Ohio pot legalization group spent $21M in failed effort

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Supporters spent more than $21 million on a losing fall campaign to legalize marijuana in Ohio for personal and medical use, campaign finance reports filed Friday show.

Most of the nearly $12 million ResponsibleOhio raised from July to October came from 10 companies or organizations listed under corporate names, according to the figures reported to the Secretary of State’s office. About 250 people gave individual contributions during the period. Their contributions of $2 to $200 totaled less than $8,000.

Filings showed Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies raised and spent about $2.1 million. Its opposition campaign against the legalization question centered on the proposal’s creation of 10 exclusive marijuana growing sites.

Approval of Issue 3 would have made Ohio the first state nationally to take marijuana from illegal to fully legal in a single vote.

Backers of another November ballot issue – the successful push to create new rules for drawing state legislative districts – raised $280,000 from about two dozen groups and individuals, according to the reports. The bulk of that was spent on promotional mailings and polling on Issue 1, the reports said.

Most of the money backing that initiative came from just three groups – the Ohio Consumer Lenders Association, the Ohio Education Association and the Wholesale Beer and Wine Association of Ohio.

Supporters of the new rules developed by Republican and Democratic lawmakers said allowing a new seven-member commission to draw the legislative lines will help reduce partisan gerrymandering.

Seewer reported from Toledo.

(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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