Marijuana Mogul and Activist Bankrolls California's Prop 19


According to ABC News, of the more than $3 million put up to support California's Proposition 19 ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, half the money came from one man, Richard Lee, the Oakland entrepreneur behind a medical marijuana dispensary, nursery and other pot-related businesses. A young man who flew ultralight planes and loved motorcycles, Lee made the legalization of marijuana his life cause after a 1990 fall left him paralyzed from the waist down. Medicinal pot, illegal at the time, served to dampen the back spasms as he sat in his wheelchair, he told the San Francisco Chronicle. For supporters, legalization would end what they term a hypocritical ban on a drug less harmful than alcohol. They claim it would cut law-enforcement costs, raise tax revenue and make it harder for children to get marijuana. Supporters include the California branch of the NAACP, the state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union, the California Young Democrats, the Republican Liberty Caucus, the California Council of Churches and several big labor unions. For opponents, Proposition 19 represents a threat to public safety, violates federal law and drug-free workplace rules, and wouldn't generate much tax revenue at all. Critics include Mothers Against Drunk Driving; most law-enforcement groups; all major-party candidates for governor, state attorney general and U.S. Senate; the California League of Cities; the California State Association of Counties; and business groups. California is such an interesting state politically. Regardless of whether the sticky icky is legalized, the debate has definitely been advanced.

Read more at ABC News.

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