Former Top Kroger Lawyer Investing in Ohio Marijuana Campaign

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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.