A group supporting Initiative 502, which would legalize, tax and regulate sales of marijuana in Washington, is up, up and away with a $1 million advertising campaign and a 30 second spot you’ll see on early morning TV news. “It’s definitely targeted to women who tend to be less supportive of marijuana reform than men,” said Alison Holcomb, coordinator for the New Approach Washington campaign.
The marijuana campaign is mellow, featuring a woman looking into the TV screen and saying: “I don’t like it personally, but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana. It’s a multimillion dollar industry in Washington State and we get no benefit. What if we regulate it?” The end message: A “new approach” to cannabis is needed.
New Approach is dealing with a tricky political climate. About 40 percent of Americans, including the 44th President, have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives. An overwhelming majority feel that targeting possession of small amounts of marijuana as a crime is wrong.
Yet, the country is polarized. Law enforcement has become addicted to its “War on Drugs” despite evidence that the war is being lost. The 1930′s-vintage movie “Reefer Madness” is still taken seriously, and the careers of students, park rangers and Olympic athletes get permanently blighted if they test positive or admit to taking a toke.
At the other end of the spectrum are what Holcomb calls “Free the Weed” advocates, the pothead constituency deeply suspicious of city attorneys and former FBI agents and police chiefs signing on to the legalization cause. Dominic Holden of The Stranger, a former director of Seattle Hempfest, caught hell a couple years back when he suggested that the marijuana cause jettison its tie dyed, Deadhead aspect and seek mainstream support.
The first advertising effort, which also included $90,000 in on-line ads, is designed to “get the conversation started,” Holcolm said.
New Approach Washington has been laying groundwork for more than a year. At last check with the Washington State Public Disclosure Commission, it has raised $2.95 million and spent $1.4 million.
Still, both major candidates for Governor — Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee — have come out against Initiative 502. So have several major police organizations.
Our efforts continue. Original source material is here.
[images: Google images Washington State]
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