Tag Archives: ResponsibleOhio

Pot Advocacy Group Alleges Death Threats Issued by Drug Cartel

The marijuana legalization advocacy group ResponsibleOhio has been reportedly threatened, stalked, and victimized by thefts and cyber attacks at the hands of a local drug cartel.

According to Fox 19, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Secret Service have investigated the threats and are taking them seriously. One suspect, who allegedly stole $200,000 from the organization’s bank account before being caught by law enforcement attempting to steal an additional $300,000, is in custody.

ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James said, “Law enforcement was pretty clear that this was a pretty heavy duty drug dealer. The fact that he was also an arms dealer gave them great pause and indicated that we should be concerned.” Officers reportedly found a photograph of Ian James’ husband standing outside a building in Cleveland on the suspect.

[RELATED: Ohio Recreational Pot Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Nov. 2015 Ballot]

In the above-embedded WCPO video, sports agent and ResponsibleOhio co-founder James Gould describes chilling recorded death threats that he allegedly received via “burner” cell phones from members of a drug cartel.

Why are you doing this? We’re going to f*** you up,” said the recorded voice on three different occasions over three weeks, according to Gould. He says that the group was also targeted by a cyber attack at a crucial point in its signature gathering process.

WCPO notes that according to campaign finance records, ResponsibleOhio subsequently spent $165,368 hiring the private security firm Carrol & Associates LLC to provide protection and investigate the threats.

It was scary,” said Gould.

[RELATED: Truth In Media Accelerates National Cannabis Discussion]

ResponsibleOhio’s marijuana legalization ballot measure Issue 3 will appear on Ohio’s general election ballot on November 3. The measure would create a framework for a legal recreational and medical marijuana industry in the state. Critics say the measure would establish a marijuana cultivation oligopoly, as it would constitutionally restrict pot production to 10 farms owned by ResponsibleOhio investors.

ResponsibleOhio to File Suit over “Biased” Wording of Pot Legalization Ballot Measure

ResponsibleOhio, the group behind Ohio’s recently-qualified ballot measure aimed at letting the state’s voters decide whether to legalize marijuana for personal use, has announced that it will challenge the Ohio Ballot Board’s chosen legal wording of the group’s proposed constitutional amendment. The group plans to take the matter to the Ohio Supreme Court.

The above-embedded video, published by OhioCapitalBlog, contains comments by ResponsibleOhio spokesperson Jennifer Redman and attorney Don McTigue on the group’s planned legal challenge against what it called “biased” wording meant to discourage voters from supporting the amendment.

The Ohio Ballot Board, which is chaired by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, features 5 members including 3 Republicans and 2 Democrats. According to The Plain Dealer, the wording of ResponsibleOhio’s proposed constitutional amendment passed the board by a party-line vote of 3-2.

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), a board member who voted against the wording, told WLWT-TV that the board’s choice to characterize the type of marijuana use that would be legalized by the ballot measure as “recreational” rather than “personal” “crosses into editorializing about the amendment.

The board’s wording has also been criticized as giving the impression that it would allow Ohioans to possess and transfer over a half-pound of marijuana, despite the fact that the proposed amendment would only allow possession of up to 1 ounce. However, licensed home growers would be allowed to cultivate up to 8 ounces for personal use.

The Ohio Ballot Board also chose the order of the ballot measures on the upcoming November 3, 2015 general election ballot and opted to place the pro-pot issue question in the third position out of three, following an anti-monopoly-and-oligopoly amendment meant to counter and draw attention to a controversial aspect of the Ohio pro-pot ballot measure — that it only allows marijuana to be cultivated on 10 farms owned by ResponsibleOhio investors, potentially creating a marijuana production oligopoly.

Former Ohio Supreme Court Justice and ResponsibleOhio attorney Andy Douglas said in a statement, “When the Ballot Board prescribes language to ballot initiatives, it is meant to be a neutral, fair representation of the proposal at hand. The ballot language assigned to the Marijuana Legalization Amendment, Issue 3, is clearly biased and gives preference to the arguments of marijuana reform opponents. The language is inaccurate and strategically worded as to misguide voters.

ResponsibleOhio claims that opponents of the measure on the board chose the word “recreational,” which tests poorly in opinion polls, rather than the phrase “personal use” in the amendment in an effort to discourage voters from supporting it.

You buy alcohol you’re going to personally consume it, it’s not recreational, you buy toothpaste, you’re going to personally use it, you’re not using it for recreation, the same applies to marijuana,” said ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James.

Sec. of State Husted, who claims that “recreational” was the correct word choice because it clarifies that the measure goes beyond just legalizing medical marijuana, said, “In the end, I think the voters in Ohio are going to clearly know what they’re voting for. They are either going to vote to legalize a marijuana monopoly in this state or they’re going to vote to reject it.

In the below-embedded video by OhioCapitalBlog, Husted reacts to ResponsibleOhio’s complaints about the issue question’s wording.

If both the anti-monopoly ballot measure and ResponsibleOhio’s ballot measure were to pass by a majority vote, thus contradicting each other, the amendment that obtains the highest total of votes would take priority over the other. However, the anti-monopoly measure is set to kick in 30 days prior to the pro-pot measure, which Sec. of State Husted said could prove to be a legal roadblock to the marijuana legalization amendment’s enactment.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages about medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Ohio Recreational Pot Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Nov. 2015 Ballot

Ohio voters will decide on this November’s ballot whether the state will legalize marijuana for recreational and medical uses.

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted confirmed on Wednesday that the pro-pot group ResponsibleOhio has successfully obtained 320,267 valid signatures of voters in a petition drive qualifying a marijuana legalization ballot initiative for the state’s November 3, 2015 general election.

It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November — we couldn’t be more excited. Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens. By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities,” read a statement by ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James. The group reportedly spent over $2 million since March of this year promoting its signature gathering campaign and still has over $20 million in its war chest to spend on promoting November’s initiative.

If the amendment were to pass, it would legalize the recreational use and possession of up to one ounce of pot for individuals of 21 years of age or older. Medical marijuana would become available to patients with a doctor’s prescription. Additionally, those who obtain a cultivation license would be able to grow up to four marijuana plants at home for their own personal use. Marijuana production would be taxed at 15 percent and sales to consumers at 5 percent. 15 percent of tax revenues would go to fund a new regulatory authority called the Marijuana Control Commission. Remaining revenues would be split by Ohio towns, cities, and counties.

The amendment would create criminal laws cracking down on marijuana sales to minors, the employment of minors at marijuana businesses, pot-intoxicated drivers, and public cannabis consumption.

Though the amendment would not impact existing marijuana convictions, if it passes, ResponsibleOhio plans to push for a 2016 ballot initiative called the Fresh Start Act that would create a process for expunging thus-outdated pot convictions.

The Plain Dealer notes that the amendment would constitutionally restrict commercial cultivation to 10 specific farms owned by ResponsibleOhio investors, which critics have said creates a “monopoly.” Those who stand to profit on those farms include former 98 Degrees performer Nick Lachey, fashion designer Nanette Lapore, Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker, and Woody and Dudley Taft Jr., both of whom are descendants of former President William Howard Taft.

In June, the Ohio Legislature placed an initiative on the November 2015 ballot that would ban the creation of a “monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel” from the Ohio Constitution. Sec. Husted said that he believes that the anti-monopoly amendment would override the marijuana legalization amendment if both were to pass, a legal theory which ResponsibleOhio representatives contest. If that were to be the outcome of the election, a court battle would likely ensue.

Former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher, a ResponsibleOhio supporter, said, “When I served as the Chief of Police for Ohio’s third-largest city, I saw first-hand the destructive impact of Ohio’s marijuana laws. Our state spends over $120 million per year to enforce marijuana prohibition, even though we all know these laws do not work. Law enforcement should instead be able to spend their time and their resources cracking down on the real criminals. ResponsibleOhio’s amendment will do just that, paving the way for a better, safer future for our children and grandchildren.

Republican State Representative Niraj Antani, an opponent of the pot legalization amendment, told WDTN-TV, “Even if you do favor it, this is a bad deal. This is ten or fifteen individuals all investing into a scheme to make a lot of money. This isn’t how we should create industries in Ohio. It’s going to be put into the constitution which should be done very carefully. I think it’s a bad deal for all Ohioans.

Ohio Governor and 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich opposes the measure.

A July Quinnipiac University poll found that 52 percent of Ohioans supported marijuana legalization and 44 percent expressed their opposition.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages about medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.