With several legalization ballot measures in California, all of them are competing for the attention of rich billionaires in hopes of having a shot at getting their question onto the California 2012 November ballot. The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine campaign just released their finance records that showed they only have $80,000 in cash. They are just one of several cannabis law reform measures that are looking to secure financing.
The numbers for getting any measure on the ballot in California and others states are staggering. They need to have 504,760 valid signatures, meaning in reality they will need at least 750,000 signatures to have that many deemed valid. The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine initiative currently has only 30,000 signatures gathered. Getting that many signatures costs about $1.5 million, but if they wait a few more weeks before the April 20th deadline to get all those signatures, that month is so busy for the signature gathering firms that their prices often quadruple during those weeks, pushing the bill to gather those signatures up to as much as $5 million to get.
With this much at stake, there are a few billionaires that everyone is trying to contact. George Soros, Peter Lewis, Napster co-founder Sean Parker and Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz have all given big in the past to reform efforts. Chris Roberts of the San Francisco Weekly wrote that Peter Lewis was asked by activist Mickey Martin for $1.5 million to fund a legalization measure, his emailed reply was that his research has led him to conclude that the time has not yet come for legalization. A quote from that email, “I believe that if the issue you want to pass isn’t polling well above 60% in favor before the election, there is no chance to pass it. California is not there yet.”
A recent poll showed that California might actually be there. A statewide poll done this week surveyed 800 likely voters and found that 62 percent would vote yes on the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol measure if voting today, with only 3% saying they were unsure. Only 35% said they would vote no. A full 80% of those polled agreed to this statement, “State and federal drug laws are outdated and have failed, therefore, we need to take a new approach that makes sense for today”. The surprising results of the poll have been a boost in the confidence of the groups to court more financial backers now. Those numbers are similar to the polling numbers for prop 215 from sixteen years ago, and much higher than Prop 19 was polling at this time.