Ohio marijuana debate heats up

25 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Pot legalization effort in US heartland takes many paths.

That means roughly $4 million has been spent on TV ads so far — with varying messages targeted at parents, military veterans, blacks, union members and senior citizens. It means kids in wheelchairs promoting medical marijuana, a green bud-shaped mascot trolling college campuses and a tough-on-crime prosecutor touting economic benefits to cash-strapped police departments. It’s a strategy — aimed at capturing various pockets of one of America’s most well-studied electorates, one stretching from farm country to inner-city Cleveland to blue-collar Toledo to Appalachia. “It’s a multistate strategy inside the state of Ohio,” James said. “Ohio’s one of the most complex media-market states in the nation, next to New York, California, Texas.

It costs over $1 million a week in an off year to be on TV.” That’s the reason the campaign solicited deep-pocketed investors who will have exclusive right to 10 authorized marijuana growing sites and combined the more popular medical-marijuana issue with recreational pot appealing to younger voters. Its vast wealth — $12 million spent and $12 million more raised last quarter — has allowed for constant polling and strategy re-adjustment. “The problem as I see it is that their campaign looks like a mess, because they’ve attempted to triangulate or differentiate so many messages that their opportunism is readily apparent,” said state Rep. Detractors say ResponsibleOhio picked 2015 to get ahead of an anticipated onslaught of legalization proposals expected during the 2016 presidential election.

The campaign’s prospectus told potential investors they’d be “on the front line of a projected $1+ billion annual sale potential” and positioned for business returns elsewhere.

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