Money and marijuana: Donors with ties to industry give to legalize pot

The Sacramento Bee
by Christopher Cadelago and Jim Miller

Justin Hartfield, former chief executive of a company called Weedmaps, two years ago discussed his plans to legalize marijuana nationwide and make his company the Philip Morris of pot.

“Prohibition is about to pop,” he predicted in The Wall Street Journal. “And the people that were here before, if they’re positioned intelligently, will reap a profit. I think we’re positioned really well.”

Proposition 64’s passage would create a burgeoning new economy in California, from growing operations to delivery services, and those who stand to profit are pitching in to ensure it succeeds. Weedmaps, which helps connect cannabis users with dispensaries, delivery services and doctors, has given $1 million to the fall effort to legalize marijuana in California.

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Is Marijuana the Next Big Tobacco

East Bay Times
by Margaret Lavin

California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use in 1996. In 2010, Proposition 19 would have made California the first state to legalize nonmedical marijuana, but voters defeated the measure by a 53.5-46.5 margin. However, lawmakers will try again. There are two major initiatives that have a very good chance of qualifying for the November ballot due to their financial backing and political support.

Researchers at UC San Francisco (UCSF) recently released a new report that evaluates the retail marijuana legalization proposals in California from a public health standard. According to the study, recreational marijuana will likely lead to a new profit-driven industry similar to Big Tobacco that could impede public health efforts.

Researchers said they began their study with the premise that legalizing marijuana makes sense because its prohibition has caused excessive incarcerations and cost taxpayers too much money. However, they concluded that legalized recreational marijuana would replace a crime problem with a public health issue.

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Researchers Warn Legal Marijuana Could be Next Big Tobacco

Sacramento Bee
by Christopher Cadelago

  • Report from UCSF institute warns about health risks, industry power
  • Researchers wanted measures modeled after Tobacco Control Program
  • Backers of main initiative say report is flawed and measure has safeguards

A ballot proposal legalizing recreational marijuana would likely launch a new profit-driven industry similar to Big Tobacco that could impede public health efforts, according to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco.

The 66-page analysis, released Tuesday, is the first in-depth look at the state’s main effort to legalize recreational marijuana this year.

Researchers said they began with the premise that legalizing marijuana makes sense because its prohibition has put too many people behind bars and cost taxpayers too much money. But they concluded the two potential initiatives they examined would replace a crime problem with a public health issue.

The authors, Rachel Barry and Stanton Glantz, of the UCSF Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education and Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy, said the measure most likely to qualify for the ballot establishes a regulatory system similar to the one used for alcohol. They said it would have been better to pattern the guidelines after the state’s Tobacco Control Program, which they credited with reducing the health effects and costs related to tobacco.

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