George Soros is up to his old tricks again. The “sugar daddy of the legalization movement,” as conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer described him, has given more than $31 million to the Drug Policy Alliance, which will host its biennial convention Nov. 2-5 in California to build support for the drug legalization movement. But when the media mention DPA, they either fail to note the Soros connection or fall $30 million short on how much he funded them.
Media coverage of DPA has left out Soros’s influence with the group. In the past two years, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, and USA Today referenced DPA 58 times. Only 7 percent (4 of 58) of those stories labeled Soros as a backer of the organization. In those rare times he was mentioned, his contribution was never described as more than $1 million, again $30 million shy of his total donations for the past 10 years.
The broadcast networks also failed to highlight the connection between Soros and DPA. Between ABC, CBS, and NBC, the Alliance was only mentioned twice. In both cases, guests from the group were interviewed, but Soros was never mentioned.
The funding isn’t hard to find. Soros’s Open Society Foundations donated $31,394,572 to the Drug Policy Alliance from 2000-2009, with $29,166,927 going directly to DPA and another $2,227,645 going to the Drug Policy Foundation. The Open Society Institute is even an exhibitor at the November conference, along with Soros funding recipients like the ACLU and the Marijuana Policy Project.
This November, the biennial International Drug Policy Reform Conference will host more than 1,000 attendees from 30 countries that support reforming marijuana laws and decriminalize drug use. According its website, there will be “55 sessions over 3 days” on topics to include criminal justice, harm reduction, marijuana, and more.
Scorning the “taboo associated with drug use,” DPA claims it wants to end the drug war. Along with Soros, the Alliance has tried for years to change drug policy around the world, but particularly within the United States. They call marijuana laws “an utter failure” that have led to “unprecedented levels of violence and corruption.”
Drug laws are also blamed for “profoundly racist outcomes” and a “system of racial control as the Jim Crow laws were.” One of the group’s highest priorities is to reduce the drug stigma in favor of a “judgment-free” approach that is supposed to reduce overdose deaths and the spread of diseases such as HIV/AIDS through needle exchange programs and pharmacy sales.
The website even features a video starring key supporters to include Sting, George Soros, and former talk show host Montel Williams. In this video they explained their vision for lax drug policies and described the drug war as a “war on people.”
The anti-drug war message is also promoted by the Soros-funded lefty media. As the Business & Media Institute has reported, a study by the Media Consortium detailed how progressives had created an "echo chamber" of outlets "in which a message pushes the larger public or the mainstream media to acknowledge, respond, and give airtime to progressive ideas because it is repeated many times."
Media Constorium members have consistently done just that in regards to drug policy. Alternet described in 2009 that the Alliance’s last conference as coming at a “crucial time” and thanks “decades of grassroots activism” for turning the tide on the marijuana debate. Think Progress has also promoted the legalization of marijuana and proudly touted a legalization bill in Congress. Mother Jones posted a story that quoted President Obama as saying drug use “is an entirely legitimate topic for debate” but was “not in favor of legalization.” Obama’s statement, according to Mother Jones, went further than “any past president in questioning the wisdom of a drug policy based on arrests and incarceration.”