Oscar Robertson
NBA hall of famer Oscar Robertson is one of 11 backers of an Ohio marijuana legalization ballot initiative Reuters

NBA legend Oscar Robertson is among the investors behind an organization campaigning to legalize marijuana in Ohio. The coalition also includes a fashion designer and a professional football player who is currently playing in the NFL. An organization known as ResponsibleOhio released the names of 11 of its most prominent backers Friday.

“The campaign is honored to have such well-respected businesswomen and men, as well as patient advocates supporting our effort to offer a commonsense solution to Ohio’s failed drug policies,” Ian James, ResponsibleOhio’s executive director, said in a press release.

Despite state government opposition to full legalization, ResponsibleOhio is one of two campaigns behind the movement to make marijuana consumption legal in the state for both recreational and medical use. Through a petition campaign, the group hopes to gather signatures for a ballot initiative this fall. Under the proposed plan, marijuana use would be legalized for personal use for anyone who is more than 21 years old.

One of the biggest backers, Oscar Robertson, is a retired NBA hall of famer who played for the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.

“It’s a terrible feeling when you can’t help someone suffering from cancer or another debilitating medical condition -- I know from personal experience,” Robertson said in a statement. “But medical marijuana can give our loved ones relief. I’m part of ResponsibleOhio because I want to be part of making this change a reality.”

Other notable backers include NFL defensive end Frostee Rucker, who played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns, and fashion designer Nanette Lepore.

In addition to legalizing marijuana, the plan has provisions to establish 10 wholesale growing and testing facilities to test the plants. The investors, which include the 11 named backers and others, would be responsible for overseeing, managing and operating the facilities, ReponsibleOhio said.

The campaign requires 300,000 valid signatures by July for the initiative to make it onto the ballot this fall.