They sure didn’t look very smart on their show “The Newlyweds,” but now Jessica Simpson fronts a clothing company worth more than $1 billion, and her ex-husband Nick Lachey is poised to become one of the richest marijuana growers in the state of Ohio.
The Buckeye state is voting on a legalization initiative on Nov. 2. If it passes, there will be 10 farms that can legally grow marijuana, including a 29-acre plot outside of Akron that the Cincinnati native would co-own, the Washington Post reports.
Here’s how it works. Lachey is part of one of 10 ownership groups, as are a few other celebrities, including designer Nanette Lepore and NBA great Oscar Robertson. Each group contributed $4 million to the legalization campaign. It will cost each group another $10 million to get their pot farms set up. Once they are up and running, the 10 farms would service around 1,100 state-sponsored pot dispensaries, which would be required by law to buy their wares from those 10 farms.
And those start-up fees are chump change compared too how much money they could make. One study estimates the 10 farms could sell over $1 billion in marijuana every year.
Lachey’s rep issued this statement about the initiative.
“Ohio is my home, and as a resident and local business owner I am proud to be part of a movement that has the potential to create jobs, reinvigorate the local economy and improve the safety of our communities," Lachey said. "Passage of this proposal will result in much-needed economic development opportunities across Ohio, and update the state’s position on marijuana in a smart and safe way.”
Not surprisingly, not everyone is happy about this. Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance told the Post the group is “creating a constitutionally mandated oligopoly.”
The group Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies also has the support of the state Chamber of Commerce, Hospital Association, School Board Association, Farmers Union and Fraternal Order of Police, the Post reports.
And they’re not just complaining – they have also introduced a ballot measure so people can vote on whether a monopoly can be granted through a ballot initiative.
So Ohioans could vote yes to pot, and no to monopolies.
And Lachey could be looking for another reality show.