Facebook Billionaire Sean Parker Writes Huge Check To Legal Marijuana Movement

By McCarton Ackerman 01/15/16

The former Facebook president joins other financial bigwigs in pushing for legal weed.

Sean Parker

Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, has donated some of his sizable fortune to the movement to legalize recreational marijuana adults for adults in California.

Billionaire Sean Parker wrote a $500,000 check to a new committee called Californians to Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana While Protecting Children. State campaign finance records last week confirmed the donation for the organization, which has already received $1.25 million so far. Parker confirmed last November that he would help support the Adult Use of Marijuana Act.

“I’ve been following this issue with great interest for some time,” he said last November to Forbes. “It’s very encouraging to see a vibrant community of activists ... coming together around a sensible reform based measure that protects children, gives law enforcement additional resources, and establishes a strong regulatory framework for responsible adult use of marijuana—one that will yield economic benefits for all Californians.”

The Adult Use of Marijuana Act was also cleared to move forward this week by the state attorney general. In order to qualify for November’s general election, the initiative will need to gather 365,880 signatures, which marijuana activists are confident will happen well before the deadline.

Parker isn’t the only billionaire to make major contributions to the marijuana industry. George Soros has donated about $25 million focusing on decriminalizing pot and reforming marijuana laws. Among his biggest contributions is $1 million for the Drug Policy Alliance’s initiative for Proposition 19 in California in 2010, which had the goal of regulating and taxing cannabis. Soros also donated $400,000 in 2007 to the Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy, which successfully pushed to decriminalize having an ounce or less of pot in Massachusetts.

Insurance billionaire Peter Lewis, who died in 2013, donated roughly $40 million throughout his life to the cause of legalizing medical marijuana. Dustin Moskovitz, Irwin Jacobs and Peter Thiel are among the other billionaires who have donated to marijuana reform campaigns.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.