George Soros’s Marijuana Legacy and the COVID-19*

By Rachel Ehrenfeld@ American Thinker
Wednesday, April 1st, 2020 @ 10:22AM

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Soros’s success in legalizing marijuana use is now putting millions of Americans who have taken up smoking marijuana (because it’s legal) at higher risk of infection by COVID-19.  

George Soros’s first major effort to reshape America was undertaking the legitimization of illegal drug use, especially marijuana.  Soros initially said his overarching goal was to promote informed discussion of drug policy.  But debate and discussion are not his style and were not his objects.  Instead, he used his resources to fund think-tanks, foundations, and public policy action groups that successfully muddled public opinion enough to change public laws, making illegal drug use legal.

In the early 1990s, the notion of legalizing marijuana in the U.S. was unthinkable and unacceptable.  The voices to legalize drugs were marginal and not in sync.  This changed in 1993, when Soros, who claimed that prohibitionist drug policies are wrong because they contradict his vision of the “Open Society,” launched a $15-million pro-drug legalization propaganda campaign that has made him the new darling of the media left.  Soros and his acolytes have garnered enormous press attention through a barrage of magazine articles, op-ed pieces, and television appearances.  By 1996, the slogans of “medicalization” and “compassion” joined “legalization” and “decriminalization,” as well as “nonviolent drug offender.”  All of these were shaping the vocabulary of the public dialogue.  Soros’s sponsorship provided the credibility theretofore lacking in the movement to legalize drugs.

David Callahan, the liberal founder and editor of the website Inside Philanthropy, noted in his 2018 book The Givers: Wealth, Power, and Philanthropy in a New Gilded Age, that “no philanthropist has done more than Soros to soften America’s drug laws.  Soros got behind that cause in the mid-1990s, funding a new drug policy think tank and bankrolling the push for medicinal marijuana, widely seen as a bridge to legalization.  Today, two decades after Soros began his push – and many tens of millions of dollars later – several states have legalized pot, and more are likely to follow.

Many millions of dollars in funding pro-drug non-profits; organizing ballots; and creating the Drug Policy Alliance, which sponsored massive media campaigns asserting that allowing the sick the use of marijuana and other drugs for “medical purposes” is not only right but also “compassionate.”  Less than three years later, in 1996, Arizona and California passed laws allowing “medical marijuana” use.  Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, and Washington followed suit in 1998.  By now, most states in the U.S. allow marijuana use for loosely defined medical purposes, and many also allow marijuana for “recreational” purposes. 

The strategy of lobbying states to change the law instead of the federal government – which still considers marijuana a dangerous drug – was “the best way to get the attention of Congress … to legalize marijuana,” explained a pro-legalization activist.  “If a majority of states approve marijuana measures, and public opinion continues to swell in favor of cannabis, Congress may have no choice but to consider decriminalization – or legalize the substance,” he reasoned.  By February 2020, marijuana use has been legal for medical use in 33 states, and 11 states allow recreational marijuana use for adults over the age of 21.

Soros’s successful legalization efforts assuaged the social stigma of drug abuse and drove more Americans to regularly use and get addicted to marijuana.  Soros claims that marijuana use and addiction will decline once this substance becomes legal, as will the illegal trade in this drug.  But this prediction has not panned out.

On the contrary, the number of users and addicts, especially among the young, has grown rapidly in the U.S., Canada, and other countries that have legalized the use of “natural marijuana” as a drug.  In the U.S., for example, in 2018, the number of young adults who reported regular use of marijuana rose to 11.8 million, and the number of teens in 8th and 10th grades who say they use it daily has increased as their perception that regular use of marijuana is risky is decreasing.  It is decreasing because Soros’s successful legalization campaign has deliberately misled the public on hazards caused by “natural marijuana.” 

According to Dr. Carlton E. Turner, President Ronald Reagan’s Drug Czar, natural marijuana “is a dirty drug with so many different side effects that it will never pass the required safety and efficacy testing for medicine.  Marijuana can contain over 700 individual chemicals, and when smoked the number of chemicals expands to the thousands.  The smoke contains 50 percent to 70 percent more cancer-causing compounds than tobacco.”
In the meantime, the legalization of marijuana opened the door to the new multi-billion-dollar cannabis industry and increased revenues to the states that legalized the drug.  According to the online publication American Marijuana, in a January 6, 2020 update, “[i]t is predicted that in 2025, legal marijuana sales will earn as much as 23 Billion USD in the US alone.”  Moreover, the legalization of marijuana in the U.S. set the trend and encouraged other countries to do the same. 

Despite Soros’s efforts, marijuana (cannabis) is still identified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as a Schedule I drug, “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” 

Soros’s success in legalizing marijuana use is now putting millions of Americans who have taken up smoking marijuana (because it’s legal) at higher risk of infection by COVID-19.  “Cannabis smoking is growing rapidly and has been linked with poor respiratory health, immunosuppression and multiple contaminants,” says renowned cannabis researcher Albert Stuart Reece, professor of medicine, University of Western Australia.  A recent publication by NIDA says the virus poses “an especially serious threat to those who smoke tobacco or marijuana or who vape,” because – as was evident all along – their lungs have “enhanced tissue damage and inflammation.” 

But the efforts to legalize marijuana in states that have not done so in the coming elections is ongoing, as evidenced by the Soros- (and friends) funded Marijuana Policy Project’s statement dated March 19, 2020.  “In times of this pandemic, it is all the more apparent that finite government resources shouldn’t be wasted on cannabis prohibition.  And states could use the economic growth and tax revenue that come with marijuana legalization in these challenging times,” the MPP advises. 

Had Soros, the speculator who prides himself as a highbrow go-getter genuinely considered marijuana as the important drug he has spent loads of money to legalize, he would have invested his money lobbying Congress to support scientific research to identify the medicinal properties of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis (marijuana) and would have sponsored the clinical trials necessary to develop effective treatments for a variety of diseases.

Discernibly, it was not compassion for the sick that motivated Soros’s drug legalization campaigns.  Instead, he successfully used marijuana legalization campaigns to test his ability to reshape American society.  It was his first successful venture of making the once unthinkable unacceptable and illegal, a thing of the past, turning Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World‘s “soma” distribution into reality.

This article was first published by American Thinker, April 1, 2020


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