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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)

I beleive that what George Soros is great but legalizing Marijuana isn't going to be as good for the economy as people might think. The most likely thing to happen will be that once the prohibition laws are repealed you will find that the crime rate goes down for a small amount of time and eventually they will increase. This increase will be because of the taxing. You have to think about like someone who uses marijuana they are looking for cheaper prices not taxing. If marijuana gets more expensive people are going to try and steal it or start a black market deal like there already is. So unless the tax is going to be less than 1 dollar good luck getting the crime rates to go down.

George Soros has entirely too much to say, he is another one of those impoverished liberal/democrats who want to take your money and redistribute it to the "poor". Crieria for a liberal........blind stupidity.

George is for it.
It must, therefore, be a terrible thing for America. Just like George.

Is this guy Satan or what? He is consistently on the side of all things evil.
I'll be he was voted most likely to be Anti Christ in High School.

How many more millions has he calculated to make off of legalizing this drug.

of course, get the masses mellowed out, and he and his cronies will be a able to completely enslave them.

You couldn't write a more sinister plot.

There are volumes of laws in the books to counter drugs and gangs. Those laws are not enforced, or rendered null by hungry lawyers.
I think Mr. Soros would love to have the same control over the vending machines of a populus of burnouts looking for munchies that he has over Mr. Obama's teleprompter.

Spooky dude soros doing his best to destroy the USA.

Soros has obviously never dealt with a perscription drug addict and the cost to society and homes because of it. Legalizing marijuana will not solve the problem nor lessen the cost, it will just take it to another arena. I wish Soros would just mind his own business and stop trying to manipulate Americans with his money.

Soros is an agent of evil who's sole intention is the destruction of the American way of life. The legalization of a drug is just another tactic by the enemies of this country to contribute to its downfall. All those who support Soros and his allies are enemies to the US regardless of there name, title, or bank account size.

Is HE going to pay for the higher unemployment rate, automobile and industrial accidents and widespread rehabilitation? NO! This will only lead to the further destruction the United States of America. His reward? Some sort of vindictive and sick satisfaction and immortal infamy. His legacy will be the same as Nero's.

If Soros wants it, it is bad bad bad for Americans.
This Man is the financier of the destruction of America as We know it and promotion of the Socialist Democrat Party. Anything He promotes or is for is to that end only. He is a Public Enemy of the worst order.

Im getting real tired of seeing this creeps commentary on what this Country should do and should not do. He's devalued the currency in more than one country and he is attempting to do it again in the US and were asking him for his opinion on anything....give me a break. He needs to go back to his castle in the Carpathian mountains and leave us alone.

Soros is for anything that would help destroy this country. If Soros supports anything, I would support just the opposite.

We have heard for years that tobacco is bad for us, but blowing pot is okay.

Alcohol has caused enough problems. Why do we need yet another intoxicant?

Soros is wrong. Legalizing marijuana will do more harm than good.

Learn from the mistakes of Alaska. The drug was legalized. In 1990 after the residents saw that children and teens using the drug doubled and they experienced the harmful effects, they voted overwhelmingly to RE-Criminalize it.

Alaska residents are now fighting the ACLU who send lawyers in support of the Pro-Drug user Crowd.

The voters in California need to wise up and see the mess that occurred in Alask and make sure it doesn't happen here.

Protect the future of our kids and grandkids.

Vote NO on 19.

This monster needs to be DEPORTED before he collapses OUR economy the way he did in the U.K.!!!!

There's your answer. If this idiot wants it, it's a bad idea.

And I'm sure this evil man only has our best interest at heart--what a joke.

Maybe he thinks he can accomplish his goals better while the young people are frying their brain cells. One way to keep opposition out of the way.

Of course the Hungarian Marxist would want to legalize weed. His goal is to keep as many of the marginal achievers (and dim-witted voters) as doped up as possible so they are even less aware of how he, his front man Barry Soetoro, and his masters, The Powers That Be, are screwing them. Oh, and while these morons are wandering aimlessly in a drug induced fog, the government will be able to more easily control them and steal their money through taxes on 'legal' weed.

The health risks of using marijuana far outweigh the benefits of legalizing it. Marijuana has medical benefits, see US patents. However, like most drugs they have to be used properly under supervision of a doctor. Marijuana alters a persons psyche and shrinks your brain. Personality changes occur, remembering becomes a problem, routine tasks become burdensome. Paranoia and losing one's way or things become a problem.

The drug laws are not realistic we cannot afford to enforce them and everyone knows it. the drug laws have taken up where welfare left off. the continued bastardization of the kids in this country. and the destruction of the family unit. it does not matter how many people you arrest for drugs there is always in every case a replacement dealer ready to make easy money. no advertisement needed just put the word out and you have a endless customer base, you just have to hit the party scene, who wants a job like that? (every kid in the world wants to party like a rock star) the choice is legalize it or kill offenders. because what we are doing now is not working
this drug war has given rise to the largest crime rings in history. the new mobsters are drug gangs. Legalize it and take there power away. or just keep locking up dads and moms for nonviolent crimes, our taxes cannot sustain this course of action. but being tough on drugs is a great way to get elected

Either way:

Pot is here. Pot is not going away. Think whatever you want, you don't know how much i have grown or how much i will grow in the future.... Damn, people are ignorant.


Are you a communist? if not, then stop being a control freak.

...........so, how much does Soros stand to make on this deal.....??

Finally something I can get on board with this guy over. As a libertarian, I have to agree with his sentiments. For me it is a issue of personal freedom and the massive waste of the war on drugs. The war on drugs has easily done more harm than good. What people do to themselves in the privacy of their own homes is their business, not ours. I love freedom and we can never have enough of it. Unfortunately, that is where Soros and I part. He loves big government control and a nanny state. Why socialists support this measure is unclear to me (it must be a liberal hippie thing) but that doesn't mean that I don't welcome another to the cause.

Soros just wants to further the dumbing down of Americans and move forward with his initiative of global control. He's starting to see people wake up and figure out about him and his Bilderberg Group ilk. Don't be stupid people.

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