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Multibillionaire investor George Soros backs Proposition 19 [Updated]

http://www.swamppolitics.com/news/politics/blog/assets_c/2008/09/George%20Soros%20use%20this%20small-thumb-425x283.jpg

George Soros, the multibillionaire investor who helped bankroll three initiatives to change drug laws in California, endorsed the marijuana legalization initiative Monday and plans to make a major financial contribution to the campaign.

Soros, who invested $3 million in the medical marijuana initiative and two other measures, made his announcement in an opinion piece published online by the Wall Street Journal. "Proposition 19 already is a winner no matter what happens on election day. The mere fact of its being on the ballot has elevated and legitimized public discourse about marijuana and marijuana policy in ways I could not have imagined a year ago," Soros wrote.  The article is scheduled to appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Soros, who runs a hedge fund and founded the Open Society Foundations, has not yet donated to the campaign. But Michael Vachon, an advisor to Soros, said that "he plans to make a significant contribution."

       Related: L.A. Sheriff will enforce pot laws even if Prop. 19 passes.

The initiative was the brainchild of Richard Lee, an Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur who has spent at least $1.5 million to draft the measure, collect signatures to qualify it for the ballot and pay for a campaign. The wealthy donors who have helped to pay for past efforts to change California’s drug laws had largely stayed out of the campaign until the last few weeks.

Peter B. Lewis, a retired insurance company executive, recently donated $209,005 to the campaign, and George Zimmer, the founder and CEO of Men’s Wearhouse, recently gave $50,000. Both businessmen
supported past initiatives to change the state’s drug laws.

In his opinion piece, Soros said that the nation’s marijuana laws "are clearly doing more harm than good" at a cost of billions of dollars a year "to enforce this unenforceable prohibition."

Soros wrote that regulating and taxing marijuana would reduce the crime and violence linked to criminal drug gangs and violations of civil liberties "that occur when large numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens are subject to arrest." He also noted that minorities are arrested at higher rates for marijuana crimes, creating arrest records that may follow them through life.

Although he endorsed Proposition 19, noting that it would allow recreational use and small-scale cultivation, Soros also suggested "its deficiencies can be corrected on the basis of experience." Besides allowing adults 21 and older to grow and possess marijuana, the initiative would allow cities and counties to authorize commercial cultivation, sales and taxation.

"Just as the process of repealing national alcohol prohibition began with individual states repealing their own prohibition laws, so individual states must now take the initiative with respect to repealing marijuana prohibition laws," Soros wrote.

[Updated: He donate $1 million to help pass Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure, which he endorsed Monday as "a major step forward."

The donation makes Soros, who is the chairman of a hedge fund and who founded the Open Society Foundations, the largest donor to the campaign after Richard Lee, an Oakland medical marijuana entrepreneur, who has spent at least $1.5 million on the measure.]

-- John Hoeffel

Photo: AP

 
Comments () | Archives (264)

Thank you for the support Soros!!

Isn't this a little late?? Where has he been until now?!?

Boxer, Harris and Brown are all against Prop 19. Do not voter for any of those unworthy candidates!!!

I know I wouldn't mind higher taxes if it means keeping our brave Drug Warriors equipped with the best tools science can create.

Come on America, we just haven't thrown enough money at this problem yet!

Don't go wobbly on me now.

Higher Taxes/Bigger Drug War in 2010!!! Restore America's Honor!

This certainly isn't news. It would be news if he didn't back it.

right on Soros!

Well, I hope someone's contacting the financial contributors to the Anti- Proposition 19 groups, to let them know what they're up against. Sad when some super-rich dude wades in and decides to swing an election with money.

But money's what started Prop 19 to begin with; a few rich guys saw $15 Billion dollars circulating thru the pockets of the Californian people, and said "we're diverting that $15 billion into OUR pockets". And, as an aside, we'll give you a flawed initiative, so you'll think YOU got over". Sad how un-informed most U.S. voters are; whoever spends the most on advertising makes people think whatever they want. Also check out http://no-on19.com

too little too late now George?

I hate Soros the hate monger. But this time he is right on the money.

Blessings, kudos, and thank you to Mr. George Soros!

This is such great news. George Soros will be very impressed with all the campaign work that Prop 19 supporters and prison reformers in the UNION did by focusing on voter registration as "Decline to State Party." The 15 day report which is required to be published by the Secretary of State giving the new totals will be published October 29, 2010.

I hope that any advertising emphasizes the preventable death toll and torture taking place in California's prisons and jails due to overcrowding. Due to the media ban this message is so difficult to get out to the public. With the Plata/Coleman appeal coming before the Supreme Court soon, it is important to talk about the overcrowding.

They are carelessly double-celling mentally ill inmates and the results are disastrous. There are major riots taking place at the prisons, a death toll and daily maiming and permanent disabilities. This is torture. I am filing reports with the United Nations on abuses in some of the prisons due to the overcrowding and medical neglect because AG Jerry Brown holds no one accountable for such abuses. He has sold his soul to CCPOA.

I wish there was some money to help Laura Wells of the Green Party get elected since Whitman and Brown are a choice between worse and worse. We will soon know the results of our DTS registration work which went on for months.

Luckily Ca is so broke , they dont have the resources to go after all the medical MJ

Prop 19 adds unnecessary laws for minors 18 t o 21
I dont get the feeling too many city's will allow cannabis if given the choice

just read the news " city council votes to ban cannabis"

I still support prop 19 , even if flawed it could not be any worse than the war on
cannabis

I am in love with this man.

Ten years ago, Portugal had some 100,000 heroin addicts -- about 1 percent of its entire population. HIV infections from injecting drugs were among the highest in Europe.

Now the addict count has been cut nearly in half. HIV infections from drug use have fallen more than 90 percent. And the policy shift responsible for such a dramatic improvement in Portuguese life is something U.S. lawmakers -- watching an escalating drug war on their southern border -- might consider worthy of some attention.

Cannabis + :( = :)

420+:(=:)

Prop 19 is a race for the money. Who is the next billionaire? Richard Lee? Zoros, trillionaire? The corporations are taking over.

Read Prop 19.

(b) Statutes and authorized regulations to further the purposes of the act to establish a statewide regulatory system for a COMMERCIAL CANNABIS INDUSTRY that addresses some or all of the items referenced in Sections 11301 and 11302 of the Health and
Safety Code.
(c) Laws to authorize the PRODUCTION of hemp or nonactive cannabis for horticultural and industrial purposes.

Why am I not suprised....

Everyone who wanted progress MUST go out and vote against the G NO P! The Republicans are accepting $75 million from unknown sources who refuse to reveal themselves. Call it legalized(by the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court) bribery. But it is clear that the Republican agenda is simply to gain power at the expense of the middle class. It was Bush and deregulation of the Banks, mortgage companies, and Wall Street that caused this economic mess. Not even Iron Man could repair it with a snap of the fingers. The Party of NO has sabotaged efforts to improve it just to keep things bad so they could manipulate anger into power. You MUST defeat this cynical, money accepting party from giving back to their corporate sponsors their soul for $$$$ (75 million worth). DO NOT SIT THIS ONE OUT. If you do, EVIL and GREED and EXTREMISTS will prevail! VOTE! Damn it, YOU MUST VOTE!
(COPY AND SPREAD THIS IF YOU AGREE…WHEREVER YOU FEEL IT WILL BE READ AND RECEIVED.)

Everyone who wanted progress MUST go out and vote against the G NO P! The Republicans are accepting $75 million from unknown sources who refuse to reveal themselves. Call it legalized(by the 5 conservative members of the Supreme Court) bribery. But it is clear that the Republican agenda is simply to gain power at the expense of the middle class. It was Bush and deregulation of the Banks, mortgage companies, and Wall Street that caused this economic mess. Not even Iron Man could repair it with a snap of the fingers. The Party of NO has sabotaged efforts to improve it just to keep things bad so they could manipulate anger into power. You MUST defeat this cynical, money accepting party from giving back to their corporate sponsors their soul for $$$$ (75 million worth). DO NOT SIT THIS ONE OUT. If you do, EVIL and GREED and EXTREMISTS will prevail! VOTE! Damn it, YOU MUST VOTE!
(COPY AND SPREAD THIS IF YOU AGREE…WHEREVER YOU FEEL IT WILL BE READ AND RECEIVED.)

Don't tread on me. YES on 19.

All I see is the rich getting richer by smelling opportunity. I'm sure they all have a stake in potential profits from the passage of this law. It's not anything related to civic duty.

Well this should be good news to the leftists that blame America for Mexico's drug wars.
They keep saying it is our fault. If marijuana is legalized the Mexican drug lords should be out of the picture.

About time someone might start to remember that the 21st Amendment worked and America was better for it. This Buds for you.

I despise the man, but for once I am an in agreement with him. And the poll that the Times / USC put out was BS.

 
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