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Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson
Sheldon Adelson, happy to burn money for no effective reason.
Gambling mogul and GOP megadonor Sheldon Adelson has spent $2.5 million to oppose Florida’s medical marijuana ballot initiative, according to filings reviewed by the Tampa Bay Times. The major donation signals what may be the most moneyed opposition to a medical marijuana initiative yet. It also comes from a particularly unlikely source.

Adelson spent nearly $150 million to elect Republicans in 2012, but he has veered away from targeting cultural issues. He made his billions on gambling — considered a vice by most — and describes himself as “socially very liberal. Too liberal” — a refrain he has repeated over the years.

What exactly is going on here? Probably not pot. Looks like he's worried that a medicinal marijuana ballot initiative may pull in support for Democrat Charlie Crist in the state's tight gubernatorial contest against Republican incumbent Rick Scott. But if that's the case, then it's an odd tactic.

For one, the pot initiative has huge support. PPP:

-Florida's medical marijuana amendment that will be on the ballot this fall continues to appear headed for easy passage, with 66% of voters saying they support it to just 25% who are opposed. Those numbers are almost identical to 65/23 when we last polled on it in January, indicating the proposal is not losing any steam. Democrats and independents are overwhelmingly in support of it, and even Republicans narrowly favor it 44/42.
And that poll is pessimistic. Quinnipiac found support at 82 percent.

So it's hard to see how jumping on this doomed effort helps Adelson help Scott. Sure, the governor's race is tied by all accounts, and will be decided by inches, but there isn't direct correlation between supporters of the initiative and partisan preference. Democrats who support the initiative won't change their minds and decide to vote Scott, and even Republican supporters of the initiative aren't likely to vote Crist.

And it's not like those ads will suppress the pro-pot vote, keeping potential Crist supporters from the polls. At best, they'll take some of that 42 percent of Republicans who support the initiative and flip it to the "anti" side. And if so, big deal. It has little bearing on the initiative's ultimate result.

So file this one, once again, under the "pissing away their money" category. It's one in which conservative billionaires have lately excelled.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Since it's likely that pot is the only way some (16+ / 0-)

    get through life in Florida these days, Adelson may regret this.

    "Life is short, but long enough to get what's coming to you." --John Alton

    by Palafox on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:03:00 PM PDT

  •  Senile alter koker... (4+ / 0-)

    ...what next? Direct $1 million cash bribes to voters?

    Float like a manhole cover, sting like a sash weight! Clean Coal Is A Clinker!

    by JeffW on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:03:00 PM PDT

  •  "... happy to burn money for no effective reason." (10+ / 0-)

    It's possible he gets higher on that then most others do on pot.

  •  I can see it (7+ / 0-)

    A pot initiative will likely increase overall voter participation.

    When voters participate, in general, Democrats win.

    Ultimately it's about lowering participation by removing "interesting" things to vote on.

    Make sure everyone's vote counts: Verified Voting

    by sacrelicious on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:04:10 PM PDT

  •  Hey Sheldon, chill (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lencialoo, Aunt Pat, JeffW, hbk, Calamity Jean

    smoke a bowl over it.

  •  Imagine what Sheldon thinks of Palestinian pot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    here4tehbeer, Aunt Pat


  •  Perhaps he sees pot as competition for (11+ / 0-)

    his gambling empire. Stay home, chill out, and watch old movies instead of throwing your money at Adelson.

    Arizona meet-up, July 27 in Phoenix. Meet Navajo! Send me Kosmail.

    by Mother Mags on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:15:02 PM PDT

  •  can someone convert his scooter to biomass (5+ / 0-)

    so he can run it on dope stems

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "If we appear to seek the unattainable, then let it be known that we do so to avoid the unimaginable." (@eState4Column5)

    by annieli on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:19:28 PM PDT

  •  I'm not a gambling man, but I'd go all in ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, RMForbes

    on Adelson's raise.

    How do you tell your pet slug that you had escargot for dinner?

    by glb3 on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:21:20 PM PDT

  •  He regretted wearing the American uniform (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, JeffW, Egalitare, mjd in florida

    He said this in Israel not long ago:

    "I am not Israeli, the uniform that I wore in the military unfortunately was not an Israeli uniform, it was an American uniform, although my wife was in the IDF, and one of my daughters was in the IDF, and my two little boys — our two little boys one of whom will be bar mitzvahed tomorrow… hopefully he’ll come back [to Israel], his hobby is shooting and he’ll come back and be a sniper for the IDF.... All we care about is being good Zionists, being good citizens of Israel, because even though I am not Israeli born, Israel is in my heart,..."

  •  It seems neither side is exactly mething around... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, mjd in florida
    The largest proponent of Amendment 2 has been John Morgan, an Orlando trial lawyer and chief supporter of Scott's top Democratic rival, Charlie Crist.

    Morgan, who employs Crist at his law firm, has spent $4 million bankrolling United For Care, the petition-initiative that brought the constitutional amendment to the ballot. He has vowed to spend more money to get the 60 percent majority needed for it to become law.


    But at least Morgan lives in the fucking state.

    For my own safety, I had to assume you were a bad guy with a gun. Sorry.

    by here4tehbeer on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:24:16 PM PDT

  •  Running out of thing's to be against? I'd guess... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RMForbes, JeffW

    Running out of thing's to be against? I'd guess he's just paying the piper.

  •  drug dealers gamble hard (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RMForbes, JeffW, Calamity Jean

    because the money spent at the casino makes for
    cheap money laundering.

    Go down, place a plethora of high payoff bets.
    things with say 1,000 to one.

    then,  put $1,000 on dozens of them.

    the ones that payoff generate clean money.

  •  Medical Marijuana is OK (0+ / 0-)

    I see no problem with it given that its usage is pursuant to FDA approvals (they already have approved many uses), medical supervision and for the purposes of relief of pain and symptoms of illnesses.  

    However, we need to keep a standardized approach.  As with any other drug intended for human consumption, there should be no legalization of recreational use of MJ without first achieving FDA approval.  

    There are sound reasons we have an FDA and require physician supervised use of drugs.  There are sound reasons why we don't have legal recreational use of many prescriptions drugs.  

    Carving out an exception for recreational MJ is basically caving into the demands of a massive agri-business waiting in the wings for the billions of profits they expect.

    Medical pot?  By all means.  Legalization of recreational use?  Not until sanctioned by federal agencies.

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:47:40 PM PDT

    •  Marijuana is no more a drug than green tea (3+ / 0-)

      and the actual psychoactive drug found in cannabis resins, THC, has already been though the FDA vetting process. The DEA needs to be completely disbanded because they have been a completely unnecessary and redundant federal agency from the time they were created. The DEA has been given far too much power and needs to be taken out of the way of real scientific study of cannabinoid drugs like CBD and CBN.

      Why does a federal law enforcement agency need to have operational control of which scientific studies can test cannabinoids and which cannot?

      There will be a cannabis industry that could very easily add over a trillion dollars a year to our domestic productive economy but it will be because of the more than 50,000 products that can be made better, stronger, greener, more durable, lighter weight and less expensive from the cannabis hemp plant. The medicinal and recreational uses of the cannabis plant will be only a small part of the economic impact of liberating the versatile cannabis genus of plants.

      Personally, I have no problem with recreational use of herbal cannabis because I believe that most if not all recreational use could be considered actually medicinal use. The stress of modern life is a major contributing factor in many severe health problems...herbal cannabinoids are very effective at lowering stress.

      Why would you be against allowing any American from being able to grow a safe and effective herbal medicine in their garden?

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 05:38:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Make Your Arguments to the FDA Please (0+ / 0-)

        If you are right, everyone will be lighting up soon.

        Particularly when it comes to substances for human consumption, we need to maintain strict standards.

        Doing this by referendum makes no sense.  And frankly, given how corrupted our political system is, the last place we want health and human safety questions answered is through ballot propositions.  Recall that the California initiative was heavily financed by people who wanted to profit from sale.

        As to your last question, if the herbal medicine in question has been found "safe and effective" by accepted public institutions, e.g. the FDA, then fine.  But we cannot allow private claims to trump that.  Would we want Pfizer telling us what was safe and effective for one of their products?  Would we want them ignoring the FDA and obtaining approvals through ballot referendums?

        As progressives, we have a strong and historic stake in promoting public institutions and appropriate public regulation.  The MJ recreational legalization movement weakens and undermines these by seeking a state by state approach because they currently don't like the answers they are getting from the feds.

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 06:18:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The FDA has already vetted both organic and (3+ / 0-)

          synthetic THC for medicinal use. It is legal to sell Marinol in America because the FDA approved it and the DEA did not block it. It is not legal to sell Sativex in America because the DEA blocked it after the FDA approved it. Again, why does the DEA have veto power over the FDA?

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 06:36:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  If FDA has approved some uses, fine... (0+ / 0-)

            ...but if they have not, then that should be the end of the argument.

            The idea that the DEA is calling the shots to make the FDA keep harmless substances off the market is ludicrous.  It is part of the endless conspiracy theories that the pro-recreational use lobby throws out there to confuse people.  

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:06:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Why should I need to petition the federal (3+ / 0-)

          government to end the federal prohibition against a plant that has such obvious economic benefit? The prohibition was created on lies to begin with, why should we need to prove anything? Hemp created this country and herbal cannabis has been used medicinally for over 5,000 years. If anyone needs proof that cannabis produces a danger to the American people, it's the prohibitionists that ignore all the scientific proof to the contrary.

          No, you are not making a liberal argument at all. You instead, are making a status quo argument. A liberal argument would look to provide the most personal liberty possible as long as that liberty does not infringe on another person's liberty. Nixon's failed war on drugs is the opposite of liberal. Also, the personal choice of recreational drugs has nothing to do with regulating commercial products sold to the public. It is possible to, at the same time, allow everyone the freedom to grow any plant they want in their garden and regulate the safe production and efficacy of food and drugs sold in the marketplace.

          Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

          by RMForbes on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 07:05:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Liberal does not mean Libertarian (0+ / 0-)

            People seem not to understand the difference.  A traditional liberal supports federal authority such as that to regulate substances for human consumption.  A libertarian makes the sort of anti-federal arguments the pro-recreational MJ lobby makes.  That is why Ron Paul is one of their allies.

            "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

            by FDRDemocrat on Sun Jun 15, 2014 at 10:02:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Why would you petition the FDA? The same FDA wh... (0+ / 0-)

      Why would you petition the FDA? The same FDA who's board is made up of former Monsanto and Pfiser execs? It's like petitioning the FCC (made up of former Comcast and Time Warner execs) for net neutrality, it's a big show. Do you honestly believe the heads of those agencies have our best interest in mind? Does it seriously make you feel safe when the FDA approves a drug? If approved drugs were safe then there wouldn't be many lawsuits when people are injured or killed by them (for which there are plenty).

  •  too much money (7+ / 0-)

    means there are too few taxes. How about a Luxury Tax on Billionaires? Something like.. whatever it takes to get them to move to another country. Then enforce the laws against foreign money in US elections.

    This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

    by Karl Rover on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 04:50:29 PM PDT

  •  Politcs Society (0+ / 0-)

    Politics Society, why don't we do something more important ? Like stop war ?

    Look here at this pic:
    This is something about War to You!

    More on

  •  Yet more proof... (4+ / 0-)

    That only the world's biggest douchebags support ideas like locking people up for bud.

  •  (This) Dick knows the more people smoke pot (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the less they will get heartburn over the 1% and GOP idiocy and the 40-watt religious freaks that vote for them for God know what reasons. (This) Dick named Sheldon is not content just being wealthy and enjoying life. He has to use his financial power to show how important he is. Red States are probably applauding the ass. Screw him and screw all the numbskulls who don't know Sheldon and his friends are keeping people from getting any help, because God knows, there are a few of them who cannot borrow money from their families to start a successful business. Cosmic humor-I don't get it.

  •  Americans are forgetting (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    what Dick Nixon and so many other upstanding and reputable folks clearly told them.

    Potsmokers belong in cages. Because.

  •  Who knows why he did this? (0+ / 0-)

    Because if it is to support Scott, it makes no sense. Maybe there was some behind the scenes quid-pro-quo. Maybe he just wanted to piss off John Morgan.
    It seems odd however.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 05:36:58 PM PDT

  •  I think it's safe to say... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the pot initiative opposes him too.

    when I see a republican on tv, I always think of Monty Python: "Shut your festering gob you tit! Your type makes me puke!"

    by bunsk on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 05:40:10 PM PDT

    •  At least he has Wassermna Shultz in his corner. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      She voted as a "mom" to continue the racist war on drugs. No money for the Democratic Party until she is gone as leader. Not that I support the Party, DSCC or DCCC because of their support for Blue Dogs. It just makes more sense to go through Act Blue to support progressive candidates. Maybe the DCCC will be better now that Jared Polis is in charge of candidate services.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 05:52:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republicans Are Vile. All The/Time! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    decent wages don't eliminate jobs. Republicans eliminate jobs; and workers, and prospects, and then excuse it all and call for more austerity. there is no end to their ignorant, arrogant avarice. only political dinosaurs support their treachery.

    by renzo capetti on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 05:43:50 PM PDT

  •  I wouldn't trade places w/adelson (0+ / 0-)

    for ALL his freakin' CASH!!


    by BarryWolk on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 06:17:23 PM PDT

  •  Sheldon Adelson: a man who will improve the world (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean, peptabysmal

    the moment he leaves it.

  •  On behalf of fellow Florida Residents (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RMForbes, Calamity Jean

    Mind your own damn business Sheldon Adelson.

    Were going to pass Amendment #2 whether you like it or not.

    I do wonder if he is planning to give Debbie Wasserman-Schultz a donation after opposing Amendment #2.

    She has a safe house seat but politicans still spend big on re-elections in safe seats.

    If she tried to run for statewide down the line, you never know but she sure as hell won't get my primary vote.

  •  This is a GOP GOTV effort (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Adelson might be throwing money behind the anti-pot campaign to bring out Republican voters who aren't feeling enthusiastic about Rick Scott or the pot initiative. If there are more anti-pot ads on TV, the anti-pot voters might be more likely to come out and vote for Scott.

  •  Sheldon Adelson is a throwback to 1959 (0+ / 0-)

    The only reason that we still have to pay attention to this reactionary idiot is because he has extracted billions of dollars through fraud and bribery and can spend those dollars to affect policy.

    Dollars are not speech. But they can sure buy a lot of it.

    "We are how we treat each other and nothing more."

    by Mr Bojangles on Fri Jun 13, 2014 at 11:17:15 PM PDT

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