Billionaire investor George Soros, one of the richest people in the world, on Tuesday expressed his support for California's Prop. 19 via a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, which was circulated by the measure's backers Monday night.
In it, Soros writes that discriminatory enforcement of cannabis laws disproportionately affects African-Americans, and that those laws have deep, prejudicial roots:
Racial prejudice also helps explain the origins of marijuana prohibition. When California and other U.S. states first decided (between 1915 and 1933) to criminalize marijuana, the principal motivations were not grounded in science or public health but rather in prejudice and discrimination against immigrants from Mexico who reputedly smoked the 'killer weed.'
Soros' money graf:
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. It also would reduce the crime, violence and corruption associated with drug markets, and the violations of civil liberties and human rights that occur when large numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens are subject to arrest. Police could focus on serious crime instead.
A Soros adviser told the Los Angeles Times that the billionaire planned to make a "significant contribution" to the pro-19 campaign.