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California’s Legalization Movement Gets Generous Donation

Sean Parker, creator of Napster and early investor in Facebook, is giving the California Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) an early Christmas present.

The generous tech billionaire and philanthropist recently announced he will match all donations to MPP, dollar-for-dollar, up to any amount, reported SFGate.

“We’re very excited about the generosity he’s shown,” Mason Tvert, MPP Communications Director, said. “This is someone who wants to see marijuana prohibition end and helped bring a lot of folks together, and now he’s putting his money where his mouth is.”

This is the latest in a series of Parker’s philanthropic acts, which include donations to cancer, diabetes and auto-immune research.

Parker, viewed as the driving force behind California’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), is part of a new generation of wealthy activists supporting such issues as ending mass incarceration and supporting drug reform, said Amanda Reiman, Marijuana Law and Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance.

“This younger generation of activists—many millennials, many entertainers—are feeling less stigma about coming out about this issue. It’s safer,” Reiman said. “Folks our age care about this stuff—some just happen to have billions of dollars.”

California, where voters approved medical pot in 1996 with a 55 percent majority, seems to be on the path to catch up with the country’s four other legal states.

Governor Jerry Brown recently signed a package of bills that will bring California’s billion-dollar medical cannabis industry under a statewide regulatory system, according to the Sacramento Bee.

“This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system,” Brown wrote in a signing statement.

Legalization advocates say it could cost $20 million to complete in California, home of 38 million people.

“This is going to be a very large and very expensive campaign, and so I believe we really need to raise as much money possible to ensure we get it done this coming year,” Tvert said.

With Parker’s generous offer, California legalization is off to the great start.

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