Pubdate: Sat, 31 Jan 2015
Source: Dayton Daily News (OH)
Copyright: 2015 Dayton Daily News
Author: Laura A. Bischoff


Initiative Aims to Put Legalized Marijuana Issue on Ohio Ballot.

Columbus - Former and current COLUMBUS pro-athletes, real estate 
developers, a fashion designer and a sports agent are among the 
investors backing a campaign to ask voters this fall to legalize 
marijuana in Ohio for personal and medicinal use.

ResponsibleOhio, which is campaigning for a constitutional amendment, 
on Friday disclosed the following partial list of its financial backers:

Oscar Robertson, former basketball player for the NBA's Milwaukee 
Bucks and Cincinnati Royals.

Frostee Rucker, former player for the Cincinnati Bengals and 
Cleveland Browns who now plays defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals.

Frank Wood, a former owner of radio stations, who is now a 
Cincinnatibased venture capitalist.

Rick Kirk, a Denison University graduate and former player for the 
Pittsburgh Steelers who now runs a real estate company in Columbus.

Nanette Lepore, a fashion designer in New York who is a Youngstown native.

Alan Mooney, who is an investor and board member of the Ohio Council 
of Churches.

William Foster, who is an entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Bobby George, who is a real estate developer.

Finance executives William "Cheney" Pruett and John Humphrey.

ResponsibleOhio previously disclosed that siblings Barbara and James 
Gould of Cincinnati are backing the ballot issue. Barbara Gould, who 
served on the Ohio Arts Council, supports legalizing marijuana ever 
since her husband was unable to obtain medical marijuana while 
suffering from terminal cancer.

James Gould is a sports agent and private equity investor who serves 
on the board of directors for Build-A-Bear.

"The campaign is honored to have such well-respected businesswomen 
and men, as well as patient advocates supporting our effort to offer 
a common-sense solution to Ohio's failed drug policies," said Ian 
James, ResponsibleOhio's executive director.

Robertson, whose NBA career spanned from 1960 to 1974, said in a 
written statement that he is backing the campaign because he believes 
in access to medical marijuana. He said in a written statement: "It's 
a terrible feeling when you can't help someone suffering from cancer 
or another debilitating medical condition - I know from personal 
experience. But medical marijuana can give our loved ones relief. I'm 
part of ResponsibleOhio because I want to be part of making this 
change a reality."

Other investors say they're behind the issue because it'll spur 
economic development or they oppose spending public money on 
enforcing marijuana prohibition laws.

ResponsibleOhio said it expects to release proposed ballot language 
in February. Investors backing the campaign, which is expected to 
cost more than $25 million, will control the 10 growing sites for 
legal marijuana, if the ballot issue passes.

Once the ballot language for a constitutional amendment is approved, 
ResponsibleOhio will have to collect more than 305,000 valid 
signatures of registered Ohio voters by July 1 to put the issue on the ballot.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom