The billionaire George Soros published an article in the Wall Street Journal defending the legalization of marijuana, proposed in the California election. “Our marijuana laws are clearly doing more harm than good. The criminalization of marijuana did not prevent marijuana from becoming the most widely used illegal substance in the United States and many other countries. But it did result in extensive costs and negative consequences,” wrote Soros.
As a good investor, the first question is of course economic. According to Soros, the American taxpayer pays billions of dollars to enforce a law that is largely ignored. If the law is changed, it will be possible to save this money, as well as reduce the crime and corruption associated with the drug trade. “Police could focus on serious crime instead,” he argued.
But there are other questions involved. One of these is racial. Soros says that African-Americans do not smoke more marijuana than other Americans; however, they appear to be preferred targets of the police when it comes to marijuana arrests. The investor then reflects on the legislation that prohibited marijuana in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century as a means to criminalize Mexican immigrants who smoked marijuana.
According to Soros, those who benefit most from the marijuana laws are the drug trafficking cartels, and this is why respected people like Fernando Henrique Cardoso have allied themselves with the idea of decriminalization in the Americas. It is nonsense, says Soros, to believe that decriminalization of marijuana will facilitate access to drugs by young people. He claims that young people already have very easy access to marijuana, as easy as alcohol. The most important thing is to invest in education, showing the risks of marijuana use.