Sheldon Adelson Buys Editorial Support for Pot Prohibition

When Nevada's largest newspaper changed owners, it changed its position on marijuana legalization.


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For decades the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nevada's leading newspaper, has taken a libertarian approach to drug prohibition and other public policy issues. But as I explain in my latest Forbes column, all that changed after casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of the war on drugs, bought the paper last December:

In May 2014, when activists began collecting signatures for a marijuana legalization initiative that will appear on Nevada's ballot this November, the Las Vegas Review-Journal welcomed the measure as "an opportunity to reset America's costly drug war." The paper's editorial board said "taxpayers finally seem to understand that spending vast sums of money at the local, state and federal levels on police, prosecutors, public defenders, judges and jails to lock up nonviolent offenders and enable the enrichment of gangs and thugs has done nothing to diminish demand for marijuana."

On Wednesday the Review-Journal came out against the very same ballot initiative, saying "recreational weed comes with health, safety and social costs that make legalizing marijuana a dangerous proposal for Nevadans." It warned that "legalizing weed would jeopardize the health of countless Nevadans, expose more people to drug abuse and addiction, put excessive stress on the state's health-care facilities and do little to relieve the state's bloated prison population."

Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner and Republican megadonor, paid good money for that startling reversal, which was first noted by Tom Angell at Adelson, an ardent pot prohibitionist who bankrolled the opposition to a 2014 medical marijuana initiative in Florida that fell two points short of the supermajority required to pass a constitutional amendment, bought the Review-Journal last December for $140 million. That's 25 times what Adelson spent to defeat Amendment 2 in Florida, where he hopes to open a casino, but still just 0.5% of his fortune at the time, which Forbes pegged at $28 billion, making him the world's 18th richest person.

Adelson lost little time in pressuring the editorial writers at his new acquisition to reverse their position on marijuana legalization.

Read the whole thing.

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17 responses to “Sheldon Adelson Buys Editorial Support for Pot Prohibition

  1. not to sound too hateful, but he and soros just need to die. I know some new scum will take up their roles but, boy, they suck.

    1. I don’t think you sound hateful enough, actually.

      1. Oh you say that to everyone.

    2. I particularly hate this SOB. First he fucks with my ability to play online poker (and other gambling) to protect his “brick and mortar” casinos, and now he’s trying to keep me from getting stoned before playing blackjack in one of his casinos (as if I would patronize one of HIS casinos). Fuck off old man.

    3. But Soros is on the right side of this.

  2. I hate Sheldon Adelson with the white hot intensity of a thousand suns. I’m not sure what I want to happen to him. Woodchipper’s too good for him.

  3. Sheldon Adelson is every movie villain from the ’80s, isn’t he.

    We’re gonna have to hold a dance-off to keep him from shutting down the community center! Don’t tell Crusty – his signature move is illegal in 43 states.

    1. Only 43?

      1. State troopers in the remaining 7 have shoot-on-sight orders for other reasons.

  4. Things go better with Koch.

    1. Been talking to Winston’s mom again, huh?

  5. How do you know the previous owners weren’t pressuring the editorial board to support legalization? And Adelson is now just letting them write what they really feel on the issue?

    Sheldon is the hero here.

  6. Vin Suprynowicz would be spinning in his grave if he was dead. (Vin, btw, was who convinced me to support McAfee.)

  7. Sheldon’s “passion” on this subject stems from the loss of his son to a drug overdose. Perhaps he should urge his editorial staff to take a firmer stance on bad parenting.

  8. Slightly OT: So how many of our daughters have been sexually assault at college while being passed out from overindulging in weed? We want to take a big chunk out of rape and sexual assault on college campuses, legalize weed and outlaw alcohol. Just saying.

  9. His wife Miriam is a long-time addictions doctor from Israel. Normally these people are pretty evil, but to her credit she’s supported Methadone maintenance. Now she says, “I like to help people who can’t help themselves.” They are deep in the addictions dogma. Sheldon’s adopted son Mitchell killed himself after accusing his father of defrauding him out of several million dollars (in fact he was given several million and wanted more). He was a long-time AA member. Of course AA members lobby for abstinence because court ordered treatment is what fills their ranks. Surprising that the Adelsons didn’t learn their lesson after getting once bitten.

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