UPDATE: As the November elections near, Sheldon Adelson has dug even deeper into his never-ending pockets and donated another $1.5 million to the Drug Free Florida campaign.
Big-money casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has jumped into the anti-medical marijuana fray by opening his deep wallet and donating $2.5 million to the Drug Free Florida campaign, the group looking to derail Florida's Amendment 2 initiative.
Adelson has made a name for himself as one of the biggest donors to conservative movements and campaigns over the years and is widely known for his anti-Palestine stance. He once suggested that the U.S. should drop an "atomic weapon... in the middle of the [Negev]" and that the Palestinians are an "invented people."
Adelson also donated $250,000 to a PAC that supported Gov. Rick Scott in 2012. But Adelson pulled his support after Scott began negotiating the gaming compact with the Seminole Tribe.
With a net worth of $37 billion, the 80-year-old Adelson is chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which runs the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.
Adelson has donated $5 million to the conservative super-PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, as well as to the Republican National Committee.
And now the billionaire has decided to open his checkbook for Drug Free Florida, the chief anti-medical marijuana group that has teamed up with the Florida Sheriffs Association in an attempt to try to get voters to punch "no" on 2 in November.
Drug Free Florida is chaired by Carlton Turner, Ronald Reagan's former drug czar, who once said that marijuana leads to homosexuality and AIDS.
Adelson, who has funded drug addiction clinics in Nevada and Israel, believes pot to be a gateway drug and is looking to influence the race against the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida.
Adelson also represents the foil to pro-medical marijuana advocates, United for Care, who is backed by John Morgan, an Orlando-based attorney who has thrown in $4 million of his own money to get Amendment 2 pushed through.
Morgan's father and brother had suffered from cancer and injuries and found relief in marijuana for medicinal purposes. So for Morgan, as it is with many who are advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana, it's been a personal issue.
Morgan is chairman for United for Care.
On Tuesday afternoon, the group sent an email to supporters asking for donations in response to Adelman's big check to the anti-medical marijuana campaign.
"This new development means we're going to have an even better funded opposition than we thought," United for Care Campaign Manager Ben Pollara wrote. "And we need to raise a lot more money to stay competitive on the airways, online, and at the door."
Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.