Pubdate: Sat, 31 Jan 2015
Source: Columbus Dispatch (OH)
Copyright: 2015 The Columbus Dispatch
Author: Alan Johnson


Some of the investors in a for-profit marijuana ballot issue were 
revealed yesterday, including basketball legend Oscar Robertson and 
fashion designer Nanette Lepore.

But Ohioans still aren't getting the list of all investors or being 
told how much individuals gave.

ResponsibleOhio, the group proposing a constitutional amendment to 
legalize marijuana for personal recreational and medicinal use, 
reported raising $1.78 million and spending $1.34 million on its campaign.

Reports filed with Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted cited total 
amounts contributed, but no individuals were listed. Instead, there 
are investment groups, headquartered in Cincinnati and Chicago, which 
each contributed from $20,000 to $150,000.

The proposal would ask Ohio voters this November to decide whether 
the state should legalize marijuana for recreational and medical use. 
It would create 10 growing centers around the state, funded by 
individual investors or investor groups. The proposal would also 
establish a structure for retail sellers and provide for centers for 
distribution of medical marijuana to those with qualifying illnesses. 
The plan calls for assessing a flat 15 percent tax on revenue from 
growing, manufacturing and selling marijuana.

Also yesterday, ResponsibleOhio released the names of about a dozen 
individual investors, including Robertson, an All-American at the 
University of Cincinnati and former pro-basketball star. Robertson 
said in a statement that he decided to invest because of the need for 
medical marijuana. "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."

Lepore, the sister of state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan, D-Youngstown, 
explained in a statement why she was investing. "This is an 
incredible opportunity for places like my hometown of Youngstown to 
generate significant dollars for things like road and bridge repair, 
which in turn will create thousands of needed jobs."

Other investors include campus real-estate developer Rick Kirk, NFL 
player Frostee Rucker, Cincinnati radio-station owner Frank Wood, 
entrepreneur Sir Alan Mooney of Columbus, Cincinnati sports 
agent-businessman James Gould, philanthropist William Foster, finance 
executives William "Cheney" Pruett and John Humphrey, real-estate 
developer Bobby George, and Cincinnati philanthropist Barbara Gould.

The group must gather 305,591 valid signatures of Ohio registered 
voters to place the issue on the November ballot. Language for the 
amendment could be submitted as soon as next week.

All five statewide elected non-judicial officials, including Gov. 
John Kasich, have said they oppose the issue.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom