Marijuana-hating casino magnate Sheldon Adelson may be richest of the Big Prohibitionists. Long a deep-pocket donor to anti-cannabis causes, his latest handout gives a million dollars each towards defeating medical marijuana in Massachusetts and adult-use legalization in Nevada.
With a fortune of around $30 billion dollars, Sheldon Adelson is the 21st richest person on the planet. The entrepreneur has created over 50 businesses in his lifetime. Most of this great wealth has come from his gambling empire, with major properties in Las Vegas, Macau, and Singapore.
Perhaps because of the tragic opioid overdose death of his son Mitchell, Adelson is passionately anti-drug, with cannabis lumped in because he wrongly believes it is a gateway drug. Paradoxically, it now appears that the very medical cannabis that he so zealously opposes may well be the best preventive and treatment for opioid addiction and for avoiding overdose deaths.
Adelson is influenced by long-time drug warrior, Floridian Mel Sembler. This Florida developer and addictions recovery operator has been an anti-marijuana fanatic for decades. As reported by Lee Fang in VICE, his wife Betty was made an honorary DEA agent. Additionally, Adelson’s wife Miriam is a physician with ties to the recovery industry. Regarding his opposition to medical cannabis, Adelson’s Las Vegas Sands Vice-President Andy Abboud, stated:
Pro marijuana folks have awoken a sleeping giant in Sheldon and Miriam Adelson
Adelson’s prohibitionist philanthropy has been extensive:
- In Florida Adelson contributed over four million dollars to Mel Sembler’s Drug-Free Florida group working for the defeat of the 2014 medical marijuana initiative. Although the initiative got 58% YES votes, it was still defeated by at 60% requirement. Apparently, Adelson has contributed only one million to the 2016 medical marijuana initiative, which this time looks like it will pass.
- In Nevada, he bought the newspaper, the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Formerly supportive of medical marijuana in Nevada, the paper’s editorial view swung distinctly anti-cannabis after its purchase by the casino king. Additionally, as Tom Angell reports at Marijuana.com, he has contributed a million dollars to defeating Question 2, Nevada’s legalization initiative. See Adelson and Casinos Fund Nevada Legal Marijuana Opposition.
- The million dollars to help defeat Massachusetts adult-use marijuana is his latest prohibitionist payout.
Adelson’s political contributions are not limited to anti-cannabis bureaucracies. He is also a major contributor to the Republican Party. Comically, he was an early and big supporter of Fred Thompson in 2008. After failing miserably to secure the presidency, Thompson went on to an alternate career touting reverse mortgages in late night TV ads. In 2012, Adelson went in big for Newt Gingrich for president and spent $100 million on Republicans in total. In 2016 he supports Trump for President.
We can only hope that Adelson’s prohibitionist propaganda will be no more effective than his feeble political accomplishments!