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United States Government Politics

Sean Parker Contributes $9 Million As States Push To Legalize Marijuana (gazettenet.com) 255

Sean Parker has now donated nearly $9 million in his effort to legalize marijuana in California. An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes Billboard: Whether it's founding Napster, guiding Facebook or investing in Spotify, Sean Parker has developed a reputation for pushing change forward, and now he's at the forefront of California's marijuana legalization movement... [A] competing proposal from the Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform was folded into Parker's, making his the leading ballot measure, by default, for 2016 in a state with the largest medical marijuana market in the country.
The U.S currently has a hodgepodge of legislation, with marijuana entirely legal only in Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as in the District of Columbia, and in individual cities in Michigan and Maine. But with five more states now voting on legalization, pro-marijuana campaign ads are being broadcast in Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, California and Arizona. ("You decide who wins -- criminals and cartels, or Arizona schools?") And meanwhile, Slashdot reader schwit1 has identified one voter who's definitely opposing police efforts to hunt down marijuana growers: All that remains of the solitary marijuana plant an 81-year-old grandmother had been growing behind her South Amherst home is a stump and a ragged hole in the ground... Tucked away in a raspberry patch and separated by a fence from any neighbors, the [medicinal] plant was nearly ready for harvest when a military-style helicopter and police descended on Sept. 21...
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Sean Parker Contributes $9 Million As States Push To Legalize Marijuana

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  • by DatbeDank ( 4580343 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:02AM (#53046435)
    As my username suggests, this news be dank! The sooner we take a leg out of the narco/DEA racket the better.
  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:03AM (#53046443) Journal

    Oh wait.. nevermind, we like his position. Money in politics is good again.

    • by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @08:10AM (#53046735)

      Oh wait.. nevermind, we like his position. Money in politics is good again.

      Getting money out of politics might (might) enable us to have laws based on science and reasoning, rather than propaganda and hysteria. The alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries all contribute and lobby hard to protect their businesses. At least people like Mr. Parker provide a countervailing force. Wanting to get money out of politics is not the same as wanting to do it unilaterally.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        You also forget the major organised crime drug dealers and their money laundering banks, laundering billions and taking a percentage. In reality they are the people skulking in the background keeping the drugs they profit from illegal because once legal they lose that profit. Now that is serious money and seriously debauched parties (they require evidence to take down any politician who accepts their money only to betray them) and serious pay to speak scams. Crime at the highest levels with collusion betwe

        • You also forget the major organised crime drug dealers and their money laundering banks, laundering billions and taking a percentage. In reality they are the people skulking in the background keeping the drugs they profit from illegal because once legal they lose that profit. Now that is serious money and seriously debauched parties (they require evidence to take down any politician who accepts their money only to betray them) and serious pay to speak scams. Crime at the highest levels with collusion between those banks, organised crime gangs, terrorist organisations, certain three letter US government agencies and specific corrupted politicians to keep it all going and no one prosecuted.

          Oh, I know quite a bit about that. Gary Webb told us something about that as I recall. And HSBC's troubles were more recent. But yes, it's a good point to make. Things are not all that they seem.

        • Several of the biggest opponents in California AGAINST legalization were drug dealers. They too want to protect their revenue stream.
  • This is the problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by houghi ( 78078 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:12AM (#53046469)

    I am all for legalizing it.The issue I have is that people buy the laws. Because that way you end up in a pissing contest where only the rich decide what becomes law.

    • Welcome to the oligarchy that is our world.

    • I am all for legalizing it.The issue I have is that people buy the laws. Because that way you end up in a pissing contest where only the rich decide what becomes law.

      The money only buys advertising. It can raise visibility and work to convince voters, but it can't ultimately buy anything the voters oppose. If you want to bypass the voters' will, you need to focus on backroom negotiations and parliamentary tricks. Money can be useful there -- though it isn't strictly necessary -- but not open money like this.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:12AM (#53046473) Journal
    Marijuana should be decriminalized to separate it from being grouped with cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, etc. ...at least in the minds of our youth.

    When we were growing up, it was all dope to our parents and probably misleadingly associated with the same risk assessment. It seems clear, even to the opponents of legalization, that this is not the case.

    • Caffeine, the drug we give to children specifically to make them high, is the real gateway drug.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Criminalizing marijuana actually *contributes* to the gateway phenomenon by creating a false equivalence between marijuana and other drugs. People end up using marijuana relatively harmlessly and then discount the dire warnings given in equal measure to marijuana and all other drugs.

      Since almost no single drug used casually for the first time results in catastrophe, they then begin to believe that occasional use of other drugs which have a greater intrinsic risk profile are equally harmless. They lied to

  • Good for him (Score:4, Insightful)

    by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Monday October 10, 2016 @07:33AM (#53046569) Homepage Journal
    He's putting his money where his mouth is.

    However I would be more sympathetic to the pot movement in general if they were at least demonstrably more honest than the people who want to keep it outlawed. The notion that schools will benefit immensely seems to be a slightly more realistic version of the old claim that legalized sale of pot would generate $599 godzillion in tax revenue per picosecond to the end of eternity. The problem with either claim is that it assumes that legalization would cause people to want to buy at retail what they and their friends could grow in their backyard.

    (there are other dishonest claims from the pro-pot camp but this one directly ties to the summary)
    • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Informative)

      by The-Ixian ( 168184 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @08:06AM (#53046717)

      You know... I could grow tomatoes in my back yard... but I don't... I buy them at retail.

      • You know... I could grow tomatoes in my back yard... but I don't... I buy them at retail.

        The operative word here being "could". Why shouldn't we be allowed to grow tomatoes, or even cannabis?

      • Hell, I *do* grow tomatoes in my backyard and still buy them at retail.

        Sometimes you just can't grow enough, or a crop doesn't do that well, or you're looking for the purple ones you didn't grow.

        People like the OP seem to imply that all you need to do to garden is throw seeds in the ground and wait. It's a lot harder than that, and a lot more work then you'd think haha.

    • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Interesting)

      by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @08:29AM (#53046851)

      He's putting his money where his mouth is. However I would be more sympathetic to the pot movement in general if they were at least demonstrably more honest than the people who want to keep it outlawed. The notion that schools will benefit immensely seems to be a slightly more realistic version of the old claim that legalized sale of pot would generate $599 godzillion in tax revenue per picosecond to the end of eternity. The problem with either claim is that it assumes that legalization would cause people to want to buy at retail what they and their friends could grow in their backyard. (there are other dishonest claims from the pro-pot camp but this one directly ties to the summary)

      It's happening right now:

      http://www.denverpost.com/2016/05/26/marijuana-sales-tax-revenue-huge-boon-for-colorado-cities/

      People buy beer even though they can brew it at home.

      • He's putting his money where his mouth is. However I would be more sympathetic to the pot movement in general if they were at least demonstrably more honest than the people who want to keep it outlawed. The notion that schools will benefit immensely seems to be a slightly more realistic version of the old claim that legalized sale of pot would generate $599 godzillion in tax revenue per picosecond to the end of eternity. The problem with either claim is that it assumes that legalization would cause people to want to buy at retail what they and their friends could grow in their backyard. (there are other dishonest claims from the pro-pot camp but this one directly ties to the summary)

        It's happening right now:

        http://www.denverpost.com/2016... [denverpost.com]

        Those numbers are not even in the least bit close to what the pot propagandists claimed would be instantly and eternally realized in tax revenue. Sure, it is greater than zero but it is not the huge numbers they promised.

        People buy beer even though they can brew it at home.

        That isn't even close to the same thing. Marijuana needs almost nothing to grow beyond what dandelions or any other plant need. I've seen plenty of places where it has grown by accident. You can't make beer by accident, you have to set out to make it. There are other spirits that can

        • Those numbers are not even in the least bit close to what the pot propagandists claimed would be instantly and eternally realized in tax revenue. Sure, it is greater than zero but it is not the huge numbers they promised.

          Okay, so some of them were wrong. Cities and towns are still getting more tax revenue, so what's the problem?

          People buy beer even though they can brew it at home.

          That isn't even close to the same thing. Marijuana needs almost nothing to grow beyond what dandelions or any other plant need. I've seen plenty of places where it has grown by accident. You can't make beer by accident, you have to set out to make it. There are other spirits that can be made by accident but beer isn't one of them.

          People are manifestly buying instead of growing in Colorado (and other states). Your position is contradicted by current reality. Sure, some people will grow it for themselves. But that's not preventing the governments from reaping more tax revenue. Like I said, we don't have to speculate; it's happening right now.

        • Re:Good for him (Score:5, Interesting)

          by swb ( 14022 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @10:13AM (#53047575)

          Have you ever tried "wild" marijuana? It's truly only useful as a fiber source.

          A friend has a wild marijuana plant in his back yard that comes up every year -- he does nothing to cultivate it, it just reseeds itself every year. One year I tried what looked like the best part of it and it was awful. Not even remotely stoned. It can be relatively easy to grow moderately good marijuana, but it requires active cultivation -- you can't dump the seeds in the ground and come back 3 months later and expect anything useful for smoking.

          And in terms of tax revenue, you have to remember the best government spending benefit of marijuana is from not enforcing marijuana prohibition. Billions of dollars are spent specifically on marijuana enforcement, especially in places with widespread outdoor cultivation.

          Every dollar *not* spent on marijuana enforcement has a benefit greater than the equivalent tax increase resulting in an addition of a dollar of revenue. For one, there's zero economic penalty from repurposing existing tax revenue -- a tax increase has an additional drag on the economy greater than the additional revenue raised. It's like suddenly not having to pay your utilities anymore -- you didn't get a raise or incur the costs of taking a more demanding job, but you suddenly have more money to spend without working any harder to do it.

          Look at Denver -- $29 million in tax revenue from marijuana -- positive revenue that they would have never collected in addition to the significant amount of tax revenue they would already collect that they no longer need to spend on marijuana prohibition enforcement.

          I hope someone is working hard on actually quantifying the cost savings from not enforcing marijuana prohibition, although I suspect law enforcement probably doesn't want it known. If it was a *really* large number, they look bad for opposing legalization and essentially wasting money on a hopeless cause. Even a semi-large number could invite people to ask questions about law enforcement effectiveness. If your boss removed 5 hours of work from your responsibilities per week but your net productivity on other tasks didn't improve, it could prove embarrassing.

        • by Rande ( 255599 )

          What about all the tax money we're saving by not locking them up now?

          • What about all the tax money we're saving by not locking them up now?

            That is another argument that is generally lacking in honesty. Are there a lot of people in jail for possessing or using pot? Unquestionably, yes there are. The question though is how did they get arrested? They did something that attracted the attention of law enforcement. They did something that warranted a search or somehow gave away the fact that they had or used contraband. I have never heard of anyone getting arrested for smoking pot at home so long as they committed no other offense that caused

    • However I would be more sympathetic to the pot movement in general if they were at least demonstrably more honest than the people who want to keep it outlawed.

      Agreed. My beef with them is the whole "medical marijuana" movement. I don't have a problem with people smoking pot as long as no one gets hurt. I think it is a stupid thing to do but it's clearly less harmful than lots of other perfectly legal activities. I also don't have a problem with people using pot to treat legitimate medical conditions provided there is actual scientific (not anecdotal) trials evidence of efficacy for the condition. There seems to be clear evidence that pot can be a useful trea

      • by dryeo ( 100693 )

        Well perhaps with decriminalization/legalization we can get some scientific studies. Currently it is very hard for researchers to study the medical effects of marijuana due to the laws

      • To be fair here, the "legal cover to use pot when they clearly have no actual medical condition" also covers a vast majority of the people prescribed Oxy/Hydrocodone for pain relief.

        Pain is pain, and when you can mediate it people live a bit better with it. Unless of course you believe that 'pain' is a 'nonsense medical condition', but I can tell you the medical community doesn't think so based upon how many people are being medicated for it.

        • Pain is pain, and when you can mediate it people live a bit better with it. Unless of course you believe that 'pain' is a 'nonsense medical condition', but I can tell you the medical community doesn't think so based upon how many people are being medicated for it.

          There are numerous and demonstrably effective treatments for pain which are perfectly legal. The use of pot "to treat pain" is a really nice way to pretend you have a condition when you don't since it isn't provable with current technology. I have seen no evidence that most if not all pot users would not be equally or better treated with other medicines if they genuinely are experiencing physical pain. Let's be frank. The number of people with medical marijuana cards hugely exceeds the number of people

      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

        I don't have a problem with people smoking pot as long as no one gets hurt. I think it is a stupid thing to do

        Out of interest, do you think drinking alcohol is a stupid thing to do?

        • Out of interest, do you think drinking alcohol is a stupid thing to do?

          Without putting too fine a point on it, as a general proposition yes I do think drinking alcohol is a stupid thing to do. Usually harmless but not rational or a smart thing to do. There are some pretty tragic downsides to drinking recreationally and the only meaningful up side is that it apparently makes people feel good. I don't really see much benefit in taking drugs that make you stupid, clumsy, and potentially a danger to others no matter how good they taste or how good they make you feel. If people

          • by jez9999 ( 618189 )

            Well I disagree that it's dumb. People do things all the time just to feel good. No really, JUST to feel good. They don't learn anything, they don't help anyone... anything. Like eating chocolate, or horse riding, or reading fiction, or watching movies, or masturbation, to name a few. Unless you think they should all be banned, I fail to see why THEY'RE ok for feeling good, but vaping some pot isn't. The principle is identical.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      However I would be more sympathetic to the pot movement in general if they were at least demonstrably more honest than the people who want to keep it outlawed.

      I agree that some in the marijuana legalization camp are prone to over-promoting the medical value of marijuana, which is little understood and could vary between being moderately useful to extremely beneficial but is best categorized honestly as "don't really know because prohibitionists won't even let us run studies". But the real intellectual dishonesty in marijuana legalization comes from opponents who make a false safety argument -- basically, because marijuana isn't as neutral as purified water, it i

    • The problem with either claim is that it assumes that legalization would cause people to want to buy at retail what they and their friends could grow in their backyard.

      Just look at the Netherlands. People buy it legally, it's a very big business despite it also being available on the street. Best thing is when you buy it legally you also know exactly what you get.

  • I think that marijuana is going to be the sequel to tobacco. Smoking different stuff isn't healthier. Around the 2030s we will probably see lung cancer and throat cancer go up again along with everything else as the second anti-smoking campaign begins. Or, you know, we could just try to stop it now.
    • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

      by kilfarsnar ( 561956 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @08:45AM (#53046943)

      I think that marijuana is going to be the sequel to tobacco. Smoking different stuff isn't healthier. Around the 2030s we will probably see lung cancer and throat cancer go up again along with everything else as the second anti-smoking campaign begins. Or, you know, we could just try to stop it now.

      Do some research. Pot smoking is not linked to lung cancer or COPD.

      https://www.hellomd.com/health-wellness/marijuana-found-to-shrink-aggressive-brain-cancer

      In fact, marijuana has been shown to have an anti-tumor effect. From the linked article:

      In addition to the recent findings that cannabinoids may be an effective treatment for glioma, researchers have discovered over the years that marijuana may also have powerful anti-tumor effects, which could stop cancer from ever forming in the first place. While the research isn't new, it paved the way for further evaluations of the connection between cannabis and cancer. In one 1996 study, researchers found that lab mice given doses of THC over a two-year period experienced a decrease in the rate of certain cancers and benign tumors in areas such as the pancreas, uterus, testes and mammary tissue.

      More recent research has shed some light on how cannabis produces these effects. According to a 2014 study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, THC acts on cannabinoid cell receptors to inhibit the interactions between them, thus decreasing the risk that cancer will form or interrupting cancer that is already growing. Further research has shown that THC is capable of decreasing the rate of lung cancer cell growth by 50 percent as well as preventing pre-existing cancer from metastasizing throughout the body. Studies have also shown that cannabis is capable of killing brain cancer cells. The anti-cancer benefits of cannabis are extensive and clearly noted, and, when used correctly, can help providers offer powerful cancer treatment without the dangerous and uncomfortable side-effects present in other treatment options."

      Marijuana really is medicine. It just so happens that it's also nice to enjoy recreationally.

      • Those are tissue culture studies. Pretty much anything can be shown to do something good / bad / earthshattering in a tissue culture study. In fact, those are the kind of crappy studies that were used in the 1970's to implicate marijuana as a causative agent for various cancers.

        It is virtually impossible to do decent medical studies on marijuana. You can use Marinol (delta-9-THC) but that isn't marijuana and good luck finding anybody to pay for that.

        While I'm OK with marijuana being completely legal - t

    • by no-body ( 127863 )

      I think that marijuana is going to be the sequel to tobacco. Smoking different stuff isn't healthier. Around the 2030s we will probably see lung cancer and throat cancer go up again along with everything else as the second anti-smoking campaign begins.

      Amateur!

      Ingesting THC from MJ has 5 x the potency compared to smoking. Why is anyone smoking that stuff?

  • There won't be any real progress till it's decriminalized at the federal level. Till then, banks won't get involved fearing account forfeitures and asset freezing - which can happen any time. Once it it's decriminalized however, there will be enormous and swift changes. Big tobacco will swoop in with billions and develop the supply chain, profit and squeeze out or buy up local growers and dispensaries.
  • Escalation? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexo ( 9335 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @08:12AM (#53046749) Journal

    “No,” the trooper said. “Are you escalating? Because if you need a warrant we’ll go get one.”

    So now asking that police follow the law is "escalating"?

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Monday October 10, 2016 @08:12AM (#53046753)
    The schedule I status needs to go. Certain chemicals in marijuana have shown themselves to be the best treatment for specific kinds of seizures, far better than anything currently available, to say nothing of the myriad of other uses. The evidence it has some medical value is insurmountable and being schedule I prevents much of the research that could be helping people while ensuring that grandma gets the full swat experience.

    Getting a realistic categorization based on facts and not propaganda will help to pave the way for legalizing it on the federal level.
    • The problem with this "medical" angle is proper dosage. Marijuana is still a natural product and as such subject to considerable variation in "quality" so to speak. Now, overdosing isn't that big an issue (as far as I know, at least, don't quote me on that), but as with every drug, the perfect use is still using it with a steady, controlled dose per unit.

      This said, I'm all for legislating it, if only to make research in this area possible. There are so many other drugs that should at the very least be de-de

    • With the recent inclusion of Kratom as schedule 1 the idea that we will see any sanity from the Federal govmt should be discarded.
  • This is exactly how the new "people for the people" democracy works: Wealthy people or corporations use money in bribes to influence legislature bypassing unbiased education and disclosures of facts for voters.

    • This is exactly how the new "people for the people" democracy works: Wealthy people or corporations use money in bribes to influence legislature bypassing unbiased education and disclosures of facts for voters.

      This is a ballot measure in California. It's direct democracy. What are you on about?

  • The alcohol lobby does not want the recreational use competing against their alcohol sales and the pharmaceutical lobby does not want the medicinal use competing against their drug sales.

    So much for a free market.

    • You're kidding, right? You can bet your last bong hit that both groups of businesses are covertly and actively following this very closely.

      There's gold in them hills.

    • by dryeo ( 100693 )

      Around here (BC) the private alcohol sellers along with the government alcohol sellers union are really pushing for it, along with them being the legal place to buy. Their theory being they have practice selling stuff to adults only.

  • I don't understand why people don't see that trying to curtail the supply of drugs and locking people up doesn't work. You're never going to convince people who use drugs that they shouldn't. Look how hard it is to get the hardcore cigarette smokers to quit -- our state has the highest tobacco tax in the country, and you basically can't smoke anywhere anymore, and there is still a cohort of people who will do it until they die. It's way less than it was in, say, the 50s where absolutely everyone smoked, but

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