Former Top Kroger Lawyer Investing in Ohio Marijuana Campaign

An ex-attorney for grocery store chain Kroger has signed on as one of the investors behind a campaign to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana in Ohio.

Paul Heldman, the former top lawyer for Kroger, on Friday announced that he is backing ResponsibleOhio, which has generated controversy with its plan to initially limit cultivation sites in the state to 10 and give major campaign backers primary ownership of those businesses.

Heldman is investing in one of the companies that would own a cultivation facility, according to, along with a former design consultant, a New York City fashion designer, and a pair of descendants of President William Howard Taft.

Heldman worked for Kroger for a quarter century before retiring last year. In a press release, he said one reason he is backing the initiative is because his son has epilepsy, which he hopes can be treated with MMJ.

ResponsibleOhio has collected around 250,000 signatures of the roughly 306,000 it needs to make the 2015 ballot in November.

A competing legalization campaign has also received preliminary approval from the Ohio attorney general. The new campaign, which would allow more cultivation sites, is being run by a group called Better for Ohio. The group’s measure now needs to be cleared by the Ohio Ballot Board before organizers can begin gathering signatures.

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5 comments on “Former Top Kroger Lawyer Investing in Ohio Marijuana Campaign
  1. Mount Zion collective on

    I can think of 10s of million$ of other reasons why he donated millions of dollars to this reform effort.

    Nothing like the wealthy and influential carvin out a nice additional piece of pie for themselves while average America is barely gettin by, especially in working class states like Ohio…pretty shocking they can openly create a constitutional government enforced CARTEL MONOPOLY…play along sheep nothin important goin on here…behhh

  2. Jeffrey Nunnari on

    Whatever his motivations may be, I welcome the support of anyone who wishes to contribute to the efforts to make MJ legal. It is long overdue.

  3. Mike on

    I think this 10 company is incredibly stupid! However, any law getting one books is better than none. But, I may be very wrong in saying that. I believe once it passes, There will be many people challenging it! I’m not sure what the status of marijuana will be while the numerous appeals take place, and or after the appeals are over. This bill may just be setting us up for failure, making Ohio have to what for yet another election for a second try on a much less controversial bill! I surely hope all goes smoothly, but I have some serious doubts!

  4. pam on

    Be careful of what you will settle for. It is better to enforce control early so investors do not carve out a monopoly. The writing is on the wall, prohibition is at an end, you don’t have to take his money if you don’t want to. as well, there is room for everybody so limit amounts to limit corruption. Please be particularly careful about who you allow to invest and how much, workers making $15 an hour is not acceptable, demand $25, you are worth it, don’t justify your worth make them pay for it. Corruption in Ohio/Illinois ha always been out of control. Only a silly couch locked stoner would take anybody’s support just to legitimize decriminalization.

  5. Mountzioncollective on

    Hey mike

    I’m from indiana and if I was still back home I would probably agree with you as I would want some sort of legalization as soon as possible.

    But some food for thought, they are adding a constitutional amendment so it is going to be extremely difficult to get it changed once it’s passed.

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