WeedMaps has made a lot of money off of the marijuana industry. A lot of quotes and estimates I've seen puts their profits well into the tens of millions of dollars a year. WeedMaps values marijuana reform, and they are putting their money where their mouth is. According to SFGate, WeedMaps has donated $1,000,000 towards a yet-to-be named marijuana legalization effort, and another $1,000,000 into a political action committee fund:
One of California's largest marijuana-related apps is donating $2 million toward the drive to legalize weed in the state --- a move that not only would vastly expand its customer base but also foreshadows an expected increase in political activity from the cannabis industry.
Orange County dispensary-locating startup WeedMaps.com contributed $1 million Friday to a campaign committee called Californians for Sensible Reform, which will back what it feels will be the strongest marijuana legalization measure on the 2016 ballot. The company will also put another $1 million in a political action committee called Californians for Sensible Reform PAC that supports weed-friendly candidates.
"We're doing it because legal adult use of marijuana is inevitable. California has always an innovator and we're falling behind other states," WeedMaps founder Justin Hartfield told The Chronicle Friday. "We wanted to do it to make a statement that we're serious about this."
I text Justin as soon as I heard the news, and thanked him for supporting reform. I told him I am extremely excited about what WeedMaps is doing and that I would support their cause as much as I could. I agree with Justin, California has always been an innovator in the cannabis world, and that California has fallen behind. I have said for a very long time that it's going to take upwards of $20,000,000 to run a comprehensive, effective campaign in California, and that's in addition to an untold amount of volunteer hours from people.
This WeedMaps donation is the first in what I hope to be many sizable donations towards one collective effort to end marijuana prohibition in California. I'd like to see WeedMaps lead the way on polling, and to field several versions of initiatives to see which one polls the best, and go from there. An initiative can have strong financial backing, but if it's written poorly, it will be doomed.
If WeedMaps (and others united with them) can get solid polling results and package it with a big pile of cash, I hope to see people and organizations from inside and outside of California, and inside and outside of the cannabis industry, make significant donations. I want to see successful dispensaries step up, and national organizations and wealthy individuals step up too. The SFGate article mentioned names like billionaire Sean Parker. The article claimed that Sean Parker supported the successful Oregon legalization effort. I don't know that that's true, at least not financially, but either way, I hope to see people like him get behind an initiative, along with people like Bill Maher, and other celebrities. Legalization is WAY overdue in California.