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The organization backing the state issue to legalize recreational marijuana for use by adults in Ohio outraised the opposition group by more than a 3-1 margin.
But the money raised for this issue pales in comparison to what was collected for the abortion rights constitutional amendment, the other state issue on the Nov. 7 ballot.
In the pregeneral election reporting period, which goes from June 3 to Oct. 18, the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is backing the recreational marijuana issue, raised $1,186,731.80.
Of that amount, the Marijuana Policy Project, a Washington, D.C., organization, gave $275,000. The Policy Project is the largest organization in the country focused on marijuana policy reform.
The coalition collected nearly $800,000 from statewide marijuana companies and those affiliated with those companies in the pregeneral period.
The coalition also received $152,191 in in-kind contributions from the Ohio Organizing Collaborative, located in Youngstown, for employee salaries, contractors and consultants and for campaign supplies and literature.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative’s mission includes economic justice, criminal justice reform — which includes drug policy reform — and structural democracy reform, according to its website.
During the pregeneral period, the coalition spent $818,389.23 with $600,378.90 going to Cambridge Communications LLC of Columbus for digital advertising, consulting, campaign literature and yard signs. It also paid $60,000 to Battleground Strategies LLC of Columbus for consulting.
In its previous report, which included the first six months of this year, the coalition raised $2,957,500 with the Marijuana Policy Project giving $1,375,000. It spent $3,031,078 during the first half of the year with $3,006,250 going to Advanced Micro Targeting Inc. of Dallas to collect signature on petitions to get the issue on the ballot.
Neither the coalition nor the opposition group, Protect Ohio Workers and Families, listed purchasing time for television or radio commercials, which are typically among the highest expenses for statewide campaigns.
Protect Ohio didn’t file a designation of treasurer form with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office until Aug. 9.
It reported raising $342,900 in the pregeneral election period with $101,000 from the Ohio Manufacturers Association and $100,000 from Angela Phillips, CEO of Phillips Tubes Group Inc. in Middletown.
Protect Ohio spent $230,258.77 with $68,000 to Causeway Solutions LLC of Metairie, La., for data and research services, $47,149.24 to Majority Strategies of Dallas for public communications and $33,000 to Castletown Media of Lake Forest Park, Md., for video production.
In comparison, Ohioans United for Reproductive Rights, the backers of the abortion rights amendment, raised $28,743,897.38 and spent $26,222,260.01 in the pregeneral reporting period.
Protect Women Ohio, which opposes that constitutional amendment, raised $9,948,049.51 and spent $9,100.955.44 in the pregeneral period.
The recreational marijuana proposal, known as Issue 2,would allow those adults to buy and possess 2.5 ounces of cannabis and 15 grams of concentrates. They could also grow up to six plants individually and no more than 12 in a household with multiple adults.
The recreational marijuana proposal in Ohio is an initiated statute and not a constitutional amendment, unlike Issue 1, the abortion rights proposal.
That means if Issue 2 passes, the Republican-controlled state Legislature could make changes to it.
Recreational marijuana is legal in 23 states in this country.
Allowable forms of marijuana to be sold, if the issue passes, include plants and seeds, extracts, drops, lozenges, oils, tincture, edibles, patches, smoking or combustible product, vaporization, beverages, pills, capsules, suppositories, oral pouches, oral strips, oral and topical sprays, salves, lotions and inhales.