On December 21st, the CBS 60 Minutes program aired a story about billionaire financier George Soros. It purported to be an objective look at the controversial money man. He was depicted as a ruthless speculator who makes billions of dollars from the global economy, destabilizing national currencies and foreign economies. On the other hand, he was portrayed as a philanthropist who gives away much of his fortune to worthy causes in foreign countries.
The problem is that 60 Minutes ignored his so-called charitable giving here at home. Much of that involves pouring money into the drug legalization movement—a cause opposed by most Americans. The failure to mention this aspect of Soros? “giving” was a most curious omission.
Soros calls it the “harm reduction movement.” But the truth is that millions of his dollars have gone into ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana and other drugs for so-called “medical purposes.” In 1996, these initiatives passed in California and Arizona. In 1998, they passed in Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Washington. They pass because a very sophisticated propaganda campaign funded by Soros and others convinces voters that it is compassionate to allow the use of marijuana and other drugs when people are sick or dying.
The truth is that marijuana is itself a dangerous mind-altering substance that is more carcinogenic than tobacco. The scientific evidence demonstrates that the risks of marijuana outweigh any potential benefits. The claim that marijuana is helpful to those suffering from AIDS is one of the biggest lies. Research shows that marijuana impairs the white blood cells which fight infection and that it makes people more susceptible to disease. Despite what has occurred on the state level, the cultivation, possession, distribution and consumption of marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
The real purpose of these “medical marijuana” bills is to convince the public over time that marijuana is not harmful, and that it ought to be legalized. Since the passage of those initiatives in 1996, surveys show that the perception of the harmfulness of marijuana is lower. Illicit drug use is now higher in those two states than the rest of the nation. But 60 Minutes never mentioned anything about the Soros role in the drug legalization movement. Instead, the part of the story about his philanthropic activities focused on all the good things he is supposedly doing around the world. He was shown in Haiti, with Hillary Clinton, helping to open a new hospital. Ambassador Richard Holbrooke talked about how his friend “George” had provided money to implement the Bosnia peace agreement.
Rachel Ehrenfeld, the author of books on the drug problem, has written that Soros is a key member of a “worldwide network of people and groups” that is working to end the criminal penalties attached to the sale and use of currently illegal drugs, including marijuana, cocaine and LSD. She writes, “Most Americans are not aware of how serious and determined these efforts are.” This is true. And it remains true because 60 Minutes missed a dramatic opportunity to set the record straight.