Las Vegas casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson is hell-bent on stopping medical marijuana in its tracks. A review over 42 states found that Adelson donated $5.5 million towards fighting Florida's medical marijuana program — the single largest individual donation to any one cannabis campaign.
Casino titan Adelson is CEO of the Sands and the 12th richest person in America. When it comes to riches, Sheldon Adelson annihilates the competition.
His net worth of $28.9 billion USD easily dwarfs the fortunes of moguls like Steve Wynn or Donald Trump. Adelson's riches are literally built on gambling addiction. Adelson's wife, Dr. Miriam Adelson, happens to be an addiction therapist—but I'm guessing she isn't talking to her patients about gambling.
Florida will vote on medical marijuana this November with a revised version of Amendment 2. Both Adelson and Amendment 2's supporters will be pouring in the cash to fuel the ballot decision.
Ben Pollara is Campaign Manager for United For Care. “We are fervently raising funds, Pollara told MERRY JANE.
“We need to show the public who will benefit from this law—the patients. So, in addition to using social media, smaller speaking engagements across the state, and our 14,000 volunteers, we are going to use TV more than we did in 2014 to remind people this law is about helping seriously ill people in Florida.” Last year, supporters of Amendment 2 raised a total of $8.1 million.
Adelson even made Gawker's "Billionaire Shit List".
In 2014, Sheldon Adelson financed Drug Free Florida. Adelson's funds accounted for 85 percent of the opposition. “His millions are what enabled the 'No' campaign to purchase the TV ad space, which is ultimately what defeated Amendment 2 in 2014,” explained Pollara.
“Sheldon Adelson has put in millions of dollars to stop the legalization of medical marijuana in several states with the most being in Florida. It’s not exactly known why… It’s extremely peculiar because his medical research center actually produced a study which indicated that marijuana has the potential to treat Multiple Sclerosis. Also, he leans socially liberal on many other issues.
However, I’d say his buddy, Mel Sembler, who approached him for the hefty sum last election cycle, has much to do with his decision.” Profiteer and founder of Drug Free Florida Mel Sembler hopes to raise $10 million for the opposition this year. “We’re trying to save lives and people’s brains,” he claimed.
Adelson's contributions came from everywhere but Florida — only 15 percent of the money raised for the No campaign came from out-of-state. On the other hand, 19 out of 20 contributors to People United for Medical Marijuana live in the state.
Adelson has been busy suppressing marijuana in his home state, as well. Those pesky journalists at the Las Vegas Review-Journal keep reporting all the benefits of medical marijuana — so Adelson dealt with the problem — he recently bought the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million. Tom Angell, founder of the Marijuana Majority, tweeted: “Sheldon Adelson's reported buying of Las Vegas Review-Journal, while not disastrous, isn't good for the Nevada legal marijuana effort. He funds opposition.”
Adelson pressured the Las Vegas Review-Journal to drop its pro-cannabis stance. Several journalists have left the newspaper after being attacked by Adelson. Adelson also endorsed his pal Donald Trump, which may complicate things for Trump supporters who hope to pass medical marijuana in Florida and other states.