The Marijuana Election Ad War Begins

You know how Election Day is getting close? Watch TV.

Marijuana law reform campaigns in at least five states went up on the air with new advertisements this week.

In California, proponents of legalization measure Proposition 64 rolled out two television spots on Tuesday, both focused on the public health and safety protections embedded in the initiative.

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Legalization campaigns in other states are playing up the public safety angle, too, in an attempt to win over voters who don’t like cannabis but who might support its legalization if they can be convinced it will help keep their families safe.

In Massachusetts, for example, the Yes on 4 team put up an ad featuring Tom Nolan, a former Boston Police Department officer, arguing that legalization would protect kids and generate revenue for schools and law enforcement.

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In Maine, the Yes on 1 campaign rolled out a commercial showing former Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion making the case that legalization would let police put limited public resources to better use.

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In Nevada, the Yes on 2 campaign to legalize marijuana took a different approach, launching an ad spotlighting Marine Corps veteran Brian Eberhart, who uses cannabis medically but wants more people to be able to give it a try without being criminalized.

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Medical marijuana spots are going up on the air elsewhere, too. In Florida, the Yes on 2 campaign to legalize medical cannabis launched an ad in which Dr. Jeff Kamlet discusses how the drug can help his patients dealing with cancer and epilepsy.

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But reform opponents in Florida also put up an advertisement of their own, focused on what they see as problems with legalizing marijuana edibles.

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With 34 days until Election Day, there are likely to be more ads in these and other states where marijuana law reform questions are on the ballot.

For example, anti-legalization groups have raised a lot of money in Arizona and California, and could fund robust ad campaigns in an attempt to scare voters into maintaining prohibition. And in Nevada, where the next campaign finance filing deadline isn’t until October 18, rumors have circulated that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson may fund a strong effort to defeat legalization.

As they say on TV, stay tuned…

Photo Courtesy of Allie Beckett.

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