Rich Republican Who Bankrolled Opposition to Marijuana Initiatives Dies

Multi-billiionare casino magnate Sheldon Adelson spent millions of dollars trying to defeat marijuana-legalizatioon voter initiatives.

Sheldon Adelson, who took his casino earnings and spent lavishly on attempting to defeat medical-marijuana initiatives in Florida in 2014 and 2016 and recreational legalization in Nevada in 2016, passed away on January 11. He was 87.

Adelson was one of the Republicans' biggest backers. He owned the Las Vegas Sands casino and other properties. According to Forbes, Adelson was worth $33.5 billion; upon his death, he was the 28th richest person in the world.

Adelson has donated $4 million to the Drug Free Florida Committee, which opposed Amendment 2 in Florida in 2014. The initiative lost that year, but won two years later.

Ironically, Adelson's Medical Research Foundation funded an Israeli study conducted by Tel Aviv University that concluded cannabis was beneficial for inflammatory diseases such as MS.

Adelson contributed $20 million to Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, plus $5 million to his inauguration.

This article was origianlly posted on June 18, 2014. It was updated on Jan. 12, 2021.


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.