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Ballot philanthropy – Focus on drug reform

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Flush from success in persuading voters to ease drug laws in California and four other states, three billionaires are poised to take their case throughout the U.S., the Associated Press reported Nov. 9.

The three wealthy activists – New York philanthropist George Soros, University of Phoenix founder John Sperling and Ohio insurance executive Peter Lewis – have invested millions of dollars the last four years in ballot initiatives that they say amount to a referendum on the drug war, AP said.

Along with victories Tuesday in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Utah, two states – Massachusetts and Alaska – rejected more sweeping drug initiatives.

But opponents fear the billionaires’ wealth will enable them to succeed in future elections.

The three philanthropists spent $1.2 million each in California alone. Together, they gave $6 million to $7 million during each of the last two 2-year election cycles to change drug policies in the U.S. – and expect to contribute roughly the same amount during the next two years.

For full story, go to San Francisco Chronicle.

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