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ResponsibleOhio Marijuana Legalization Investor Has Business Raided As Part Of Fraud Investigation


ohio marijuana medical marijuana legalizationThe ResponsibleOhio campaign has had a lot of bad PR since the campaign started. The main outrage came from a lack of home cultivation provision in the initiative’s language, and the fact that cultivation for profit would be given to just ten entities. The campaign revamped the initiative’s language to allow a home cultivation provision, but the initiative still only allows ten entities to grow marijuana for profit should the initiative become law. There is an attempt right now in Ohio’s Legislature to ban such monopolies in Ohio, which would effectively derail the initiative.

Something else that may derail the initiative is a recent raid this week against one of the investors for ResponsibleOhio. The FBI raided Evans Landscaping, owned by Douglas Evans, which is one of the ten entities that would be granted a growers license if ResponsibleOhio passed. Below is more information about the raid, via Cincinnati.Com:

The landscaping company raided by FBI agents Tuesday morning is enmeshed in a lawsuit alleging fraud involving a contract with a minority-owned business on public projects.

The lawsuit claims Evans Landscaping is at the heart of a “malicious civil conspiracy” regarding contracts with both the state of Ohio and the city of Cincinnati. The suit alleges Evans Landscaping officials improperly took public money meant for a minority-owned contractor. Evans Landscaping has also sued, claiming lack of payment from that contractor.

The FBI would not say why it raided Evans Landscaping.

At this point, I don’t think that anyone knows for sure why the raid occurred. Yes, there has been talk about it being a fraud investigation, but how Evans Landscaping fits into that investigation is not clear. But, regardless, I think that a lot of PR damage was done with the raid. The initiative was already looked upon by many with suspicion, and having one of the ten entities that would get in on the marijuana-for-profit monopoly in Ohio raided as part of a fraud investigation can’t help, no matter how the company is tied into the investigation. Opponents of the initiative, from outside and within the marijuana community, will now point to this incident over and over as a reason to not trust the campaign.


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Johnny Green


  1. There is no wedge whatsoever, and there doesn’t need to be a false dichotomy. It’s not an either-or proposition; there is no reason at all people can’t vote yes for both RO this year, just in case, and yes for OTEP next year, if they actually get on the ballot.
    A yes vote for one now takes nothing away from the other later.

  2. If you’re talking about OTEP being “funded and organized,” I sure wish you’d show us some objective evidence.
    Where can one go to sign their petition?
    The website has said, for about two months now, that “we will begin gathering petition signatures in a few weeks.”
    I wish OTEP all the luck in the world, but they don’t seem, so far, to be organized enough to even update their website with this critical bit of information.

  3. more fear mongering from an RO shill. Ohio’s free market plan in 2016 is funded and organized. We DO have options thanks

  4. HmmmSaysDavidHume on

    Uh, nice try at sophistry but I have been an ardent supporter of legalization for some 25 years now. I will not support, under any circumstances, any bill that seizes a state constitution for the creation of a cartel, or otherwise restricts free market economics. This applies to any group and any issue. I am unwavering in this principle.

    Is that clear enough for you?

  5. Evans is a landscaping company, true, but they are also very heavily into demolition, especially of blighted, abandoned properties in Cincinnati, and heavy equipment support for major civil engineering projects.

  6. You guessed it familyguy, I’m a huge drug dealer that’s terrified RO is going to put me out of business. Why is that the only argument you RO people have when someone is against this monopoly you want?? You’ll be the first one crying if these clowns get their monopoly and start charging 400.00oz. This is terrible legislation and the only people that support it are either to stoned to care or are paid by RO, I’m guessing your not bright enough to care. Also, it’s “mere drug peddler” not “mire drug peddler” you must be stoned.

  7. What’s it to you unless you are selling in the black market and you seem to be interested only for yourself and not really caring of other Ohioans. Just stay out of it. It is obvious that you are not an investor but a mire drug peddler.

  8. An interesting thought, but the feds are allowing commercial growing in other states, and those exclusive licenses aren’t going to last that long, they’re offensive to a wide range of people, and the legislature can put a constitutional amendment undoing them on the ballot at will, and a commission set up by the governor can also authorize additional growers, so I see them exploiting their cartel as much as they can while they can.

  9. It doesn’t seem that the politicians like RO better than any other legalization proposal, they are trying to pull a scam to derail it, changing the rules in the middle of the game.

  10. David Hefner on

    They are desparate and will do anything to thwart the cause. But…get this….those ten licenses? It’s will still be against the law, federally, to grow. They are not going to risk losing millions. They will sit on the licenses until federal recognizes marijuana. Then those ten licenses will be sold to the highest bidder. Watch and see.

  11. That’s not even close to true, all this legislation will do is create a constitutionally protected drug cartel, think I’ll pass

  12. There are no politicians that are angels. How do you think they got there. If you want legal cannabis go vote yes.

  13. see what I mean john the topic you are bring up is creating a wedge among voters already.

  14. they are the only outfit with a realistic chance of passing a cannabis bill like or not.

  15. You are correct in your comment but not a single person has ever died of cannabis. Vote yes because he is correct Ohio will never have legal weed if it fails.

  16. Johnny has no depth. The implication of this bill failing are yes cannabis will be legal or not. Well financed and well organized efforts are had to come by. If it fails Ohio will never have legal cannabis.

  17. Two days ago the US house rejected to reschedule cannabis to schedule 2 with Ohio being a swing state with usually a bigger number of republicans, I would dare say if this bill fails Ohio will never have legal cannabis. Voters need to think. This is a well financed and well organized effort, that may fail. Poorly organized and poorly financed efforts are certain to fail. I’d vote for this bill now and leaving the fixing for later.

  18. if you don’t have the political pull and fundraising ability to win Ohio needs this bill to pass. Poor and unorganized efforts will always fail. If the dominos are falling so fast then why did the US house of representative reject the rescheduling of cannabis to schedule 2. This is Ohio’s only chance of passing whether you want admit that or not is your problem. The only sleazy people are the prohibitionist and the greedy that feel they should have a part of everything without putting effort in it. You are warring a mask. I really think you are a prohibitionist parading as some type of equality fighter creating a wedge among the voters and that feel that this is the only way for the bill to fail. This may happen but Ohio will never have legal weed. You have no muscle.

  19. It’s only parts of the proposal that are un-American. If this passes and basic legalization in Ohio is a fait accompli, the main question remaining is what kind of distribution system Ohio will have for cannabis. Once that is the issue, how many allies will RO have for something you’ve correctly called un-American? Only the ones they’ve paid for and it will be obvious what their motives are. I can’t see their monopoly surviving past the 2018 election, if not next year. If RO passes, I could see a consensus in Ohio and Ohio government next year that the crony capitalist part of it should be repealed by another amendment, which the legislature can send to the people at will.

  20. Elaborating on your point about Ohio serving as a catalyst to its neighbors – Michigan, for one, has an active citizen initiative legalization campaign, MILegalize, and the last poll there had shockingly good results: 56% in favor of legalizing and only 36% opposed (hope the national reform groups have noticed!).
    Just looking at the economic development aspect, legalization in Ohio would strengthen the argument that Michigan should move now to avoid being left behind.

  21. It’s a very messy way to get it legalized to begin with, and this won’t help. But I’m still leaning to the view that unless competing Ohio initiatives can show some political muscle, it’s worth voting for. One big reason is that medical marijuana patients just can’t wait. Another is that it will push the national debate forward, giving the prohibs a BIG punch in the nose before the 2016 campaigns even begin. RO isn’t nearly as disgusting as prohibition is.

    RO is using cannabis consumers, but we’re using them too, because if we help this to pass, we’ll quickly turn around and start working to get the crony capitalist parts of RO ended.

    OTEP, the ball is in your court. Show you are a realistic alternative to RO before people have to vote this November.

  22. “there is no reason whatever to take whatever comes along.” Unless you live in a state where legislators are vehemently opposed to legalization, across the board; unless you live in a state where every grassroots effort for the last five or ten years has utterly failed to even make the ballot; unless you live in a state where the next leading contender, for NEXT year, OTEP, is showing no sign whatsoever of being viable even a year from now; unless you live in a state where you’re tired of being the LAST to do the things politically that every other state has already done, and reaped the rewards for YEARS before you…

    On the national front, you point to California as a keystone (apologies to PA) state, but California is a foregone conclusion. How much more impact on the national movement would legalization in OHIO have? I believe it would serve as a catalyst for quite a few neighboring states to pass their own recreational legalization.

    Nothing is forever, not even a constitutional amendment, as evidenced by not only this but the legislatures own, fast track, constitutional amendment. Those who point to the constitution and say “now it is carved in stone for all time” are ignoring just how easy it is for legislators to put a constitutional amendment before the voters. Once RO passes, the political suicide moment for supporting legalization will have passed in Ohio, freeing legislators to write and present a new amendment that is more equitable.

    Legalization is job one – the sooner, the better.

  23. To all you who keep saying RO is bad, look how long people have been trying to get it legal in the past and have failed each and every time RO and the 10 backers are the ones that are getting this done. Everyone is just mad because they didn’t put up 20 mil like Taft to get a piece of the pie . To be honest most of you could not have put that much into legalizing marijuana even if you had the chance. But I guess money rules all. Go RO!!!

  24. Johnny oneye on

    California, long beach held a “lottery”
    For MMJ shops
    judge deems “unconstitutional ”
    Santa Ana , lottery rift with bribes and political “donations ”

    N.Y. – 5 distributors 20 outlets for all of N.Y.
    without home cultivation, collective gardening we are subject to monopolys with one intention
    Legalization is coming, just like alcohol #prohibition
    1 state at a time

  25. HmmmSaysDavidHume on

    Yeah, the superficially informed are so blinded by their desire to see a measure pass they will advicate for anything.

    The problem with this attitude is it is not the axis of discussion any longer. With four states having legal cannabis and CA appearing more and more likely to also pass a recreational bill, there is no reason whatever to take whatever comes along. This is especially true when 10 people work fevereshly to deceive voters into believing a constitutional oligopoly is the only way to get legal cannabis.

    What these very sleazy operators are doing is working off the model they used to lock a CONSTITIONAL MONOPOLY on casino gambling in Ohio. They lied at every turn, and failed to follow through on any promises. Now theses same sleazeballs are at it again, only this time they are going after a much bigger market and are duplicating the same predatory practices in other states.

    These people are not the kind of Americans anyone should ever trust or allow to seize a constitution for their own greed. And in any case, with their stated plans to control and artificially inflate prices, they have already proven they will collude to the detriment of consumers, and. the black market they claim to be destroying will continue to fliurish.

    They are sleazy. The proposal is un-American. These predators must be stopped no mater what shortsighted goals activists and others seeking to gain may have. We can all wait until legislation that adheres to free markets appears. In no instance should any citizen allow their constitution to be bastardized for a handful of wealthy collaborators.

    We declared out independence from England, in part, over such monied privilege. You should question the patriotism of anyone who thinks otherwise: they either are ignorant or predators as it relates to this.

  26. BlueJaySays on

    Thank you for posting this balanced and truthful article, Johnny. Your articles are always very much appreciated.

  27. Please tell me what other chance Ohio has to legalize cannabis in 2015.
    I’ll be waiting.
    Speaking of waiting, OTEP has four months to prove they are worth the wait for 2016. Their proposal has been approved for nearly three weeks now; how many signatures have they gathered? Why aren’t they trumpeting those numbers?
    Better yet, where might one find one of their petitions to sign? There’s certainly no information on their website about that. Why not? It sure seems pretty basic, and if they don’t have their act together enough to even let people know where they can go to sign their petition, what makes you think they’ll have their act together enough to make the ballot next year?
    Cannabis legalization is going to be a front-and-center topic in Ohio for the next four months. There will never be a better time for OTEP to get the signatures they need. Are you suggesting that if OTEP doesn’t have at least half the signatures they need for 2016 by this year’s election that we should wait for them anyway?

  28. keep tellin us about how bad you want a store. all about that money, right? as long as the end justifies the means, who cares HOW it gets done, and HOW terrible the consequences of a millionaire monopoly controlling Ohio’s thc supply AND being constitutionally protected might be?


    I f*ck w/ you because you constantly defending RO as Ohio’s ONLY chance to have legal, when it’s not.

  29. I will open a store no matter whose amendment or bill passes. All that matters to me is that cannabis gets legalized so I can do so. Why are you so convinced that I’m tied to RO? I have spent just as much time on this and other blogs promoting OTEP. You need to quit being such a jerk to me.
    Just because someone isn’t frothing at the mouth against RO doesn’t mean they find nothing wrong with it.

  30. you getting nervous about not having the option to open your store under RapaciousOhio, JOHN?

    i would be nervous…ResponsibleOhio being an absurd TURD n all

  31. What’s the point of this reply to my post, which did nothing more than fill in the details of the back story? I passed no judgment whatsoever, neither approbation nor disapproval, for what seems to have happened.

  32. yup nothing wrong w/ a little ole Ohio fraud, these ResponsibleOhio investors are just playing by the rules. They are Ohio’s christ-like saviors, and if we dont vote YES to a monopoly Ohio wont see legal marijuana for over 500 BILLION years.

    Bottomline: If we dont vote YES to the corrupt Millionaire Monopoly over 800ZILLION children will DIE because they couldnt smoke a medicinal blunt

  33. What may have happened here happens all the time. The city is required to award a certain number of infrastructure contracts to minority-owned businesses. The problem is, there aren’t enough such businesses that have the resources to handle the contracts. As a result, new minority-owned companies are often formed, sometimes with the help of large companies who actually have the resources to get the job done. The MO company gets the contract, and then subcontracts the work back to the bigger company, usually taking 10-15% off the top.
    So the MO company gets paid for doing nothing, while the larger company gets the job they should have rightfully earned anyway, but they have to do it at reduced profit.
    To counter that, the MO company, which is guaranteed to get the job no matter what the price, jacks up the quote.
    This has been going on here in Cincinnati for as long as the MO quota requirement has existed.
    Maybe Doug made someone mad, and they called in the Feds on him.

  34. Move along folks nothing to see here, just some more RO investors being exposed for the criminals they are.

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