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'Buddie' actor says her job went up in smoke

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Oct 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-10-19 22:11:32-04

COLUMBUS — Pro-pot group ResponsibleOhio’s mascot, “Buddie,” is known for his cheeky grin and superhero-esque physique, but the woman who once played the character said she isn’t smiling anymore, now that her job has gone up in smoke.

According to a report by WCPO media partner Dayton Daily News, ResponsibleOhio hired 26-year-old Ericka Buford to portray the pro-pot mascot in August; it was only two months later when, Buford said, she was dismissed from her pot-themed post for no reason.

She said she suspects her firing stemmed from some safety concerns she raised with her employers in the weeks prior.

“They never gave me a reason behind letting me go,” she told Dayton Daily News. “We had had a meeting where I had expressed some concerns, yes, but they informed me that everything would be okay and my job would still be intact and everything would be fine.”

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Specifically, Buford said, she felt ResponsibleOhio should add another security detail to its “Green Rush Bus Tour,” which has visited dozens cities and college campuses across the state in the weeks leading up to November’s election.

“The next thing I know,” she said, “I just got kicked out. I listened and did every single thing that was asked of me. I’ve done everything.”

When asked for comment, ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Faith Oltman said, “We cannot comment on personnel issues.”

ResponsibleOhio’s controversial ballot initiative, Issue 3, would amend Ohio’s constitution to create a legal market for the sale of medical and recreational marijuana.

It’s an issue on which Buford said she’s now wavering, and, while her security suggestion might have cost her her job, the whole ordeal might have cost ResponsibleOhio her vote. While she said she supported the measure when she first donned the Buddie costume, “Now I’m debating it because now I know how the people behind it work,” she told Dayton Daily News. 

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Laura A. Bischoff with WCPO media partner the Dayton Daily News originally reported this story. Read her original report here.