Soros Gives $1 Million to Back California Marijuana Legalization

Billionaire investor George Soros gave $1 million to support passage of marijuana legalization in California a week before the election, after polls showed the proposal losing steam with likely voters.

“Regulating and taxing marijuana would simultaneously save taxpayers billions of dollars in enforcement and incarceration costs, while providing many billions of dollars in revenue annually,” Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management LLC, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed article today.

Soros donated $1 million to the “Drug Policy Action Committee to Tax and Regulate Marijuana - Yes on Prop. 19,” according to a filing posted on the California Secretary of State’s website. Soros’s spokesman, Michael Vachon, confirmed the contribution.

Proposition 19, a referendum on the Nov. 2 ballot, would make it legal for Californians over 21 to possess and grow pot for personal use. The measure has lost ground, with 51 percent of likely voters opposed, to 39 percent in support, according to a University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll Oct. 22. A May survey showed backers leading, 49 percent to 41 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at avekshin@bloomberg.net.

Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

George Soros, chairman of Soros Management Fund LLC. Close

George Soros, chairman of Soros Management Fund LLC.

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Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

George Soros, chairman of Soros Management Fund LLC.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.

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