Sheldon Adelson, the Republican super-donor and casino billionaire, hasn’t been as generous with Donald Trump as he once promised to be, giving the party standard-bearer a mere $5 million. But new campaign finance disclosures from Nevada show that he hasn’t pulled back in one area — trying to stop recreational pot from becoming legal in his state.
The Adelson-owned Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Sunday that he gave another $1.35 million to Protecting Nevada’s Children, the political action committee opposing recreational pot. He previously gave the effort $2 million, and the vast majority of funds for the campaign have come from Adelson.
Nevadans will be voting in November on Question 2, a ballot referendum that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes for people over 21 years old.
Adelson and allies indicate they have personal reasons for fighting legalization. A spokesman for Adelson and his wife Miriam told NBC in 2014 that the two opposed recreational pot because one of their children died of a drug overdose and because Miriam, as an internist, had seen the ravages of drug addiction.
“It is a personal passion of theirs,” Andy Abboud told the network. “Pro marijuana folks have awoken a sleeping giant in Sheldon and Miriam Adelson.”
Adelson has not been shy about promoting his interests and ideas through politics. He was part of a consortium that in October convinced the state legislature to finance the construction of a football stadium to support a business deal in which he was a major stakeholder.
He has also been a leading advocate of a nationwide ban on Internet gambling, which could threaten the profits of his casinos.
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Daniel J. Solomon is the Assistant to the Editor/News Writer at the Forward. Originally from Queens, he attended Harvard as an undergraduate, where he wrote his senior thesis on French-Jewish intellectual history. He is excited to have returned to New York after his time in Massachusetts. Daniel’s passions include folk music, cycling, and pointed argument.