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What Are The Ten Entities Behind ResponsibleOhio’s Marijuana Legalization Initiative?


Responsible Ohio LogoIf you follow marijuana politics, then you know that Ohio has a marijuana legalization initiative that will be on the ballot in 2015. The initiative has drawn a lot of controversy because it only allows ten entities to grow recreational marijuana for profit in Ohio. The ten entities that get to grow marijuana for profit are the only ones funding the initiative as far as I know. So who are these ten entities? Below is a list of who will be able to grow marijuana for profit if the initiative passes, via Marijuana Business Daily:

• Licking County site – Dr. Suresh Gupta and Alan Mooney, principal of Mooney Wealth Advisory.

Hamilton County siteWilliam Foster, owner of A-1 Quality Logistical Solutions; Arizona Cardinals player Frostee Rucker; and former American National Basketball Association star Oscar Robertson.

Lorain County site – Bobby George, executive with Corporate Management Group.

Clermont County site – Frank Wood, CEO of Secret Communications.

Lucas County site – David Bastos, partner in Capital Investment Group.

Delaware County siteJennifer Doering, general manager of Chas. Seligman Distributing Co., in Kentucky.

Summit County siteWilliam “Cheney” Pruett, CEO of DMP Investments, in Texas; John Humphreys, chief financial officer of DMP Investments; and singer/restaurateur Nick Lachey.

Butler County site – Fashion designer Nanette Lapore; philanthropist Barbara Gould; Paul Heldman, former executive with Kroger Co.; financier Woody Taft; and musician Dudley Taft Jr.

Franklin County site – Rick Kirk, CEO of Hallmark Campus Communities.

• Stark County site – Ben Kovler, who runs a Chicago-based investment fund; and Peter Kadens, a Chicago entrepreneur in the solar energy industry.

All eyes will be on Ohio in November. The campaign has done a poor job of working with the cannabis community and supporters, and has caused future harms with their ‘Buddie the marijuana mascot’ gimmick. With that being said, marijuana prohibition is a horrible thing. How do readers feel? Do you think this is a ‘marijuana legalization at all costs scenario?’ Or do you feel that this is the best that Ohio can do, and that people should vote for it?

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  • Joe

    This is Ohio’s one and only chance unless the federal government does something about it. So what, if there are only 10 growing sites. Grow your own and don’t support the 10 entities. Marijuana supporters need to vote yes this November. We’ve been hearing for years about groups getting on the ballot but never have made it. It’s now or never. A bird in the hand is better than 2 in the bush. We’ve got our bird. Now don’t let it go just to hear a group next year say sorry we didn’t make the ballot again. Is it really worth that chance? Yes it’s going to make people richer, but if that’s all your worried about then you better stop buying gas because every time you do you’re doing the same thing your upset about with this plan. VOTE YES!!!

    • beastiebloomz

      Grow ur own is not an option that’s why this is so fucked

      • Joe

        Yes it is. You can have 4 flowing plants and up to 8 ounces of homegrown.

        • I get a pound a plant, guess I can’t move to Ohio!

          • JohnB

            Well, good for you, if that’s actually true. But Ohio’s law only allows for indoor grows, and almost no one can grow a one-pound-of-buds plant indoors, not without a very elaborate commercial or quasi-commercial setup.
            That’s not what this is about; it’s about allowing home growers to produce more than enough for even the heaviest of personal consumption.

          • familyguy

            You are a rogue drug dealer a common everyday criminal. We want taxed, controlled legal product. Stay out of Ohio we simply don’t need you.

      • familyguy

        Most the homegrown weed I have ever smoke sucked. Let the pro handle the growing I just need some quality stuff. In all reality you are a prohibitionist parading as some kind of anti-monopoly champion. OHIO VOTERS BEWARE OF THE ANTI LEGALIZATION SITES.
        They all have one thing in common that cannabis prohibition continue. If you have already read their baloney, you probably already realize how full of crap they are. They also leave no room for comments or allow you to only use the old mom and pop computer communication via facebook. Legalize while you still have a chance VOTE YES ON 3, NO on 2.

        • Joe

          Once people start mastering the art of home growing, the home grown will be better than the retail. By the way, it’s 4 flowering plants per license holder in each household. Which also means 2 people can have a pound of homegrown at any given time in their house and 8 more plants that are flowering. If this plan didn’t allow for it, I wouldn’t be for it. Fortunately it does. YES ON 3!!

  • musicfan

    Responsible Ohio’s initiative is not perfect, but the money has to come from somewhere. The bottom line is, Initiative 3 is better than prohibition, the ten sites can increase in the future if supply is inadequate, and unlike Washington State – at least RO allows home grows. If I lived in Ohio, I would vote Yes on 3 and No on 2 to end prohibition now.

    Waiting for perfect initiatives only guarantees many losses and routinely losing wears out local volunteers who of course will also need to raise $20 million or more (don’t forget the court battles) to compete. Drug Warriors will crush Initiative 3 any way they can including divide and conquer. Example: Ohio NORML has drunk the Drug Warrior Kool-Aid and now opposes Initiative 3 while wiser minds at national NORML support Initiative 3 (with reservations). ACLU of Ohio also supports Initiative 3. Listen to Radical Russ’s podcasts for more information.

    Voting against prohibition and against wishes of the cops, prosecutors, and drug warriors is the safest bet in my experience. Here’s hoping Ohio doesn’t wait for idealism instead of voting common sense. That “idealism” thing is unlikely to happen before we get “legal enough” to get federal banking laws fixed and fair treatment from the IRS. Voting yes on 3 and no on 2 will add to the growing momentum. And, might as well quit getting arrested in the mean time. Thanks and good luck Ohio.

    • Theryl McCoy

      You’ve got to be kidding me….
      “The Ohio bill would authorize 10 production facilities to serve as the only legal sources of marijuana within the state—and the land for these parcels is owned by the backers of the proposition.”
      This is old school politics. It DOESN’T WORK THIS WAY ANYMORE. Prop 3 is not for the people.

  • darthhillbilly

    I say yes on 3. Prohibition needs to end. Every 45 seconds someone is arrested for marijuana…fix the rules later, change the law NOW!

  • JohnB

    YES on 3.
    It’s important to note that the folks listed in this article are just some of the investors in a plan created by The Strategy Network, which in turn created the PAC, ResponsibleOhio.

    Far too many people think that these investors somehow wrote the plan; nothing could be further from the truth.
    The Strategy Network presented it to them, and they were chosen to get the sales pitch specifically because they were both wealthy and amenable to the idea of cannabis reform.

  • Fr33dom

    1) Why do folks think that this oligopoly will last? OH will have to contend with the marketplace which exists, legal or not. Folks in OH are going to buy good weed, and that’s going to come from CA, OR, and WA. You can’t control the laws of physics or the market through legislation.
    2) this law restores the 4th amendment because weed or the smell of it is no longer a crime.
    3) how can you fight for your rights and hire lobbyists if you are a criminal? This law will start an avalanche, because consumers who are now criminals will be incalculably less disenfranchised.

    • JohnB

      Exactly, any economic advantage the ten companies might get is temporary.
      Interstate commerce, specifically the commerce clause of the US Constitution, will nullify the so-called monopoly once there is federal re-legalization.
      Yes, that will require a court challenge to the portion of the amendment that requires retailers to buy from the ten authorized wholesalers, but it’s a legal decision that will be a slam dunk.
      Big national companies will be wanting to open cannabis franchises in Ohio, and this amendment will not withstand their legal challenges.

      • Fr33dom

        Exactly! And even if it’s not a slam dunk (which it is!) so what? Folks will still buy their weed from whatever entities have the best weed. Regulations must deal with the reality of the market, not vice versa. This is why we’re ending prohibition. Because making weed illegal has little to no effect on the market. It just makes criminals out of people who don’t have to be.

  • vickia52

    remember where we were a couple of years ago?? baby steps, quit try to take more than? we have to show “them” that Ohioans can “handle” this BIG step!!!

  • disqus_khOigjnTmd

    WTF is going on with the comment section of this article? All I can tell is that, going by replies, every single post opposing the initiative has been deleted. There’s no way to tell now if the deleted posts are all by the same person or by different people, but it sure feels slanted to only get half of the discussion.

    Also, I do not trust JohnB’s stated impartiality – no one takes the time to reply to nearly every single comment on an article like this, and to go after the people leading the charge in the other direction, if they don’t have some sort of skin in the game.

    Finally, JohnB and J C Unacapher’s claims that the anti-monopoly ballot measure would make any future legalization / rescheduling unconstitutional is total BS, only possible with a deliberate misreading of the text. The sentence in question, omitting the legalese filler, is that if the voters approve a initiative allowing “the creation of a monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel for the sale, distribution, or other use of any federal Schedule I controlled substance, then…that entire proposed constitutional amendment shall not take effect.” Note that it has to be a monopoly, oligopoly, etc, FOR the sale of the drug. But in their arguments they seem to only start paying attention at “the sale, distribution, or any other use,” ‘forgetting’ the all-important limiting clause beforehand. That’s misleading, and as well-versed as they claim to be on the issue, they definitely know better.

    • The person who wrote them deleted them. I thought it was odd too. I don’t delete comments unless I have too

      • disqus_khOigjnTmd

        Thanks, I appreciate the reply. I didn’t mean to insinuate anything, you run a quality site.

    • JohnB

      I do have “skin in the game”; first and foremost, I live in Ohio, and I want issue 3 to pass so that we can have legal cannabis.
      Second, it annoys me greatly that people who have obviously never even read the actual amendment want to make all sort of far-fetched claims about it, or its effects.
      I’m also frankly a fan of the amendment behind issue 3, because having read every single legalization language in the nation so far, I concluded that this one is the best and most comprehensive by far.
      Have you read it?
      If not, you should, even if you’re not an Ohio voter.
      The mechanisms it creates for controlling a currently uncontrolled cannabis economy are remarkable, and well considered.
      Aside from the so-called monopoly, the amendment’s language could be a very good model of federal legalization; it allows legal cannabis without just throwing open the doors to mayhem.

      As far as the quoted section of issue 2 goes, you have to read the referenced sections 1 and 2 to understand how the prohibition against schedule 1 substances applies to more than just this election. Essentially, the first two sections make ANY voter initiative in the future that has any economic component whatsoever (and they all do) a “monopoly.”

      btw: the deleted posts were all from one person, Blazzin Buds. Sorry to have clogged up the comment board with what amounted to a conversation with him.

  • Buzzby19491

    I plan on voting “Yes” on both Issues 2 & 3. Issue 2 stops initiatives from instituting monopolies in the Ohio Constitution. Issue 3 is Responsible Ohio’s legalization amendment to the Ohio Constitution. If both pass, Issue 2 will block Issue 3’s full implementation. I want legalization. I don’t want the Ohio Constitution sold to the highest bidder.

    • Joe

      I don’t trust that issue 2 won’t be turned into something to block all legalization efforts in the future. After all, it was written by the politicians who are against marijuana legalization. Think about it.

  • Steve Nickerson

    ROs proposal is shameful…Do not legalize at all cost as this will all become legal in future anyway. I am for legalization but against forming a cartel to control the grow sector. The grow market should be free and open to all…

    • JohnB

      That depends on what your goal is. If your goal is create a new legal economy, where folks spend their disposable income on a luxury product that in turn creates jobs and funds tax revenues, then starting a race to the bottom is definitely NOT a good idea.

      If EVERYBODY can grow it and sell it, then you not only lose control from a regulatory standpoint (testing, quality control, child-proof packaging, etc), you also will create a glut that will make the product ultimately valueless.
      Washington State is a good example; there is such a glut right now that the 400 licensed growers so far are begging the state to quit issuing licenses.
      That’s right, they want a “monopoly” of 400 – ethically no different than a “monopoly” of ten.

      That may sound good to certain consumers, who want to be able to buy cannabis by the bushel for just a few dollars, but in terms of creating a viable economic system that also controls a product that needs to be kept away from teens and children, “free and open to all” is a terrible idea.

    • Joe

      I’m tired of waiting for something that never happens. To many groups have come and gone here in Ohio and no one except RO had made the ballot. I don’t really like how it’s written but I’ll grow my own rather than support the growers. Yes on 3.

  • Fr33dom

    Most all initiatives have cartels. NY has 5 growers who only grow for sick people who qualify. I didn’t hear a peep out of stoners against legalization then. MA limits growers -and has a cartel – by having exorbitant license fees. Again, no complaints about cartels.

    There is no perfect law. Fighting for freedom is a process that never ends. No law will be good enough and we’ll always fight for better.

    OH doesn’t have the choice between a perfect law and RO. They have the choice of what they have now – prohibition- vs RO. Take what you can get now, because you have no guarantees that you will get this choice for years to come. Which means thousands of needless arrests every year. To protect whom? The cartel of growers we have now who gouge us with prohibition prices? Who make prohibition profits by throwing the consumers under the bus? Just another example of capitalist special interests not giving a crap about the people who make them rich.

    Why didn’t illegal growers get together and pay for an initiative that THEY liked? Because most growers favor the prohibition that allows them to make a living by growing a few dozen plants while throwing consumers under the bus. Screw that. I’ll take my chances with the legal “cartel”.

    • Theryl McCoy

      The Ohio bill would authorize 10 production facilities to serve as the
      only legal sources of marijuana within the state—and the land for these
      parcels is owned by the backers of the proposition.

      • Fr33dom

        The parcels of land are owned by landlords who are not growers and who will lease their land to many more than 10 growers. There are many states that have MJ laws with far fewer than 10 growers. And OH will also have home grow. In addition, the legal suppliers will have to compete with the quality of the black market. This law is far better than the prohibition OH has now.

      • Fr33dom

        This is the only marijuana initiative ever voted on in OH. When exactly will there be another and who exactly will pay for it? And how many consumers will be arrested from now until then?

  • familyguy

    There are a few bias website spreading anti-legalization fibs. Here they are and watch the poisonous rhetoric spread although, by now most people have already spotted the baloney the following republican prohibitionist websites:
    Cleveland.com, Cincinnati.com, columbusdispatch.com, reason.com and a few others but mostly these brainless old fart that only allow commenting if you have facebook. Nothing against facebook but a high percentage of their users are old, not computer savvy individuals that lack technical ability. The truth is the choice is simple legalize now by voting yes on 3 and no on 2 or wait another 20 years or more to have this choice again. There are no organization with the money or the commitment to legalize in 2016. YES YOU HEARD RIGHT zero, none. They simply don’t have the money or the support. As far as the made up oligopoly most Ohioans did not know what the word meant until these republican website made a definition for it. Nice try, why are they not asking their politicians if the they are invested in the 3 companies that run all the private prisons in the country that is a pretty good monopoly or cartel as the term is used loosely or if they are invested in pharmaceutical companies that grease their pockets to extend patents that are due to expire, preventing generic from being fabricated.
    Again the choice is simple legalize now YES ON 3, NO ON 2 or go another twenty or more years before the issue comes up again for Ohio.
    GO VOTE YES ON 3, NO ON 2. Its your only chance. By the way, I just looked up some recent polls on issue 3, 52% in favor, 44% against, 4 percent undecided. Spread the word Help pass Issue 3.

  • familyguy

    You are welcome to join the fun Brian Kelly.

  • Joe

    Vote yes on 3. Then if one of these other groups can actually make the ballot, we can vote it in to trump RO plan. Getting it legal is the first step.

  • Dc

    A law to allow a plant that grows anyway, to
    legally grow..can I vote to legally breathe and walk next? What a bunch of mindless drones we have become. You don’t need permission to live and eat and grow and think.or a law.

  • Zef Vee

    Please watch and share UC Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s well balanced RO panel debate, featuring RO author, Chris Stock, as well as Citizens Against ResponsibleOhio. Thank you so much! Ohio deserves to make an educated decision, please help make that possible!


  • Already Legal

    I am a partner & co-founder of a legalized WA state based producing company who has residency in both OH and WA. It’s obvious where I stand on 3, however, to legalize a system that allows for the “few” well-off (pay to play stereotypical individuals) to reap the financial rewards goes against everything our democracy stands for! Its well known that Oligarchy disallows innovation, fair balance and for further separation of the rich and poor. It’s very well documented that there are over 2,000 well known specific strains of cannabis offering people all kinds of different benefits but very individualized benefits. It really comes down to CHOICE – In WA, we have developed ourselves as being really well known for producing very high good quality strains and offering different options to the masses who individualize their taste and need for a specific high quality strain and there are over 600 licensed growers there! By no means am I a proponent for that many in OH, but if there are only 10 organizations producing cannabis, history shows us that innovation and consumer choice and quality of product all suffer.
    To offer another perspective think about all the choices we, as consumers have in other industries – beer, gas stations, medications, cars etc. So here with cannabis lets all ask ourselves – why should we be dictated to – and only be able to choose from a select few growers who are not meeting all the needs of the many!

    YES on 2 – YES on 3

  • nominal

    Ohio, vote NO on 2, and YES on 3…(November 3rd…THIS TUESDAY)

    First off, cannabis grown for medical/recreational consumption is a completely different crop/product than cannabis grown for hemp…

    (Re. Medical & Recreational Cannabis Production)- To all those opposed and everyone else: nowhere does Issue 3 say that the 10 parcels of self-designated land are only to be used by the 10 land-owners. In fact, the land-owners are already accepting applications from independent indoor growers to lease space on the designated indoor parcels of land to grow. The 10 “commercial company monopoly” thing is disingenuous, what’s real is that there will be 10 commercial indoor sites with leases available to anyone…this consolidation can be a good way to monitor indoor growing conditions and ensure there’s quality control (correct temp & humidity, lighting, nutrients, air circulation, watering, bug and mold prevention)…and even if it is what the opposition says it is, it’s not “set in stone” and can be changed…and most importantly, you’ll be able to grow your own anyway or use friends if you don’t want the store bought “corporate backed” stuff…The key word is “commercial”, you & your friends can still privately grow/share/consume your own. If you plan to grow commercially, then I recommend you submit an application now to one of the property owners, while there’s still some space left.

    Winning elections cost money these days (36 million dollars so far to get this on the ballot) and I have no problem granting exclusive commercial property growing rights to 10 land-owners, for 4 years, that can lease out lots to independent commercial growers.

    (Re. Agricultural Hemp Production)- Medical/recreational plants are bred to be mostly female, while hemp plants are mostly male…the species/strain is different, the hemp plants don’t flower, so there’s nothing to consume/smoke…the processing is different, and basically they’re the same plant, used in two completely separate industries…

    I agree that the lack of Hemp production Free Market provisions left out of Issue 3 is an unresolved issue, and it’s an issue that needs to be addressed in the future/2016. For now the positives far out way the negatives, unless you’re able to completely ignore your “emotions” by taking a year of the patients treatment and well being out of the equation, and instead only focus on being the “Napa Valley” of the midwest, I’d say you’re only focused on the money, and no better than what you’re implying ”RO” is guilty of. I say, give “RO” a year to make back their 36 million dollar investment to get this passed, and THEN rally all of the agricultural industry beneficiaries to come up with they’re XX million dollars to get the Free Market Hemp production provisions passed in 2016.

    Now let’s get this straight and summarize: these 10 locations that everyones so upset about, are to be indoors, people don’t grow anything other than medical/recreational cannabis indoors… Medical/recreational cannabis CAN be grown outdoors, but it most likely won’t be done that way around HERE because of the winter. So it will be grown indoors using all female “flowering” plants, only the flowers get harvested, so they are clipped by hand and the plant remains as is— Now Hemp, on the other hand, is grown outdoors, using male plants that don’t flower and the entire plant is used/harvested similar to corn…and that is what is missing in issue 3- the Hemp provisions…which if the agricultural industrial beneficiaries would have been on their game, should have gone in together with “RO”…so now they’ll have to wait and rally the troops and go it alone in 2016 or whenever, just like “RO” is doing right now…

    Look, it’s a supply and demand industry, just like anything else.

    “RO” is doing what they needed to do to guarantee that the investors will get there 36 million dollars back, they needed to do that in order to get the money to begin with…otherwise we wouldn’t even be having this conversation…I don’t blame them for that, it’s smart money…would you invest $36 million dollars in something that wouldn’t get your money back with interest? They are going to be leasing indoor growing space to independent commercial medical/recreational growers, if they weren’t, they wouldn’t be accepting lease applications, and they are RIGHT NOW.

    What I want to see happen is this: everyone vote NO on 2, and YES on 3…get the Medical/recreational indoor industry supplying the sick people with meds, teach the able bodies to grow their own at home, and also allow the 21 and older crowd to have some fun…THEN lets address the Hemp Production issue in 2016…we are making progress here, sometimes compromises have to be made, these baby steps are going in the RIGHT direction…

    vote NO on 2, and YES on 3

    • Theryl McCoy

      I’m voting NO on 3!
      “The Ohio bill would authorize 10 production facilities to serve as the only legal sources of marijuana within the state—and the land for these parcels is owned by the backers of the proposition.”

      • nominal

        Of course they own the land, they want their 36 million dollars back that it cost them to get this on the ballot! And if Issue 3 fails, good luck ever getting ANYONE else to put up 36 million dollars EVER again…don’t tell me, go ahead and tell the sick children that need this medication that Issue 3 is not in the BEST INTEREST of the people…I’m sure they’ll understand…or you could just vote YES on 3, get the kids their meds that they deserve, and THEN let’s focus on the 10 Commercial Sites only problem…

        • Svlad Cjelli

          They’ll make their first 36 million back in about five months.
          I notice that most of the backers are just people who are making money off of their initial wealth. How much do some people need?

  • Theryl McCoy

    Re: prop 3… “The Ohio bill would authorize 10 production facilities to serve as the
    only legal sources of marijuana within the state—and the land for these
    parcels is owned by the backers of the proposition.”
    This is absurd and a power grab. This is not for the people.

  • nominal

    Like I said below: of course they own the land, they want their 36 million dollars back that it cost them to get this on the ballot! And if Issue 3 fails, good luck ever getting ANYONE else to put up 36 million dollars EVER again…don’t tell me, go ahead and tell the sick children that need this medication that Issue 3 is not in the BEST INTEREST of the people…I’m sure they’ll understand…or you could just vote YES on 3, get the kids their meds that they deserve, and THEN let’s focus on the 10 Commercial Sites only problem…

  • pet61cre

    Better tham Monsato doing it and killing everyone. But how is that capitalism from a country that boast of the “Free market” when they are not allowing free market competition?