California's marijuana legalization measure, Proposition 19, got a deep-pocketed supporter this week when billionaire George Soros announced a $1 million gift to boost the pro-pot ballot initiative.
"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 in an op-ed piece Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal. The liberal financier and philanthropist was also a backer of the 1996 measure that legalized medical marijuana in the state.
In his op-ed, Soros argued that legalizing and taxing marijuana would save taxpayers the costs of incarceration and law enforcement while raising revenue.
The $1 million will be used for get-out-the-vote efforts and TV advertising, said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a drug legalization advocacy group.
The Associated Press reports
that Prop. 19 advocates have raised about $3.8 million, including the Soros donation. Those opposed to it have raised about $300,000.