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Cleveland.com reports that the consulting firm behind ResponsibleOhio’s initative petition to legalize marijuana and create a monopoly of ten grow sites stands to make 5.6 million dollars from the campaign.  The costs include legal work, polling and public relations.  The extraordinary costs of getting an amendment to the Ohio Constitution on the ballot has drawn the attention of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.  The Commission is considering reforming the initiative process, and perhaps making statutory initiatives a more attractive option for individuals wanting to amend the Constitution.

Even back in 2002, a group spent one million dollars just to collect signatures to get an issue on the ballot.  See Columbus Dispatch, Backers Spent $1 Million to Get Issue 1 on Ballot,  (Issue 1 would have amended the Constitution to give some nonviolent drug offenders treatment instead of prison.  It did not pass.)  You can see ballot campaign expeditures on the Ohio Secretary of State’s web site.  For example, the recently passed Freedom to Choose Healthcare amendment cost $150,000 just to gather signatures.

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