Ballot Proposal Update: Ann Arbor Man Has Given $250K To Campaign To Legalize Marijuana

According To New Reports, Fundraising Slow For Numerous Groups Trying To Put Statewide Proposals On Ballots This Year

By CRAIG MAUGER
Executive Director
Michigan Campaign Finance Network

An Ann Arbor resident has single-handedly provided $250,000 to a ballot campaign that aims to legalize marijuana in Michigan, according to new campaign finance reports.

That Ann Arbor resident is Kevin McCaffery, 54, who’s listed as the president of RKB Enterprises Inc. In the last fundraising period, which covered Oct. 21 until Dec. 31, McCaffery gave $200,000 to the MI Legalize campaign, which would legalize all forms of marijuana for adults 21 and older.

McCaffery had previously given another $50,000 to the effort.

“People shouldn’t go to jail and have their lives ruined for something that’s harmless,” McCaffery said in a brief interview earlier this week.

McCaffery said he didn’t want to go into the details of his business operations. But he said his business doesn’t stand to benefit financially from the legalization of marijuana in Michigan.

RKB Enterprises incorporated in Michigan in 1988, according to state records. It also operates in West Virginia, according to records in that state. According to the Michigan records, RKB merged in 1991 with three Little Caesar’s businesses.

McCaffery’s $250,000 contributions to MI Legalize represent about 45 percent of the total amount the committee has reported raising, $548,359.

MI Legalize reported raising $275,188 during the last fundraising period of 2015. It reported spending $257,141 during the period.

In total, the committee said it’s spent $516,589. It reported $31,769 cash on hand at the end of the year.

Here’s a look at the fundraising reports of four other ballot committees:

Protecting Michigan Taxpayers is the ballot committee that wants to repeal the state’s prevailing wage. It filed reports this week for a period from Nov. 25 until Dec. 31 and for a period from Jan. 1 until Jan. 19. The committee’s fundraising activity during the periods was largely an in-kind contribution of $175,000 from the nonprofit Michigan Freedom Fund. From Nov. 25 until Jan. 19, the committee reported $50,348 in expenditures. It reported $15,943 cash on hand at the end of the reporting periods, Jan. 19.

— Fair Michigan, the ballot campaign to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, has suspended its efforts. But during the last campaign finance reporting period, it reported raising $1.01 million. The wide majority of that came from a $1 million loan from Ariel Nessel, owner of Nessel Development in Dallas, Texas. Lawyer Dana Nessel was spearheading the campaign. The committee reported $249,652 in in-kind contributions during the period. They came from Truscott Rossman,The Edelson Group, Glengariff Group Inc., Dykema and Nessel and Kessel Law.

— The Michigan Cannabis Coalition is another group hoping to legalize marijuana in Michigan. However, it reported raising $0 during the last reporting period. It reported spending $42,369 during the period. For the entire campaign, the committee has raised $351,420 and spent $326,593, according to its report. It reported $24,826 cash on hand at the end of 2015.

— The Committee To Ban Fracking In Michigan reported raising $7,969 during the last reporting period. Over the entire campaign, the committee has reported $61,093 in contributions. The committee reported spending $15,049 during the last period and has reported $37,270 in expenses for the entire cycle. It reported $40,817 cash on hand at the end of the year. Some of its top contributors for the last period were Jack Kineman, of Hastings, who gave $2,500, and the Green Party of Michigan, which chipped in $600.

* PHOTO CREDIT: The MI Legalize logo comes from the ballot campaign's official website.

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