Casino magnate gambles another $1.5 million on Florida marijuana vote

By Bill Cotterell TALLAHASSEE Fla. (Reuters) - Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has put up another $1.5 million for opponents of a constitutional amendment that would let doctors prescribe marijuana for medical reasons in Florida. Adelson had previously given $2.5 million to the Drug Free Florida campaign opposing a constitutional amendment on the November state ballot. With his latest contribution, he has accounted for $4 million of the $4.7 million raised by opponents of the amendment, according to the group's financial reports. Orlando trial attorney John Morgan has bankrolled the pro-amendment campaign with about $4 million of his own, and has estimated he will spend $6 million on it by Nov. 4. About two-thirds of that was spent on gathering more than 600,000 voter signatures and defending the initiative in court, while the opponents did not have to get started until after the issue was approved for the ballot. Morgan began a four-city bus tour on Monday, concentrating on youthful voters at universities and community colleges in Orlando, Tampa, Palm Beach County and Miami. The Florida Sheriffs Association, which heads a coalition called “Don’t Let Florida Go To Pot,” is also waging an aggressive campaign in the four weeks before election day. Polls initially showed the amendment running well above the 60 percent required for approval, but a $1.7 million advertising effort by Drug Free Florida alleges the amendment would not limit marijuana use to sick people. (Editing by David Adams and Jim Loney)