The former US boyband star and reality TV spouse Nick Lachey could become one of the "weed kingpins" in Ohio when residents vote to legalise marijuana today.

Lachey, co-star of the TV show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica, is owner of one of 10 farms that could be allowed to control all large-scale marijuana cultivation in the state.

"They are creating a constitutionally mandated oligopoly," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Each ownership group was asked to put up an initial $4m (£2.6m) to underwrite the ballot campaign; it cost them an estimated $10m more to buy land and get their farms up and running.

Mr Lachey's piece of the action is 29 acres just outside of Akron, which he co-owns with a couple of financial executives and a car dealership owner from Texas.

All of the 1,100 state-regulated marijuana retail shops in Ohio will have to buy from his farm or one of the other nine. Within four years, according to one study, it is estimated those 10 farms would be selling $1.1bn worth of the drug every year.

Mr Lachey, former husband of the singer Jessica Simpson, said in a statement: "Passage of this proposal will result in muchneeded economic development opportunities across Ohio, and update the state's position on marijuana in a smart and safe way."

©The Washington Post

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