ID they make it much easier for your children to get a hold of marijuana.  The reason it's more prevalent in our High Schools is because Drug Dealers & the violent gangs behind them DON'T ID. 

I would agree with most of

I would agree with most of the above comments except the one about brain development. I would not even suggest an adolescent to experiment with intoxicants. They should experiment with personal relations first. Anyways regulating and ending the prohibition of marijuana is a scary ideal to many people . I can relate ; when i had a day layover in Amsterdam I sought out the coffee shops. And it was a little over whelming the openness to the marijuana and sex shops. It felt as though there was lawlessness. If Prop 19 passes and other states will follow it will take a generation to fully accept it into society.

I agree

that it may take a generation before marijuana is "fully" accepted into society, however it will enter the mainstream in a very significant way much sooner than that, maybe in ten years. As with alcohol, prior to the ending of prohibition there existed a cultural acceptance principally among its many users. The lifting of the ban led to widespread acceptance because there was no longer any law with which to stigmatize the drug's users. This occurred nationally, and all at once, whereas the ending of marijuana prohibition will happen in a piecemeal fashion, at least for the first phase. The movement toward complete legalization will build gradually, gaining strength as more states decide to follow in California's footsteps. Stay tuned.

Donations

uhz4xI'd like to say for the record that the $25,000 donation from Capitol Hemp to SSDP, is 50% from my business partner Alan Amsterdam. This was one of the biggest donations I've ever made to any cause because I firmly believe we stand on the edge of victory and I don't want to look in the mirror late on November 2nd and think I didn't do everything I can do end cannabis prohibition. 

I applaud the founders of Facebook and other business leaders for their donations, but I feel compelled to point out the Facebook donation is a tiny fraction of their personal wealth.  I'm a middle class guy, not a millionaire or even close.  I don't even have a bathtub in my house! 

While Capitol Hemp is fortunate to have the means to donate  a large sum at a time when many people face serious economic challenges, the attention we have gotten should in NO WAY DEVALUE the small donations made by thousands to make cannabis a human right.  If everyone chips in what they can we are going to win. 

To the small donor, I Salute You!

To person with no money, but who gives their time, I Salute You!

To the grower or dispensary operator who won't embrace the civil rights that will be gained for Californians and possibly all Americans, I pity your fear of change and beg you to reconsider and step up support before the fight is over.

Onwards,

Adam Eidinger

Vote yes on Prop 19!

Damper on drug cartels

Legalizing cannabis and passing Prop 19 hopefully will put a  damper on drug cartels. If we can get just that help, it would be good.  Though because marijuana is not the only drugs that are smuggled, they will just focus more on the others.

Malkavian's picture

Supply and demand


They would, of course, have to focus on what's left of the black drug market. But will people buy? That's really the question. My view is that the supply largely mirrors the demand, and if more people wanted the so-called "hard drugs" they'd already be getting them already. It's actually amazing that so much effort goes into the illicit production and trafficking of marijuana given its less-than-optimal physical properties.

One Zogby poll (also mentioned here on stopthedrugwar.org ) found that even if legalized these "hard drugs" would only attract 0.6% ("yes") and 0,4% ("maybe"). So there's just going to be an upper limit to how well anyone can "push" these substances on others when they don't want it - legal or not.

There are similar benefits to be realized by making all drugs legal - in some areas it would, as opposed to cannabis legalization, really save lives by ensuring predictable, high-quality drugs. For all the BS perpetrated by cartels and gangs they just haven't found a way to make cannabis tainted in such a way that it kills, which is more than can be said for Ecstasy, cocaine, heroin and other synthetics. It's not politically viable at this time, of course, but that's a question of selfish job security concerns by politicians and not a question of truth.

Benefits of Cannabis Legalization

"There are similar benefits to be realized by making all drugs legal - in some areas it would, as opposed to cannabis legalization, really save lives by ensuring predictable, high-quality drugs."

 

High quality drugs?? Medical Cannabis  hopes to prolong "suffering" lives from the many ailments it helps.  See the thing is that education is missing.  Patients,dispensaries have to now have security guards in them, but they mostly do not have an educational component, which is what's needed. 

http://veterans-for-cannabis.org

The Children

Remember, nothing says "I care about the children!" like supporting laws that can get them AIDS-raped in prison.

For the Healing of the Nations

Marijuana , aka, Cannabis is defined as a tall Asiatic herb. It has been used for thousands of years for food, clothing, shelter, energy, paper, medicine, sacrament, etc. etc. Popular Mechanics called it a Billion dollar crop in 1938 because of its many  uses. Cannabis is undoubtable the number one plant on the planet. See Jack Herers , the Emperor Wears No Clothes about the history of hemp. This is about freedom in supposedly the freest country in the world. Vote yes . one love Jeff Brown

That's a wonderful point you make, Jeff.

Alcohol is similar in some ways, with one important exception: Cannabis IS the product, or if it's hemp it's only one, or a few steps away from its incorporation into something else. Alcohol requires something (like corn) to ferment with, and then you've your product. This takes time and energy. Also, as you indicated, there are so many more uses for cannabis/hemp, thus the economic levers for adoption will likely be very strong.

That's a wonderful point you make, Jeff.

Alcohol is similar in some ways, with one important exception: Cannabis IS the product, or if it's hemp it's only one, or a few steps away from its incorporation into something else. Alcohol requires something (like corn) to ferment with, and then you have your product. This takes time and energy. Also, as you indicated, there are so many more uses for cannabis/hemp, thus the economic levers for adoption will likely be very strong.

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