Newsbrief: MPP Releases TV Ads on Harms of Marijuana Prohibition in Third Phase of Group's "War on Drug Czar" Campaign 2/28/03

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The Marijuana Policy Project this week took its "War on Drug Czar" campaign to a new phase as it began running TV ads in Washington, DC, lampooning the drug czar's drugs and terrorism ad campaign. MPP has already asked for inquiries of drug czar John Walters' campaign against last year's marijuana initiatives at both the state level in Nevada and the federal level in Washington, DC.

Designed to parody Office of National Drug Control Policy ads linking marijuana use to terrorism, gang violence, teen pregnancy, and just about any other social ill the czar can imagine, the ad features two men -- the famous Nick and Norm of the ONDCP ads -- conversing in a bar. Nick tells Norm that the marijuana trade supports violence only because marijuana is illegal. "If I buy a beer, that doesn't support terror, because beer is legal, right?" Nick asks. When Norm agrees, Nick concludes, "So what you're saying is if we make marijuana legal and regulate it like beer, it wouldn't support violence."

The ads began running Thursday on ABC, CBS, and FOX affiliates in Washington, DC, and are scheduled to run through March 7, said MPP Communications Director Bruce Mirken. They cost $20,000.

Public interest groups that run issue ad campaigns count on media attention to amplify their message, and MPP is no exception. "We've managed to get some coverage from the Associated Press and from a local TV station," he said. "We're hoping for more, but it's tough these days, it's all Iraq all the time."

Still, the ads were needed because of ONDCP's anti-marijuana propaganda, said Mirken. "The drug czar has really gone heavily on the anti-marijuana binge with the campaign he's running," Mirken said. "The point is really that marijuana doesn't cause violence, prohibition does."

In response to the ad campaign, ONDCP spokesman Tom Riley said the ads were flawed because the same logic would support legalizing heroin or cocaine.

Visit http://www.mpp.org/WarOnDrugCzar/commercials/ to view the ads.

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