The Columbus Dispatch is reporting this week that a local Ohio billionaire, Peter Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance and a long-time supporter of pro-pot causes, wants to bring the issue home. To that end, he’s asked his attorneys to issue a request for proposals that will “…create a model for future campaigns in other states.”
Lewis’s request refers to Ohio as a state that, “…stands out as having particularly high levels of voter support. This provides an opportunity to enact a new law that will directly help patients and to do so in a manner that will serve as a model for other states.”
Mr. Lewis wants a proposal that includes every step of a pro-marijuana campaign, including drafting language for the ballot, meeting the qualifying criteria for the ballot, growing an organization, bringing the message to voters, gathering community support, and fundraising.
Previously, he was one of three wealthy supporters of a 2002 ballot issue that would have replaced incarceration with treatment for non-violent drug offenders, but it was unsuccessful.
Eleven years ago, Lewis was arrested for possession of hashish and marijuana at a New Zealand airport. When he made a significant donation to a drug rehab center, the charges were dropped. Since then, he’s made roughly $1.5 million in donations to various federal and state political parties and candidates (mostly Democratic).
We wish Mr. Lewis luck in bringing a positive view of pot to Ohio.