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Marijuana: Does Anti-Pot-Legalization Ad Accidentally Promote Pot Legalization?

Categories: Marijuana

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More images and graphics below.
Those in favor of marijuana legalization frequently stress that cannabis users don't conform to hippie-centric stereotypes. Rather, they're folks in all walks of life, including suit-wearing business executives, as suggested by the image above.

Not that this pic is supposed to inspire people to support pot-law reform. Far from it: The image is part of an ad in the August 2 New York Times by a group affiliated with Project SAM, an anti-marijuana-legalization organization that launched in Colorado last year. The complete ad plus details and graphics aplenty below.

See also: Marijuana: Project SAM, Anti-Legalization Group, Launches Colorado Chapter, Mason Tvert Attacks

The New York Times thrust itself into the center of the marijuana legalization debate on July 27 with an editorial unambigulously headlined "Repeal Prohibition, Again." Toward the top of the piece, the Times editorial board writes, "It has been more than forty years since Congress passed the current ban on marijuana, inflicting great harm on society just to prohibit a substance far less dangerous than alcohol. The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana."

Earlier in July, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill legalizing medical marijuana in the state. Shortly thereafter, as Mashable notes, the Times published its first-ever marijuana ad -- a message from the folks at Leafly. Here it is:

leafly.marijuana.ad.jpg
Then, on Saturday, a new ad appeared -- this one from GrassIsNotGreener.com, whose website reveals that it is "an initiative of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens, co-founded by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. The initiative is supported by a number of prevention, treatment and medical groups."

The lead line on GrassIsNotGreener.com's home page reads: "If we're not careful, the marijuana industry could quickly become the next Big Tobacco." This theme is reiterated in the copy for the Times ad:

project.sam.ny.times.ad.jpg
Do the visuals contradict the message? The Marijuana Majority's Tom Angell thinks so. In an e-mail to Westword, he writes: "As someone who has been working in the legalization movement for over a decade to smash unhelpful stereotypes about who uses marijuana, I actually love this ad. The vast majority of people who see it in the newspaper are going to think it's a pro-legalization ad making the point that not only hippies use marijuana, but successful business people do, too."

Flash graphics on GrassIsNotGreener.com are more difficult to confuse. Here are screen captures of the seven currently on the site:

grassisnotgreener.com.graphic.1.jpg

grassisnotgreener.com.graphic.2.jpg

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grassisnotgreener.com.graphic.4.jpg

grassisnotgreener.com.graphic.5.jpg

grassisnotgreener.com.graphic.6.jpg

grassisnotgreener.com.graphic.7.jpg
As for the ad's attempt to equate the marijuana industry with Big Tobacco, Angell offers another interpretation.

"Most people who bother to read the text are going to realize that legalization means that a professional, above-ground industry will be taking control of the marijuana trade once we take it out of the hands of the violent drug cartels and gangs that run the show in the prohibition-created black market," he writes.

With that in mind, he adds, "I'm a little sad that SAM didn't ask Marijuana Majority to help fund the ad."

Angell shouldn't complain. If he's right, Project SAM just boosted the marijuana legalization campaign, albeit unintentionally, and it didn't cost him a dime.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.


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54 comments
Kindra Joy
Kindra Joy

Kristy Applebaum Thomas Barnes look at this utter nonsense guys! holy shit.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

Regular use of cannabis cannot lower your IQ by eight points; every one of the "facts" Project SAM cites is either an outright lie or a gross distortion.  The organization consists of self-serving, shameless liars.  We could investigate what so lowered the IQ of Project SAM that they placed an ad aiding the fight against Prohibition, but we should just be grateful that our enemies are stupider than we are, for all of the fact that we continue to fail to organize.  Project SAM wants to position itself as the leading last-gasp prohibitionist organization, and is succeeding in doing so, but to anyone knowledgeable, it appears desperate in its shilling for the forced "treatment" of adolescents who use cannabis.

softwareguy
softwareguy

Really? Being stoned while driving only doubles your chance of being in an accident? You know what? According to

http://www.borkensteincourse.org/faculty%20documents/DubowskiCrashRisk.pdf

a blood alcohol level of .07 (which is just under the legal definition of DUI and won't get you arrested) also doubles your risk of being in an accident. It sounds like driving while high shouldn't be illegal at all, if it's the same risk as being not quite drunk,

maryw0609
maryw0609

FACT all their facts are LIES!!!!! Hahahahaha too funny!

cplaceaccc
cplaceaccc

Well, marijuana may be the #1 reason for people to be admitted to treatment programs but if I was faced with the choice of higher fines and/or incarceration you know damn well I'll choose paying lip service to a "treatment" program.

Why is it "substance abuse?" Are they using it inappropriately or is the use of it defined as abuse solely because it is illegal?

SOLUTION: Stop making it illegal and it can't be abused (by the definition above.)


As far as age restrictions go, would driving underage be car abuse? Would sexual activity under 17 be classified as sexual abuse?

c.burnett
c.burnett

I think those were actually alcohol ads above and someone just replaced "alcohol" with "marijuana".

pjmccoll
pjmccoll

Currently 7% of the American population use marijuana. That means that 93% don't. Putting marijuana into the hands of big business means commercialization, greater access, avaialibity, marketing and advertising. BIG MARIJUANA IS THE NEXT BIG TOBACCO - going after the biggest market they can find and that means kids and youth will suffer. 90% of people start smoking before their 18th. birthday - why because a powerful industry knows to get to them young and they spend one million dollars an hour promoting their products in the USA alone. 20% of grade 8 kids in Denver Colorado are reported to be using marijuana, grade 12 is the biggest percentage with 30-53% region dependent. This is the market for marijuana obviously and it is and will remain an illegal market under legalization and kids will have greater access and crime will flourish under the guise of legalization. It makes no sense to legalize a product that is only used by a small small minority ( an elite) of the population when we know the facts, the harms and risks of use by youth and special populations - those that will fall to addiction, the pregnant, those with heart risk. What happened to protecting the vast majority who want to drive down a road without the added risk of drugged drivers, who want to go to  safe workplace ? 

The money behind the marijjana lobby has allowed them to pull the wool over the eyes of the nonsmoking and nonconsuming public. They outspent the anti pot lobby in Colorado and Washington by a mile. The pushers of pot are about greed and money and one has to ask what ever happened to caring about the welfare and health of the innocent, about taking responsibility for someone other than just yourself. Anyone who would use these recreational products knowing they are contributing to the advance of a real threat to the wellbeing of the next generation of kids is operating from an elitist position that should be challenged. 

Mike Streno
Mike Streno

You have the right to smoke pot whoop dee fuckin doo I don't care what you do. There's more important shit to worry about than people thinking pots bad, if all your worried about is pot then you have a problem

Michael Roque
Michael Roque

Stop shoving the idea that pot is bad up everyone's ass. Seriously I'm tired of this.

ConservativChristian
ConservativChristian

It's time for all of us to start doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. None of us would want our kids put in jail over a little marijuana. None of us would want the police to confiscate and sell our parents' home because they grew a couple of plants to help with the aches and pains of growing old. Let's start treating other people the way we would want to be treated.

Mike Streno
Mike Streno

Stop shoving the idea that pot is good up everyone's ass seriously I'm tired of this

MrsSkully Pierce
MrsSkully Pierce

I'm personally allergic to the ingestion of pot(caused me food poisoning like symptoms). But, I know it does wonders for my dads Parkinson's, and helps with my moms stress and my hubbies insomnia.

Virgil Dunn
Virgil Dunn

The anti-drug movements and PSAs of the 80s and 90s have demonstrated to ENCOURAGE, not discourage drug use.

sweetcookies3333
sweetcookies3333

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed...

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states and NEW YORK (CBD = Can't Be Done), sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

Deaths by Alcohol: Millions
Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade

Deaths by Guns: Millions

Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions

Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS! 33

Gonzo Trev
Gonzo Trev

No but the head looks like James Franco! And the body just looks like a suit.

Adam Johnson
Adam Johnson

"Times they are a changing." Bob Dylan. It's not the 40's anymore, get use to the idea of pot being legal cause it's not going anywhere, it's gonna change the world for the better. If you don't think so your thoughts on the matter are as old as the dinosaurs and the govt still controls your mind. Go out and actually learn the culture before you go deciding what's right and wrong. Colorado has great people and this is a part of the reason. Less narrow minded assholes, more open minded lovers. Pay it forward and think for yourself, don't let these bogus adds sway your perception because they are all just scare tactics.

janthoferdb
janthoferdb

@SpottedDick  The chocolates these people had likely got them sick not only because of the thc, but because of LivWell extraction methods. There is no oversight of douches like LivWell. They run a 100,000 sq.ft. warehouse, which, needless to say leads to contamination issues. LivWell is the epitome of industrialized cannabis. I've seen plenty of kids lighting up bongs in their parking lot. However, I didn't think they were smug enough to go dosing people at the county fair.  LivWell is a standard recreational rat den; Feeding off people's ignorance about cannabis, and exploiting their trust in local government. 

maryw0609
maryw0609

You say that untill your kids ends up diagnosed epileptic and has 400 seizures a month, and the only thing that will stop it is "Charlottes Web" Not the children story but the MARIJUANA strain. Not saying kids should be smoking pot, just saying you should know what your telling your kids before spreading more "FACT"s that aren't Factual at all.

maryw0609
maryw0609

@cplaceaccc #1 reason kids are going through substance abuse programs is in fact not Pot, Its Pharmaceuticals from your doctor. "

Highlights from the 2009 Drug Abuse Warning Network

In 2009, there were nearly 4.6 million drug-related ED visits nationwide. These visits included reports of drug abuse, adverse reactions to drugs, or other drug-related consequences. Almost 50 percent were attributed to adverse reactions to pharmaceuticals taken as prescribed, and 45 percent involved drug abuse. DAWN estimates that of the 2.1 million drug abuse visits—

  • 27.1 percent involved nonmedical use of pharmaceuticals (i.e., prescription or OTC medications, dietary supplements)"

maryw0609
maryw0609

@c.burnett Hit the nail on the head, sadly not 100% true, as Prescription meds are higher than both Booze and Pot combined.

maryw0609
maryw0609

@pjmccoll Like the numbers coming from Colorado stating that accidents in vehicles are down statewide, that new schools will be built from Government POT revenue? Your a blind ass sheep, open your eyes and open your mind to true scientific facts. Not propaganda, Your comment reeks of "Reefer Madness" lololol

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

@pjmccoll Thanks for sharing your thoughts, pjmccoll. We're going to feature your views in an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

LikkaSense
LikkaSense

@pjmccoll Or, users could just grow it themselves, since it's a plant. And the whole big industry argument just crumbles.

What might very well happen is that pot, which we could grow for free, would substantially replace the much more dangerous and expensive drug, alcohol.

I gotta laugh at all the folks who seem so sure about what's going to happen as pot becomes legal and more accepted. I don't believe either the sky is falling zealots and their cherry-picked claims, or the stoners who think it's all going to be roses.

Getting a product out of the hands of a violent illegal black market seems like enough of a plus that we should certainly try it this new way. The drug war has been an expensive failure.


maryw0609
maryw0609

FFS man you live in Denver and still fight it? Apparently you missed the news cast that stated that car accidents went down in your state, STATEWIDE, after legalization, Even as i type this i find it increasingly hard to believe that you honestly believe what you just said.

maryw0609
maryw0609

THen maybe go look it up for yourself and find some facts that are based on science, There are strains of marijuana saving lives, stopping seizures in young ones doomed with 4-500 a month, and now she has maybe 1 a year. Look up Charlottes Web marijuana strain, it wouldnt get you high if you smoked it, but it will save lives. You need to be more informed.

settledowntherejr
settledowntherejr

You are a jackass.  Please settle down and go back to school.  You sound like a teenager.  

maryw0609
maryw0609

I knew someone like this, Threw up profusely every time he smoked, however if he ate it he was just fine. Its not for everyone, but should be available to anyone who NEEDS it.

scubapig
scubapig

Pot is going to change the world for the better???  It's not going to make it any worse, but please!!!!

maryw0609
maryw0609

@warmer @pjmccoll Very true, its more like 90% of the population is tolerant of it, and another 45% of that actually smoke it. however another 25% or so of the 97% that either smoke or DONT but do support it, wouldnt admit it even being asked.

maryw0609
maryw0609

@michael.roberts @pjmccoll Are you kidding me? HE/She spouts at the mouth of lies and your going to feature it? Biased website, wont find myself here again. Everyone with an open mind to facts should do the same.

thickcloyingsauce
thickcloyingsauce

@LikkaSense Tobacco is also a plant. The second that any pot becomes accepted by society at large and "big marijuana" becomes a reality the marijuana companies will begin to adulterate it the same way that the currently adulterate tobacco. They will begin with adding chemical agents to increase the "flavor" ie. the addictive qualities inherent in any psychoactive substance. This will be followed by all sorts of mayhem. If you truly believe that people will continue to grow their own pot when they can go to a gas station and but something that has 10 times the kick you are delusional. Hell if you think people aren't lazy enough to go to a gas station to buy the same stuff they could grow at home then you are delusional. Lazy people are lazy and the pot culture is one of the only ones that I know of that glamorizes it.

maryw0609
maryw0609

@scubapig Umm yeah, Crime and car accidents are both down statewide in CO... compared to numbers of pre-legalization, not to mention the 30 million in revanue that will be used for new roads, new schools...ect...

krufty78
krufty78

@thickcloyingsauce @LikkaSense Yet tobacco consumption has decreased significantly since the 1960s, when public policy, public education and regulatory policies were enacted, so citing "big tobacco" here is disingenuous. Years of having marijuana be illegal has done nothing to reduce the use of it, and yet you use the example of an industry that despite vast amounts of money and political capital has been successfully fought against in order to make your case that legalization is not in the public interest?

thickcloyingsauce
thickcloyingsauce

@krufty78 @thickcloyingsauce @LikkaSense So you're saying that that you trust an industry devoted to selling a more desirable marijuana product than any other industry just because you are so desperate to legalize recreational pot? C'mon if you are going to argue for it at least be intellectually honest. The bullcrap pseudoscience your side purports pretty mush the only hing that keeps me from being on your side,

krufty78
krufty78

@thickcloyingsauce I didn't say that I was desperate to legalize pot. I trust that any industry is more regulatable than a criminal industry that is already devoted to selling a more desirable marijuana product and is under no legal obligation to comply with laws regarding potency, accessibility to minors, and advertising law. Nowhere in my post did I espouse any "bullcrap pseudoscience" so feel free to refrain from putting words in my mouth. I also tend to doubt based on your complete disregard to my point regarding the effectiveness of above-law regulation and social/health policy governance of dangerous substances such as tobacco and alcohol that you have any interest of "being on my side". That would be the side of overwhelming evidence that far more social harm has been caused by trying to treat marijuana abuse as a criminal problem rather than a health problem. Based on what you're saying, I have a hard time not concluding that you also believe tobacco and alcohol should be illegal too.

thickcloyingsauce
thickcloyingsauce

@krufty78 I'll give you a one time benefit of the doubt hat you somehow read someone elses post. It's so off topic you couldn't possibly be responding to mine. Unless...

thickcloyingsauce
thickcloyingsauce

@krufty78 Your not really that good at reading comprehension are you? I say this because you seem to have missed almost every point I made and for some reason seemed (maybe accidentally?)  to read the exact opposite in many cases? You are a major substance abuser, no?

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