Marijuana Prohibition’s Billionaire Backer Sheldon Adelson


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:

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!

Don Fitch

Interest in cannabis liberation extends back to the 1960s for Don Fitch. Most of his career has been in high tech and preventive health care, endeavors he continues with Well-Being Skills, focused now on ebook publishing. Don has always followed and contributed to efforts for ending marijuana prohibition. An Oregonian whose vision is endangered by glaucoma, Don has benefited from his state’s 1998 medical cannabis law, and his eyesight is fully preserved. Don has been writing about cannabis and well-being since 2008 in his blog, This site explores the bountiful health benefits stemming from the discovery of the endocannabinoid system and increasingly legal medical cannabis. The impact of these discoveries, and the use of marijuana in prevention and treatment, may be as important to health care as were the microelectronic discoveries Don wrote about in the early ’80s were to our on-going technological revolution. His major goal, still frustrated after decades, is to see cannabis down-scheduled from Schedule I at the federal level. For fun, Don flies paragliders and travels.