Top Five "Questionable Characters" Involved With Drug Free Florida
3. Mel Sembler
Sembler is a Republican fundraiser and the former ambassador to Italy under George W. Bush. He's most noted for cofounding Straight Inc. with his wife.
Straight Inc. was a drug rehab program for youth that had to shut down after accusations of abuse and false imprisonment.
A former member of Straight sued the group for allegedly being held against his will and was awarded $220,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.
In 1993, an audit on Straight suggested that Florida officials renewed the license of the drug treatment center due to pressure from state senators and from Sembler himself.
Sembler then founded Drug Free Florida with his wife, Betty.
2. Carlton Turner
Former Ronald Reagan drug czar Carlton E. Turner made a name for himself for coming up with the "Just Say No" campaign that bombarded radio, TV, and comic books back in the 1980s, warning kids of the dangers of drugs. He's also known for claiming that marijuana is not only a gateway drug to other illegal substances but apparently also the gateway drug to AIDS.
"Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and ultimately, AIDS," Turner famously said in 1986.
In a recent interview with Fox Business, Turner claimed that marijuana impairs the immune system and that weed has, as he puts it, "more cancer-causing compounds than cigarettes."
As the group's chair, Turner has been tasked with getting funding for Drug Free Florida. He found a pretty big donor in....
1. Sheldon Adelson
With a net worth of $37 billion, Adelson, who has been a big-time contributor to conservative campaigns, is chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which runs the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. And he recently dipped into his deep pockets to give Drug Free Florida $2.5 million.
He has also funded drug addiction clinics in Nevada and Israel and believes pot to be a gateway drug. A casino owner funding addiction clinics is not ironic at all.
But Adelson is also known for being a bigot.
He is widely known for his anti-Palestine stance. He once suggested that the U.S. should drop an "atomic weapon... in the middle of the [Negev]" and that the Palestinians are an "invented people."
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