Television advertising is one of the best ways for voters to be reached and with the November election getting nearer with each passing day, it’s no surprise we’ve seen a large number of commercials both in support of state marijuana initiatives and against them. The most recent addition to this list is a 30 second ad featuring the Arkansas Surgeon General, which was created by Arkansans Against Marijuana Legalization – a group who wants voters to say no to both of the potential medical marijuana initiatives.
“But this is just drug abuse and it’s not medicine,” Bledsoe says in the ad, as the image of several young people smoking pot is shown. “Get the law right and many of us will support it. Until then, don’t buy the big lie.”
While the state surgeon general does admit in the ad that there are compounds in cannabis with therapeutic potential, he does not believe either of the initiatives should be passed. The group spent $50,000 to air this ad throughout the state over the coming week. The groups running the legalization campaigns have called this ad misleading, especially with the way it agreed that cannabis can be medicine, while giving off the vibe that it isn’t with their imagery.
“It was very disappointing at the same time that while acknowledging there are medical benefits, they choose to show potheads smoking pot instead of actual patients,” said David Couch, the sponsor of one of medical marijuana proposals. Couch said he hoped to begin airing ads for his proposal before early voting begins Monday.
On top of this new ad released by the opposition, there has also been recent talk from law enforcement with claims that they will need additional funding if either of the medical marijuana initiatives pass. Though he has a list of things he says they will need funding for, others believe that legalizing medical marijuana will mean that patients are off limits – so there will be less people to arrest.
“We will be required to train more drug recognition experts, and in addition we will need to add criminal investigators to assist in this endeavor and also train our criminal investigators to dismantle and disrupt these marijuana grow operations,” State Police Director Col. Bill Bryant said at a news conference with Attorney General Leslie Rutledge and other opponents. Bryant said he planned to offer more details on the additional funding needed at a legislative hearing Thursday with other agency directors.
While the state police are trying to make legalization look like an expensive move, voters need to remember that medical marijuana isn’t simply to help end prohibition – it’s to give patients legal access, and to make sure they are no longer criminals for their choice in medical treatment. Hopefully voters will see past these tactics and realize that legalizing medical marijuana is the right thing to do for those who can benefit and see a better quality of life from it.