There is news coming out of Ohio that the group behind a marijuana legalization proposal, ResponsibleOhio, is claiming that they have raised $36 million dollars. The group was receiving backlash from marijuana reform organizations and activists because their original plan gave the monopoly for marijuana cultivation to ten entities. The State of Ohio rejected the language for that proposal, but ResponsibleOhio was planning on revamping the language anyways to include a provision to allow home cultivation.
ResponsibleOhio has strong backing by people with deep pockets. Per Cleveland.Com:
Investors have raised at least $36 million to fund ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize marijuana and purchase the commercial growing sites promised to investor groups.
Investors contributed $4 million to each of nine limited liability corporations tied to ResponsibleOhio last year, according to securities offering filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. ResponsibleOhio officials have said they expect to spend more than $20 million to get their constitutional amendment on the statewide ballot and passed by a majority of voters in November.
It seems unclear right now exactly why ResponsibleOhio is planning on spending so much money on their campaign, and what the other $16 million dollars they have raised is going to be dedicated to other than securing grow facilities. Oregon, Washington, and Colorado each spent roughly 4-6 million dollars for their successful campaigns, and Alaska spent less. Ohio is a bigger state, and requires more signatures to get on the ballot, but I’m thinking that it won’t cost $20 million dollars to win on Election Day 2016. With that being said, if the new language in the initiative is good and allows people to grow their own, I don’t have a problem with rich people throwing that kind of money at a campaign.