More Money Materializes For Pot Legalization

By Matt Baume
|  Thursday, Oct 28, 2010  |  Updated 7:45 AM PDT
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More Money Materializes For Pot Legalization

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BERKELEY, CA - MARCH 25: A one-ounce bag of medicinal marijuana is displayed at the Berkeley Patients Group March 25, 2010 in Berkeley, California. California Secretary of State Debra Bowen certified a ballot initiative late yesterday to legalize the possession and sale of marijuana in the State of California after proponents of the measure submitted over 690,000 signatures. The measure will appear on the November 2 general election ballot. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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The money's coming fast and furious in the race to legalize pot.

The latest cash infusion comes courtesy of George Soros, who gave $1 million this week as the campaign steps up its TV ad blitz. That will include ads featuring a former police chief, one of several law enforcement officers who've come out in favor of ending the ban on pot.

The race is still polling perilously close, with opinions divided within a margin of error. That's down slightly from earlier polls, which showed the measure with a small but statistically significant edge.

But the issue of ending prohibition is notoriously difficult to track. Recent surveys have shown that voters are more likely to express support for legalization in automated polls than in polls with a live human.

Soros explained his donation as good business sense. He pointed out that decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot would save law enforcement costs and create billions in tax revenue. His donation raises campaign's total take to nearly $4 million.

In contrast, those in favor of maintaining the ban have raised only about a quarter million. They've focused their campaign in northern California, but they may face a frosty reception: a significant portion of the economy in northern California is based on the cannabis trade.

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