Ads running to legalize marijuana in three states (video)

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In November, voters in Colorado, Washington and Oregon will consider legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Although similar initiatives have failed in the past, this time the groups fighting to legalize pot are well-organized, professional and backed by high-dollar donors willing to outspend the competition, reports Raycom News Network.


In Colorado, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA) has produced several ads that say marijuana is healthier than alcohol. The campaign’s website points to medical studies that claim marijuana, unlike alcohol, has not been linked to cancer, brain damage, addiction or high healthcare costs.

CRMLA was given nearly $1.2 million from the Marijuana Policy Project, a DC-based lobbying group, as well as more than $800,000 by Peter Lewis, the founder and chairman of Progressive Insurance. Lewis has been a vocal proponent of marijuana legalization for several years and donated millions to legalization efforts around the country.

In an online video ad campaign, CRMLA has young adults explaining to their parents they prefer marijuana to alcohol. In one of the ads, titled Dear Mom, a 20-something woman tells her mother marijuana is “better for my body, I don’t get hung-over and honestly I feel safer around marijuana users.”

In Washington, rather than comparing marijuana to alcohol, New Approach Washington (NAW) is focusing on legalization, arguing outlawing cannabis does more harm than good, by wasting tax dollars on law enforcement while letting gangs control the money. She describes the possible benefits of legalization through saved law enforcement dollars and extra tax revenue.

The TV spot has a professional/executive looking woman, “I don’t like it personally, but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana. It’s a multi-million dollar industry in Washington state, and we get no benefit.”

See the ad here:

These efforts appear to be working. In Washington, 50% of voters say marijuana should be legal while 38% say it should not, according to an Elway Research poll. And in Colorado, a Denver Post poll showed 51% of Coloradans were in favor of legalization, while 41% opposed it.

In Washington, the effort to legalize marijuana is being fought with a bankroll of between $4 and $5 million, according to the Raycom News Network story. NAW used those funds to put $1 million into television advertising during August, and hope to put triple that amount into the weeks preceding the November vote.

In total, groups in Colorado fighting to get marijuana legalized have a war chest of $2.5 million.

The campaigns are especially targeting women ages 30 to 55, whom tend to be less supportive of legalization and regulation than men.

The only visible group opposing the marijuana ballot, SMART Colorado, has been given less than $200,000 – most of it from Save Our Society, a Florida-based anti-drug group.

See the Raycom News Network story here.

RBR-TVBR observation: Interesting that the Chairman of Progressive Insurance is donating so much money in this legalization effort. Perhaps legalizing it would create fewer accidents/injuries from police chases and save the insurance industry money? We doubt drivers with the stuff in their car would try to flee if it’s no more illegal than a pack of cigarettes. Who knows, but Progressive is a big corporation and Lewis seems to not be concerned about sticking his neck out on this.


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Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

10 COMMENTS

  1. The marijuana lobby is well funded because their ad budget for this year is a few million dollars??? The ONDCP advertising budget for EVERY year (election or no) is $100 million, not to mention the lobbying power of their 2012 budget of $26 BILLION. How many full time lobbyists does that buy? The marijuana lobby has ONE full time lobbyist in DC. The marijuana lobby is well funded? Gimme a break!

    • i don’t understand your point. are you just ranting? are you trying to say the ONDCP is wasting all our money, or are you saying we won’t be able to pass new marijuana legislation because the marijuana lobby isn’t using all of our money? No one knows your stance is and there for we don’t know what you are mad about. i have not yet read the article, but if they stated what you are going on about; omg calm down man!

  2. I keep hearing about this “legalizing marijuana for recreational use” stuff, but what they really appear to be trying to do is legalize marijuana as a far safer alternative to alcohol.

    According to the CDC, alcohol kills 80,000 people every year in the U.S. while marijuana kills none. And marijuana’s addiction potential is about on par with coffee. So since marijuana is far safer and far less addictive than alcohol, we could GREATLY reduce the harm and addiction in society by letting people switch from the more harmful drug, alcohol, to the less harmful drug, marijuana. And that would be a good thing.

    The only thing is though, people can’t switch to marijuana while marijuana’s illegal. That’s where we come in – we have to tell *our* legislators to legalize marijuana like wine.

    • True…I have quit drinking…I hated being hung over…and I pretty much hated drunk people. I now only vaporize marijuana. No head aches or throwing up. Alcohol made me very lazy….but when I vaporize marijuana…even washing dishes is fun! Lol

  3. “Marijuana Prohibition is the most destructive, dysfunctional, dishonest and racist social policy in America since Slavery”

  4. I for one beleave that weed is not a drug. It is a herb and people shouldn’t see it to be a bad thing. I’ve had a class of my pears get together and vote. Yes: Legal No: E-Legal
    Out of 50 people only 2 said (No)
    Legalize it today there are more pros to cons in this fight. thank you!

  5. It would be wonderful if pot were legal; the cost would be lower, the quality would be better, tens of thousands of people would have jobs, and the money paid in taxes along with the savings from the costs of prosecution and incarceration could go a long way towards reducing America’s debt. A big win all around.

    With that said, the legalization effort faces two huge lobbyists: Alcohol and Tobacco; they have a lot more money to spend and are deeply entrenched in Washington DC.

    But the real bill-killer is the government. Most of the people who would vote on the bill legalizing pot are lawyers. When you consider that all drug & drug related arrests and incarceration comprise well over a third of all crime and people in prison, legalizing drugs would erase all of that. The upshot would be a loss of over one third of the work for lawyers, judges and prison staffs. Do you think that the lawyers in Washington would ever pass a bill that would have one third of their brothers and sisters out of work? Not a chance.

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