Investors have contributed at least $4 million to each of nine limited liability corporations tied to ResponsibleOhio, according to securities offering filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
ResponsibleOhio’s proposed constitutional amendment would legalize the possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for recreational purposes. The proposal would establish a legal cannabis industry that would be supplied by 10 different grow sites, which have been promised to investors of the initiative (a move that has drawn the ire of legalization opponents and advocates). Some of the groups investors include basketball all-star Oscar Robertson, former Celevlands Browns player Frostee Rucker and fashion designer Nanette Lepore.
According to Jackie Borchardt with the Northeast Ohio Media Group; “Ten state-registered limited liability corporations had contributed $1.7 million to ResponsibleOhio’s political action committee before the end of January, according to a campaign finance filing with the Ohio secretary of state.” She continues;” The group had spent $1.3 million at that point, mostly on political consulting from The Strategy Network, run by ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James, and attorneys.”
Borchardt notes that although “Funneling campaign contributions through LLCs isn’t illegal”, it a”dds another layer of mystery to a plan criticized for its secrecy.”
ResponsibleOhio is required to collect roughly 300,000 signatures by July 1st to out their initiative to a vote this November. The group estimates that the cannabis industry would reach $2 billion by the fourth year of legal cannabis sales, with $554 million in annual tax revenue for the state.