Adelson Takes On Medical Marijuana

The quixotic billionaire, who is the world’s eighth richest man, has donated $2.5 million to fight a Florida constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana. It’s another example of the Sands CEO’s willingness to put his money where his mouth is on social issues.

Sheldon Adelson is taking on a new crusade. The CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., who has pledged to invest millions in the battle to defeat online gaming in the U.S., is now spending .5 million to fight a Florida ballot amendment that would legalize medical marijuana.

According to the Sunshine State News, Adelson’s opposition flies in the face of medical research from his own organization, the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation. The foundation recently published a study showing that medical marijuana has the potential to help those suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Nevada Senator Harry Reid said Adelson doesn’t tilt against windmills to protect his business interests. “I know Sheldon Adelson,” said Reid. “He’s not in this for money. He’s got money. He’s in it because he has certain ideological views.”

An associate who spoke anonymously to the News said the billionaire, who is almost 81, “lets his stomach and his heart do his thinking for him. He does what he thinks and feels is right for himself and his friends. He’s got a very strong moral and ethical streak.”

Of internet gambling, Adelson has said, “I want to make money from those who can afford it. I can’t tell over the internet who is underage. I can’t tell who’s got financial difficulties. I can’t tell who is not gaming responsibly. I can’t tell if money is being laundered. I can in the casino.”

Adelson, a high-profile Republican donor, wrote a single check for $2.5 million to the political committee trying to defeat Amendment 2, the Florida ballot question, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.