George Soros Backs California Campaign to Legalize Pot

Billionaire financier George Soros has stepped in to support a California proposition that would legalize marijuana for recreational use. He donated $1 million to the campaign Tuesday and wrote that the measure would be "a major step forward" in an opinion piece that ran in The Wall Street Journal the same day.

Soros, a longtime Democratic party supporter, is publicly backing Proposition 19 after the ballot initiative appears to have lost ground in some polls, the Sacramento Bee reported Tuesday. Some 44% of voters this month said they'd vote for the proposition in next week's election, down from 52% in September, while opposition rose to 49% this month from 41% last month, according to a poll the Public Policy Institute of California released last week.

"Our marijuana laws are clearly doing more harm than good," Soros wrote in his opinion article, titled "Why I Support Legal Marijuana." "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."

earlier this year listed Soros as the 35th richest person in the world, with assets valued at about $14 billion.