Ballot measure mercenaries seek to amend Ohio’s constitution to benefit select few


Key findings:
  • A political consultant came up with the idea to legalize marijuana in Ohio through a ballot measure, lined up investors to fund the campaign in exchange for ownership of the wholesale pot market and now plans to pay his own firm $5.6 million to push the 2015 initiative.
  • Active in the 26 states that have citizen-initiated ballot measures, professional operatives are now an essential part of the initiative and referendum systemthatwas intended to represent grassroots endeavors.
  • At least $400millionwas spent on 85 statewide ballot measures across the country in 2014, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of state records.
  • Twenty-one firmsnationwidewere paid at least $20millioncombined to gather signatures for the 2014 ballot, according to data from the Lucy Burns Institute and state records.
  • Ohio’s marijuana initiative, which would write into the state’s constitution 10 specific land parcels and thus give the parcel owners exclusive control of the wholesale legal pot market, is an example of a ballot measure industry that is fueled by money from special interests that stand to benefit financially from the outcome of the vote.


By Liz Essley Whyte

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Thousands of hastily scribbled signatures fill boxes in the basement of Ian James’ 7,800-square-foot restored Victorian home in the historic Franklin Park neighborhood. James needs these names to win a place on Ohio’s November ballot for a measure to legalize medical and recreational marijuana.

But the political consultant isn’t just gathering the signatures. He came up with the idea for the measure. And he recruited a lawyer to draft a constitutional amendment that would put Ohio’s future marijuana market in the hands of only 10 growers — an arrangement that critics are calling a monopoly.

Read the full essay about Responsible Ohio, from The Center for Public Integrity




  1. Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

    The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

    Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

    Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

    With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

    Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

    • In the prohibitionist’s world, anybody who consumes the slightest amount of marijuana responsibly in the privacy of their own homes are “stoners” and “dopers” that need to be incarcerated in order to to protect society.

      In their world, any marijuana use equates to marijuana abuse, and it is their God given duty to worry about “saving us all” from the “evils” of marijuana use.

      Who are they to tell us we can’t choose marijuana, the safer choice instead of alcohol for relaxation, after a long, hard day, in the privacy of our own homes?

      People who use marijuana are smart, honest, hard working, educated, and successful people too, who “follow the law” also.(except for their marijuana consumption under it’s current prohibition of course) .

      Not the stereotypical live at home losers prohibitionists make us out to be. We are doctors, lawyers, professors, movie stars, and politicians too.

      Several Presidents of The United States themselves, along with Justin Trudeau, Bill Gates, and Carl Sagan have all confessed to their marijuana use. As have a long and extensive list of successful people throughout history at one point or other in their lives.

      Although that doesn’t mean a dam thing to people who will make comments like “dopers” and “stoners” about anybody who uses the slightest amount of Marijuana although it is way safer than alcohol.

      To these people any use equals abuse, and that is really ignorant and full of hypocrisy. While our society promotes, advertises, and even glorifies alcohol consumption like it’s an All American pastime.

      There is nothing worse about relaxing with a little marijuana after a long hard day than having a drink or two of alcohol.

      So come off those high horses of yours. Who are you to dictate to the rest of society that we can’t enjoy Marijuana, the safer choice over alcohol, in the privacy of our own homes?

      We’ve worked real hard our whole lives to provide for our loved ones. We don’t appreciate prohibitionists trying to impose their will and morals upon us all.

      Has a marijuana user ever forced you to use it? Probably not. So nobody has the right to force us not to either.

      Don’t try to impose your morality and “clean living” upon all of us with Draconian Marijuana Laws, and we won’t think you’re such prohibitionist hypocrites.

      Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

  2. So what if there are authorized “pot farms”? This proposed legislation ALSO allows citizens to grow their own marijuana for personal consumption (i.e., to smoke, bake in brownies, etc.).

    The main opposition to this proposed legislation is a) the drug cartels and b) the police.

    The drug cartels would see a huge drop in their illegal, untaxed revenue if this legislation passes (while America will see fewer cartel- and gang-related murders, and lacing of marijuana with heroin to create true addiction).

    The police will have fewer reasons to arrest citizens (e.g., users, drug pushers, etc.) if marijuana is legalized, and as such will suffer from the corresponding drop in ticketing revenue. The police fear this drop in revenue, and thus are against the proposed legislation.

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