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Multibillionaire investor George Soros backs Proposition 19 [Updated]


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)

soros? isn't he the anti-israel jew?

You people need to put the bong down. Liberalism= mental disorder

Soro's is a Communist and he wants to destroy our society by any means. He is just as evil as the 82+ Congress persons that are Communists. Don't believe it just, then just Google it and read. Democrat Socialists of America merge with Communist in 1983 and they use a Communist Manifesto to destroy our society.


Tell all your friends, relatives, co-workers, neighbors, and anybody else you can communicate with, to VOTE NO ON PROP 19! We cannot afford to have a whole state (and eventual nation) SICK FROM SMOKING GRASS! If and when they figure out how to market a PILL that contains marijuana derivatives that is HARMLESS, then we can support it. Until then, NO WAY! --From somebody who just buried one family member who died of lung cancer and is presently doing all possible to keep another family member alive--both of these people who pot-smokers.

SMOKING POT IS DEADLY. Grow up, accept it, and find another way to "get high." Why don't you take up hiking or biking--and "get high" on Mother Nature; or are you too lazy?

A New Economic Foundation,
Renewable Energy and the Social Contract

We have an opportunity to create a new economic foundation based on renewable natural resources, yielding thousands of green jobs, producing a sustainable replacement for oil and the restoration of social consent and confidence in the body politic. All of that and more made manifest by a stroke of the pen, simply by properly classifying hemp as the medicine and beneficial resource that over 100,000,000 Americans already know it is. Hemp, cannabis is good.

The social benefit of a rational hemp policy would be to restore social consent and confidence in the body politic. Currently, over 100,000,000 Americans have used marijuana and have decided that it is a good thing, not dangerous and should be free, not used to ruin peoples lives by arrest, confiscation and disenfranchisement. Thinking people do their own research and many times conclude that the laws against marijuana are arbitrary, unjust, wrong and that the only people who support them are either uninformed or their jobs depend upon the mandatory acceptance of marijuana prohibition. This is the true silent majority, citizens who think that the marijuana laws are irrational and are afraid of persecution and discrimination if they express their opinions publicly.

Industrial hemp production could provide a domestic and renewable source of fuel, fiber and jobs. Hemp can be grown, produced and processed all across the land by thousands of urban farmers using land, lots, parks and public lands lying fallow and unused. These green jobs are about the growing, harvesting and processing of locally grown organics for food and fuel and could constitute the bedrock of a truly independent economy, intrinsically secure, renewable and stable, sustainable and most importantly doable.

The benefits of a rational hemp policy are financial, social and moral.
The economic impact of is three fold; first is the creation of Jobs based on a sustainable, clean source of fuel, fiber and medicine, estimated at over One Trillion dollars. Good jobs that produce energy and tax revenue that can not be exported.
The second is the savings to taxpayers by eliminating the money spent on law enforcement, the courts and prisons, estimated at over 8 billion a year. The third is the cost to individuals and families who are criminalized by a system that encourages law enforcement to arrest people, fine them, confiscate their property, and disenfranchise them from the vote, healthcare, professional licenses and credit. This cost is measured in the billions of dollars. All totaled the war on marijuana and the lost opportunities to develop hemp; combined with the needless suffering of those persecuted is over 2 Trillion dollars a year.
The moral benefit is simple; the truth will set us free.

We need to decriminalize marijuana and repel the effects of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act to restore the production, development and use of the most sustainable, renewable natural resource recorded in history. Hemp production can replace the use of oil as a fuel quickly, efficiently and at low cost. Hemp is a renewable crop that can be grown on land not used for food, improving the land and providing a carbon neutral source of fuel. Hemp production and processing will create jobs all across the land while providing a local and domestic source of energy.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes is the oldest and most universally documented use of any substance in medical history. 13 states have decided that marijuana is a beneficial plant and it is time allow and encourage the use and investigation of medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

Hemp production was the economic foundation of colonial America because it was readily grown and used for over 25,000 different purposes; Hemp was grown for sails, rope, oil for lamps, clothing and high quality paper. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper by Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of hemp for commerce, medicine and recreation. George Washington was one of the largest hemp growers in the colonies and the renewable income produced by this plant sustained our first president and his family before, during and after the revolution. It is fair to say that the spirit to be free and independent was made possible by the ability of our fore fathers to be economically independent and free. Hemp production was the backbone of liberty, freedom and economic independence for colonial America and could once again be the keystone of a renewable, sustainable and yes, Independent economy.

Soros is backing the right horse on this one. I'm praying for freedom to return to the U.S. legalize, regulate and tax. Let personal responsibility, rather than the fascist nanny state be the order of the day for our kids.

I don't trust Soros for a minute, but if you legalize marijuana then you take the air out of the sails of the illegal drug market (as far as marijuana is concerned) and you stop the arrests of hundreds of people for small amounts of weed! You can't do that with every street drug but marijuana is on par with alcohol, which is legal.

Soros needs to keep his nose out of our business and the way we run our country and go buy up banana republics to satisfy his need for domination. He turned against his own people in Germany and will subjugate us as well.

my heroes......u guys just bought yourselves into history books...thank you guys.

People in Calif. who back this are so stupid. Once its legal there will be a tax and agents to over see and make sure this tax is paid, which drives cost up. If you don't pay the tax you will go to jail. Its a way also to control your lives more by big brother. And for you party people the cost you pay now, well it will increase by 4-times or more, the same way alcohol went up. Good luck with your discision.

I can't stand Soros, but for once, I am in complete agreement with him. Prohibition is a proven failure!

To Cliff Middleton, with his "homegrowngreens" efforts:
You may be KIDDING YOURSELF but you are not kidding the ADULTS and people with a BRAIN in the audience. The fact that you have to lump "hemp" & "sustainable/green/blahblah nonsense" in with this issue of legalizing POT-SMOKING shows that you are disingenuous and dishonest about what is really at stake.

Have said it before and will continue to say it until it is heard by as many people as possible: SMOKING POT CAUSES LUNG CANCER AND OTHER SERIOUS HEALTH PROBLEMS, AS WELL AS MANY SOCIAL ILLS. Anyone who disbelieves this can consult the search engines and find the TRUTH, but you will have to "weed" through (pun intended) all the LIES and DISTORTIONS and FALSE RESEARCH out there to find it.

Wait till you contract LUNG CANCER and then come back and tell us how wonderful smoking pot is!

To the commenter so keen to spread his fear mongering lies: you need to take Reefer Madness off of repeat, quit playing with your Ronald Reagan sex toys, and put up some actual facts. I "put the pipe down" years ago to go to work and provide for myself. I am a functioning, productive member of society, capable of making rational decisions. I am impassioned about this issue because it is overwhelmingly, ABUNDANTLY clear that marijuana prohibition does far more harm than good. You have no right to impose your sick brand of social conservatism on the way I choose to lead my life.

One more thing: the same scruples that keep me from getting drunk and driving a car, going to work, or interacting with children apply to marijuana as well. The only reason you can't seem to get that through your head is because years of disinformation have driven you to believe that "potheads" are as evil as the drug you seem to hate so much.

Thanks alot Soros for trying to help it pass.

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