Billionaire Activists, Pot Industry Raise Millions in Push to Legalize Marijuana

Activist billionaires Sean Parker and George Soros and companies hoping to profit from legalizing marijuana in California have helped this year’s campaign for Proposition 64 raise close to $16 million, about four times the amount spent on a failed effort in 2010.

Napster co-founder, Sean Parker, General Partner of Founders Fund, talks at LeWeb 11 event in Saint-Denis, suburbs of Paris, on December 9, 2011. (Credit: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

Napster co-founder, Sean Parker, General Partner of Founders Fund, talks at LeWeb 11 event in Saint-Denis, suburbs of Paris, on December 9, 2011. (Credit: ERIC PIERMONT/AFP/Getty Images)

With a week left before voters go to the polls, the campaign to legalize recreational marijuana use is leading in surveys and has a massive fundraising lead over the opposition, which has brought in a little more than $1.6 million.

Observers say the outpouring of cash for the initiative is, in part, due to recognition by the national movement against marijuana prohibition that this may be the best chance in years to pass legalization in California, which could spark similar changes in other states.

One reason: The presidential election may draw more younger, liberal voters. In addition, legalization proponents who have differed on approach in the past have come together this year to support Proposition 64.

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