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Failed Issue 3 Campaign Spent Over $21 Million

ResponsibleOhio's expensive legalization campaign included a bus tour of cities and college campuses.
ResponsibleOhio's expensive legalization campaign included a bus tour of cities and college campuses.
ResponsibleOhio's expensive legalization campaign included a bus tour of cities and college campuses.
Credit Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio
ResponsibleOhio's expensive legalization campaign included a bus tour of cities and college campuses.

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

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.

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