Issue 3 Backers Spent A Near-Record Amount On Marijuana Campaign

Dec 11, 2015

The backers of last month’s marijuana legalization issue spent a lot of money on a campaign that voters overwhelmingly rejected.

Table decoration at the ResponsibleOhio watch party on Election Night, November 3, 2015.
Credit Karen Kasler

Paperwork filed with the Secretary of State shows ResponsibleOhio spent $21.5 million to try to convince voters to approve the investor-backed plan for medical and recreational marijuana to be grown at 10 official sites throughout the state. Nearly all of that money came from those investors. Around half went to TV ad time, around $3 million went to direct mail – and $5.4 million went to Ian James, the Columbus-based consultant who helped create the amendment and ran the Issue 3 campaign. Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies was the main opposition group – it raised around $2.2 million and spent nearly all of that on a single TV ad.