LOS ANGELES (BP)--Opponents of a California initiative that would legalize marijuana e-mailed an "emergency alert" to subscribers Oct. 26, noting they have a small lead in the polls but warning that a last-minute $1 million donation by George Soros to the "yes" side could swing the race.
Soros, the billionaire philanthropist who donates often to liberal causes, made the donation Tuesday, the same day the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by him, "Why I Support Legal Marijuana." Californians already are voting on the proposal, known as Proposition 19, in early voting.
Soros' $1 million contribution to the Drug Policy Alliance dwarfs all previous contributions, particularly of the "no" side, and will allow the alliance to put ads on the air in the final days. The No on Proposition 19 campaign has relied on free media and not aired any ads, although the California Chamber of Commerce is spending $250,000 on radio ads urging a "no" vote.
"How much pot can a million dollars buy?" Tim Rosales, campaign manager for the No on Proposition 19 campaign (NoOnProposition19.com), wrote. "... If we don't raise enough money right now, recreational marijuana will be coming to your workplace, schools, and highways -- just in time for Thanksgiving. Remember: every 45 minutes someone is killed by a drunk driver. How often will someone be killed by a stoned driver?"
If Prop 19 passes, California would become the first state to legalize the growth, sale and use of
marijuana. Individuals would be able to grow their own marijuana in an area not larger than 25 square feet and possess up to one ounce of it. Local governments would be able to tax it; the state would not collect any money.
Three new polls on Oct. 26 showed Proposition 19 trailing, but there are indications that the race may be tighter than some polls show. That's because the polls in which voters talk to an actual person show a significant lead for Prop 19 opponents, while computer automated polls that tell voters to press their keypad indicate a toss-up race.... Read More