By now, many Ohioans are familiar with Responsible Ohio, the group behind a ballot measure to allow the growing and selling of medical and recreational marijuana – but would limit the ownership of pot farms to only 10 growers in the state.
Few, however, know who’s behind Responsible Ohio and how the campaign is being financed or the investors who will benefit if the measure passes in November.
Professional operatives are an essential part of the so-called “grass roots” initiatives to pass ballot measures not just in Ohio but throughout the country.
Ian James, the Columbus-based consultant behind Responsible Ohio, came up with idea for the ballot measure, pulled together investors who will reap millions from pot farms and have bankrolled a $20 million campaign to get voters to approve their idea. James also will have a major stake in the marijuana business should it come to pass.
The Center for Public Integrity, a non-profit investigative news organization, has investigated James and Ballot Measure Inc., the powerful electoral-industrial complex funded by moneyed interests. Their actions belie the notion that state referendums represent true “citizen democracy.”