The Highland County Sheriff’s Office seized more than 1,000 marijuana plants and conducted two search warrants after law enforcement officials flew over the county Friday looking for grow operations.
The search warrants were conducted at a residence in Liberty Township and at a residence in Fairfield Township, where various items were discovered and believed to be used for grow operations, according to Highland County Sheriff Donnie Barrera.
The cases are currently under investigation, with further charges pending.
According to Barrera, the search was conducted in conjunction with the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which provided the use of its helicopter free of charge to the HCSO. Assistant Highland County prosecutors Molly Bolek and Jim Roeder also assisted in the day’s events.
Barrera stated this time of year is the beginning of the season for air surveillance and called Friday’s search “a good day.”
Individuals with information should contact the HCSO’s Crime Tip Hotline at 937-840-6243.
Meanwhile, across Ohio a group working to get a marijuana legalization issue on the state’s fall ballot has spent more than $2 million in its effort so far this year and has about $82,000 in cash on hand, according to a campaign finance report filed on Friday.
The report shows that ResponsibleOhio raised nearly $1.7 million during the first half of the year from investors with a stake in the marijuana growing sites outlined in its proposed constitutional amendment. No names of individual donors were listed in the group’s semi-annual report, just the corporations tied to the private investors. Almost all donations from the entities were for $50,000 or more.
The ballot issue campaign was among those reporting political fundraising and spending to the state’s elections chief on Friday.
Candidates and other committees also were to disclose their contributions and expenses through June 30, though they can include items beyond that date.
ResponsibleOhio paid almost $1.6 million to The Strategy Network, which has helped coordinate the signature drive to get the issue on the November ballot. It’s the consulting firm of the campaign’s executive director, Ian James.
The group’s proposal would mark one of the nation’s most significant leaps in marijuana policy, taking Ohio from a complete prohibition against cannabis use to legalization for both medical and recreational uses.
ResponsibleOhio’s constitutional amendment would allow adults 21 and over to purchase marijuana for medicinal or recreational use and to grow up to four plants for personal use. It would also set up a network of 10 authorized growing locations around the state, which have attracted the private investors, and lay out a regulatory and taxation scheme for cannabis.