Since gambling, dining, and over-the-top entertainment apparently isn’t enough, Las Vegas is also aiming to become the international capital for marijuana tourism. If voters in Nevada legalize recreational cannabis for adults next month, there will be no shortage of things to get into in Sin City.
But don’t do any of it at Sheldon Adelson’s casinos.
The billionaire several times over, Donald Trump supporter, and CEO of the Sands Corporation — which owns the Venetian and the Palazzo in Las Vegas as well as hotel and gambling complexes in Macau — has donated at least $3.5 million to stop legalization in its tracks in three states, according to campaign finance records.
Five states are set to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis next month: Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, and California. Adelson is meddling in Massachusetts, where he wrote a $1 million campaign check for legalization’s foes; Arizona, where he donated $500,000; and of course at home in Nevada, where he’s doled out $2 million.
Adelson has made a name for himself as a big-time Republican donor, and this is not the first time he’s chosen to try to get in the way of drug policy reform. He is also the relatively new owner of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which mysteriously started agitating against legal cannabis after his purchase. So these latest contributions to the prohibitionist cause are merely Adelson raising the stakes, doubling down, or otherwise upping the ante in his big bet against legal cannabis in the Las Vegas scene. (Pick your metaphor.)
Not that Adelson hates all drugs, or at least the dealers of other drugs’ drug money: His company had to pay $47 million in fines after a drug kingpin laundered money through his casinos.
Thus, in the same way that responsible, social justice-minded beer drinkers are eschewing Yuengling after learning that its leadership is in the bag for Donald Trump, no self-respecting cannabis supporter — and surely not any legal cannabis user — should leave so much as a dime at any one of Adelson’s many properties.
As a billionaire several times over, you might posit that Adelson won’t miss it too much. Perish the thought — 10 percent of American adults in most states use cannabis. He’ll notice if 10 percent of rooms start going vacant in favor of other hotels.
Though if a few years go by and casinos in Vegas start adding dab lounges, we’d understand if you — ahem — accidentally knock over one of Adelson’s rigs.
Does knowing Sheldon Adelson contributes to anti-cannabis efforts change your mind about spending money in his casinos?