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Casino Billionaire Spends $1 Million to Defeat Florida’s Medical Marijuana Initiative

But the cannabis industry is not willing to help fight him.

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Some of the latest polling data indicates a great deal of support in Florida right now for the second coming of a ballot initiative (Amendment 2) aimed at legalizing a comprehensive medical marijuana program. However, the fanfare over the measure has prompted the deep-pocketed opposition to cough up an obscene amount of money intended to once again sabotage the effort in 2016.

Campaign finance records released on Friday revealed that billionaire casino kingpin Sheldon Adelson just donated  a whopping $1 million to the political committee behind the “No on 2” campaign. This could be a solid indication that Adelson is preparing to get serious about the mission to defeat a popular medical marijuana initiative. In 2014, he threw down around $5.5 million just to ensure Amendment 2 would never see the light of day.

United for Care’s Amendment 2 seeks to establish a medical marijuana program for hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from a wealth of serious health conditions, including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder and Parkinson’s disease. The proposal would also allow state-licensed physicians to provide patients with a recommendation to participate in the program as long as he or she believes “the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

In 2014, United for Care attempted to pass a similar measure, but it was beat down by a close two points. Although Amendment 2 had the support of the majority (nearly 58 percent,) Florida law requires the voting public to pass ballot measures with 60 percent approval.

The news of Adelson’s significant donation against medical marijuana prompted United for Care to reach out to its supporters last Friday in hopes of strengthening its own financial arsenal. The group says it needs to raise additional funds to combat No on 2’s promise to drop $7 million to defeat Amendment 2 again this year.

Sadly, while marijuana’s opposing forces are having little difficulty raising the money to stop legalization, a recent report from Marijuana Business Daily shows that the groups responsible for pushing ballot initiatives all across the nation are having some serious trouble tracking down financial support from the cannabis trade itself. The survey, which first published in August, shows 37 percent of the cannabis industry executives out there are “not sure” whether they will donate money to ensure the success of marijuana ballot measures in 2016. Another 20 percent said they have absolutely no intention of helping out.

Fortunately, support for medical marijuana is strong in Florida. A recent poll from Anzalone Liszt Research finds that 77 percent of the voters plan to support Amendment 2 later this fall.