The Untold Story of Marijuana Legalization


It’s an interesting story that few people know, and it begins with George Soros.

The year was 1992. George H.W. Bush was still in the White House—a presidency that was in many ways an extension of Ronald Reagan’s two terms.

At the time, Soros, a Hungarian-born financier who had spent the 1980s donating hundreds of millions of dollars to fighting the Soviet totalitarian state in Central Europe, didn’t know what his next big cause would be. Once the Soviet empire fell (and fell quickly), Soros faced a dilemma: Which oppressive government regime should he fight next?

Soros had immigrated to the United States in the 1950s. He was increasingly rich and also increasingly alarmed about the escalating and punitive nature of the war on drugs. But was it worth fighting a battle within his newly adopted country?

He didn’t know much about drug policy, so he asked one of his aides who did. His aide suggested he meet with Ethan Nadelmann, a young Princeton professor who advocated for legal reforms. In 1992, there were few researchers working on drug policy, but Nadelmann was one of them.

In a recent interview with The Stranger, Nadelmann recalled that it was a 95 degree summer day in New York City when the two of them met. Soros

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