Billionaire casino founder Sheldon Adelson has given another $1 million to the campaign against medical marijuana in Florida, recent records from the Florida Divisions of Elections show.
Adelson gave $1 million to the Drug Free Florida committee between Sept. 3 and Sept. 9.
Drug Free Florida/Vote No on 2 is the campaign actively working against Amendment 2, a constitutional amendment which would legalize medical marijuana for Floridians with “debilitating” medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and glaucoma.
Adelson, a kingpin Republican fundraiser, has been a strong supporter of the anti-medical marijuana campaign. He contributed a colossal amount of money -- to the tune of $5.5 million -- to the Drug Free Florida committee in 2014 when it waged war against the medical marijuana amendment the first time it came to Florida ballots.
The first time medical marijuana hit ballots in Florida, it was not successful. Medical marijuana fell short of the necessary 60 percent to pass, only receiving 58 percent of the vote.
This year, the bulk of the money from Drug Free Florida has come from large contributors like Adelson. Other backers have included Mel Sembler, Publix heiress Carol Jenkins and Al Hoffman, Jr.
The group supporting Amendment 2, People United For Medical Marijuana, has raised over $10,000 during the month of September, with the largest donation coming from Chris Driessen, president of Organa Brands/Open Vape in Colorado. The remaining money came primarily from small donations.
Only licensed physicians would be able to prescribe the drug to needy patients, and would need to determine whether using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
Medical marijuana has already hit the scene in Florida, where lawmakers passed the first legalization of medical marijuana two years ago.
Legislators green-lighted a low-dose of the drug called “Charlotte’s Web” for patients with epilepsy. Dispensaries started providing the drug to Floridians this summer and have since expanded their operations statewide.
Polling suggests medical marijuana is in a good position to pass in November. Many surveys have shown strong support for the constitutional amendment. A survey released earlier this month from Democrat-aligned Public Policy Polling (PPP) showed 70 percent of likely voters support Amendment 2 while only 23 percent said they oppose the measure. Democrats typically tend to favor passing the amendment more than Republicans, but more than half of Republicans said they were in favor of medical marijuana.
Even state lawmakers have hopped on to support Amendment 2. Last week, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said he was in support of legalizing medical marijuana.
United For Care sent a message to its supporters late Friday afternoon, urging them to answer the fundraising call to help pass the amendment in November.
“We can't allow this to go unanswered,” said United For Care spokesperson Ben Pollara. “ We must raise money to stay as close as we can.”
The general election will be held Nov. 8.