Like a dam giving way, public policy transformations often progress slowly-and then all at once. So it is with the movement to decriminalize marijuana. The fringe opinion of 20 years ago has gone mainstream: Public support for “medical marijuana” now regularly approaches 75 or 80 percent in opinion polling, and out-and-out legalization of the drug has begun to attract small majorities overall, and lopsided majorities among younger respondents.
According to an in-depth report by Kelly Riddell of the Washington Times, Soros’s Foundation to Promote Open Society donates roughly $4 million every year to the Drug Policy Alliance and its electoral arm, Drug Policy Action, each of which supports decriminalization and legalization efforts, as well as fighting incarceration, and projects such as needle exchanges and distribution of overdose antidotes to reduce the harm done by drug use. These organizations led the Colorado and Washington legalization efforts, and laid much of the groundwork for medical marijuana. Soros also supports work by the American Civil Liberties Union in favor of marijuana legalization, and the Marijuana Policy Project, which organizes policy change and state ballot measures.
These formal funding relationships buttress a series of informal connections in the Soros drug-policy universe. For example, Drug Policy Alliance president Ira Glasser is a former executive director of the ACLU. And Marijuana Policy Project co-founders Rob Kampia, Chuck Thomas, and Mike Kirshner formerly did advocacy at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.