ResponsibleOhio Announces Key Investors

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COLUMBUS – ResponsibleOhio today released the names of several individuals backing Ohio’s campaign to legalize and regulate marijuana for medical and personal use.  Together with additional supporters, these individuals are members of the investment groups created to oversee, manage and operate the ten marijuana growth, cultivation and extraction facilities.

“The campaign is honored to have such well-respected businesswomen and men, as well as patient advocates supporting our effort to offer a common-sense solution to Ohio’s failed drug policies,” said Ian James, ResponsibleOhio’s Executive Director.

Rick Kirk, a Columbus-area real estate developer, echoed James’ message: “As an Ohio businessman and taxpayer, I have watched Ohio spend hundreds of millions of dollars on ineffective marijuana laws.  ResponsibleOhio promotes the right public policy on personal, adult use of marijuana and medical marijuana, while also giving law enforcement the resources and tools they need to fight the real threats to our communities.”

NBA legend Oscar Robertson joined the campaign because of the benefits provided by medical marijuana: “It’s a terrible feeling when you can’t help someone suffering from cancer or another debilitating medical condition – I know from personal experience.  But medical marijuana can give our loved ones relief.  I’m part of ResponsibleOhio because I want to be part of making this change a reality.”

Prominent fashion designer Nanette Lepore touted the policy’s economic impact, saying, “This is an incredible opportunity for places like my hometown of Youngstown to generate significant dollars for things like road and bridge repair, which in turn will create thousands of needed jobs.  I’m proud to stand with ResponsibleOhio because it’s the most thoroughly-researched and thoughtful method of legalizing marijuana for medical and personal use.”

Barbara Gould, long time community leader for social justice, spoke of the need to legalize and regulate marijuana, saying, “Marijuana prohibition has failed, and it’s time for a real solution.  ResponsibleOhio’s amendment creates a regulatory system that is second to none and will open an emerging market for Ohioans to own and operate their own retail stores, manufacturing and testing facilities. That’s going to mean thousands of new permanent and good paying jobs across the state.”

Longtime NFL Defensive End, Frostee Rucker, of both the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, also voiced his support: “Over the past several months, I have followed this issue very closely, with specific interest as to what has happened across other states in the country as it relates to this issue, and I fully support approaching the issue responsibly. The goal is simple: allow Ohioans to take the lead in providing the compassionate care of others.”

Finally, Cincinnati businessman Frank Wood noted simply, “Its time has come.  We ultimately need a sane approach to marijuana regulation, and our towns badly need the revenue.”

Additional investment group members include Sir Alan Mooney, an investor and board member of the Ohio Council of Churches; entrepreneur and philanthropist William Foster; finance executives William “Cheney” Pruett and John Humphrey; and real estate developer Bobby George.

In December, ResponsibleOhio announced it would seek voter approval for its amendment in 2015.  The full text of the amendment will be available in February.

 

BACKGROUND:

Born and raised in Central Ohio, Rick Kirk began his construction management career in Dallas, Texas after an injury during training camp with the Dallas Cowboys football program.  After building a thirty-year career in construction project management, residential multi-family leasing, and site development, he began Hallmark Campus Communities in 2008, a privately held student housing and multi-family building company based in Columbus where he is President and CEO. After years of successful residential community development, Mr. Kirk saw a need for student housing at growing universities statewide and nationwide, where he currently has student campus lifestyle communities located at such notable universities as University of Cincinnati, University of Akron, Ohio University, University of Kentucky, University of Notre Dame, Louisiana State University, and Saint Louis University.  Mr. Kirk is passionate about charitable giving towards higher education and scholarships for collegiate student athletes. He believes strongly in supporting talented, driven young women and men with an athletic talent that can begin a foundation to open doors towards an academic future which can lead to lifetime success.  Mr. Kirk graduated from Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He currently lives with his wife and children in Central Ohio.

Oscar Robertson, also known as “The Big O,” is a former professional basketball player who has also distinguished himself as a humanitarian, a social activist, a businessman, a mentor and teacher and a labor leader.  Named the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ “Player of the Century,” Mr. Robertson’s NBA career was nothing short of prolific.  He was also the third and longest-serving President of the NBA Players Association, and achieved an instrumental victory for professional athletes when the class action lawsuit he filed settled in 1976.  He is an Olympic gold medalist, a small business owner and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati.

Nanette Lepore has built an international fashion empire from blue-collar roots in the Mahoning Valley.  A native of Youngstown, Ms. Lepore graduated from Youngstown State University before earning a design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York.  An activist, philanthropist, entrepreneur and advocate for American manufacturing, Ms. Lepore has not only earned acclaim for her beautiful, free-spirited clothing but also for her commitment to social justice, including expansion of the middle class, women’s and LGBT rights, and responsible urban development.  She and her husband have one daughter.

A longtime community leader, Barbara Gould served in the fashion, interior design and music industries before her retirement.  She has served on the Ohio Arts Council Board, as well as numerous cultural arts boards in the Cincinnati area, including the Cincinnati Opera, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Arts Association, the Cincinnati Ballet, and the Arts Consortium of Cincinnati.

Frostee Rucker was selected by the Bengals in the third round (91st overall) of the 2006 NFL Draft and played Defensive End in Cincinnati until 2012.  After a short stint with the Cleveland Browns, Rucker signed with the Arizona Cardinals in 2013.

Frank Wood is CEO of Secret Communications, LLC, now a private venture capital company. Secret operated twenty-four radio stations in eleven major markets between 1991 and 2000. As the radio stations were sold off, the company redeployed that capital into a number of entrepreneurial businesses.  Mr. Wood has helped finance or manage a number of start-up and second stage companies.  A graduate of Harvard and the University of Chicago Law School, Mr. Wood and his wife, Karen have four children and live in Cincinnati.

As a stockbroker, trainer, coach and success counselor, Sir Alan Mooney has lead and trained some 1,160 financial advisors and overseen more than $12 billion in assets during his time with AIG/FSC.  He serves as a board member on well over 20 private corporations and charitable organizations.  As a registered Minister, Sir Mooney spent six years ministering in Ohio prisons and has continued his leadership in Ohio’s faith communities as a Board Member of the Ohio Council of Churches.  In 2007, Sir Mooney was knighted by order of Pope Benedict the XVI, enrolling him as a member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher.

William J. Foster is the owner of A-1 Quality Logistical Solutions, a warehousing business he founded 14 years ago.  Mr. Foster is a disabled veteran who has served his country and home and overseas as part of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division.  He has two children, one of whom is currently serving in the Army while the other attends the University of Cincinnati.  Mr. Foster is a generous philanthropist, supporting numerous organizations including the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Shriners Hospital and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

William “Cheney” Pruett is the President and CEO of DMP Investments, which specializes in providing products and consultative services in the area of consumer finance.  As a father, a conservative and a Christian, Mr. Pruett highly values philanthropy.  Along with his wife and three children, Mr. Pruett has taken an active role in supporting A Kid Again and Opportunities Inc. among other organizations. His educational background includes an emphasis in both law and business administration; as such, Mr. Pruett is firmly committed to our system of democracy and free enterprise.

John Humphrey is the Chief Financial Officer of DMP Investments and has a background both in consumer finance and in public education.  Prior to joining DMP Investments, Mr. Humphrey served in the role of Chief Information Officer for a public university in Texas and worked as Chief Financial Officer for a public school district in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex.  A father of four, Mr. Humphrey is active in his community and cares deeply about the success of this ballot initiative.

Bobby George is the Managing Member of the Corporate Management Group – CMG, a proven leader in finance, land development, business management and marketing, event planning, hospitality and entertainment and consulting.  Based in Lakewood, CMG has hosted events for members of both parties, focused heavily on historic property renovation and rehabilitation, and launched more than 15 successful restaurant concepts in Ohio and Florida.  Mr. George is active in his community, and deeply values economic growth and job creation here in Ohio.

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