Courtesy of PatrickMcMullan.com
If Ohio voters legalize marijuana, they’ll make Lachey and many others very rich in the process.
Boy-band veteran + legalized marijuana sounds like the kind of unholy mash-up that only happens on the Internet, but it’s actually at the heart of a very real ballot initiative going out to Ohio voters this week—and one that’s not nearly as OMG-hilarious as it sounds.
The strange story of ResponsibleOhio theoretically comes to its conclusion tomorrow, as Ohio voters are allowed to vote on whether or not to legalize marijuana. That vote comes with a catch, though. As explained by The Washington Post, the only people legally allowed to grow marijuana will be the owners of 10 specifically designated farms. The people who own those 10 farms are the ones who have put up the money to bring the ballot initiative into existence. And yes, one of those people is former 98 Degrees heartthrob Nick Lachey.
The initiative has been drawing controversy for months now, even among pro-marijuana advocates; as BuzzFeed pointed out when reporting on the story in August, “no state has passed a legalization initiative that so wholly places control of the supply in the hands of the people who paid for the legalization effort.” There’s even been a bipartisan effort to stop it: also on the ballot tomorrow is a separate initiative that would ban the creation of a monopoly, oligarchy, or cartel, such as the one opponents claim ResponsibleOhio is promoting. If both initiatives pass they could theoretically cancel each other out—and no one’s quite sure what would happen in that case.
So, yes, Nick Lachey—former husband of Jessica Simpson and host of The Sing-Off—is poised to become an Ohio marijuana kingpin, the kind of second-act life twist that’s usually limited to reality TV. (If Lachey’s history is any indication, reality TV probably isn’t far behind.) But that crazy story may come at the expense of “creating a constitutionally mandated oligopoly,” as the Drug Policy Alliance’s executive director Ethan Nadelmann puts it to The Washington Post.
See also: Will Ohio vote for controversial marijuana legalization plan? – Ethan Nadelmann
Lachey isn’t the only backer of ResponsibleOhio who stands to get very, very rich off this deal—the group also includes fashion designer Nanette Lepore, N.F.L. player Frostee Rucker, and two of William Howard Taft’s descendants—but he may be the most famous, and the best illustration of what a wild thing may be about to happen in Ohio. Or maybe not: the latest polls show voters split on the issue, and even some pro-legalization activists are speaking out against the initiative.
From Reddit (click to enlarge):