Sheldon Adelson Fumes Over State-by-State Marijuana Legislation

Posted on: October 26, 2016, 11:30h. 

Last updated on: October 26, 2016, 10:39h.

Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson donated more than half a million dollars last week to a group fighting marijuana legalization in Arizona, according to campaign finance records.

Sheldon and Miriam Adelson anti-marijuana stance
Sheldon and Miriam Adelson’s fight against marijuana appears to go deeper than mere prudishness. Miriam has spent half a century studying drugs and their impact, while Sheldon already lost a son to addiction. (Image:

This is to go with the $2 million he donated recently to the Protect Nevada’s Children PAC, an organization devoted to defeating the Silver State’s marijuana referendum on November 8. And the $1 million he gave to the attempt to defeat recreational pot in Massachusetts. And the $1 million in Florida. You get the picture.

While Adelson has his eye and his own money on Trump in the presidential election, he is also keeping a guarded distance from the race this year. He has donated only $10 million of his $100 million pledge to super PACs supporting the Trump/Pence campaign.

He almost seems more focused on the various marijuana referenda occurring around the country than who actually wakes up in the White House. In all, nine states are voting on some kind of pot legalization reform come November 8.

Review-Journal Drops Liberal Pot Stance

Adelson controversially purchased the Nevada’s largest news source, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, last year for well over face-value, prompting concerns that he wanted to turn the newspaper into his own political bullhorn. And while the R-J officially came out in support of Trump only this week, it dropped its liberal stance on medical marijuana much earlier.

Parallels can be drawn between the Adelson anti-pot crusade and his campaign against online gambling, of course. The billionaire is prepared to spend millions on both issues to spread his influence at both state and federal levels.

Any marijuana use, including medical, is still a violation of federal law, as was online casino and poker before 2011. The states’ determination to sanction it within their borders mirrors the online gambling regulation of Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware in 2013, as well as New Jersey’s determination to sanction sports betting within its borders.

Addiction in the Family

But while Adelson’s dislike of online gambling is probably rooted in a fear of commercial competition, his problem with marijuana is more personal and even altruistic. In 2005, his sons from his first marriage, Mitchell, died of a drug overdose. His other, Gary, is believed to be, or at least has been, an addict and is understood to be estranged from the family.

Meanwhile, Adelson’s current wife, Miriam, is a qualified medical doctor. She was an associate physician at Rockefeller University in the eighties, where she studied drug addiction with particular focus on the spread of HIV among drug addicts.

It’s believed that the Adelsons see marijuana as a gateway drug that leads to more dangerous addictions.