Nevada Publication Reverses Pro-Cannabis Stance Following Pressure From New Owner

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In unfortunate news, The Las Vegas Review-Journal, a formerly pro-pot publication out of Nevada, has turned an about face and recently published an editorial piece that demonizes cannabis legalization — presumably a result of mounting pressure from the paper’s new billionaire owner, Sheldon Adelson.

The Review-Journal has published pro-cannabis editorials as recently as last December (such as when the paper criticized the U.S. Postal Service for threatening newspapers that published cannabis advertisements), Tom Angell notes in a report for Marijuana.com.

Also in December, however, the paper was purchased by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who — as one of the world’s richest individuals — does not shrink away from massive political contributions and their ability to influence elections. A stalwart supporter of continued prohibition, Adelson contributed roughly $5 million to narrowly defeat Florida’s medical marijuana initiative in 2014.

When Adelson took over the Review-Journal, the editorial staff was summarily pressured to attend a drug treatment center and reexamine their pro-legalization stance. The recent editorial, published on Tuesday, seems to indicate that Adelson’s strategy succeeded.

“It’s pretty obvious that this is the position of an overzealous newspaper owner and not that of an objective editorial board,” commented Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. “Most Nevadans are already wary of Adelson, and now they are probably even more so given how glaring the hypocrisy is in this case. This is a guy who has made a fortune pushing booze on casino-goers, but wants to keep a much less harmful product illegal. Hopefully the Review-Journal will keep Adelson’s opinion confined to the opinion section and not let it leak into its new coverage.”

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