California TV Stations Try to Censor Marijuana Debate

Marijuana Policy Project has launched a TV ad campaign in support of taxing and regulating marijuana in California:

Unfortunately, while the ad will appear on several networks, KABC in Los Angeles and KGO and KNTV in San Francisco actually rejected it:
At KABC in L.A., the ad was rejected for purportedly encouraging marijuana smoking. [MPP's Bruce] Mirken spoke to station manager Arnie Kleiner, who didn't return a call from the Huffington Post. "His feeling wasn't that the ad was promoting a change in the law, but that it was promoting marijuana smoking," said Mirken, adding that Kleiner told him, "I'm not going to advocate the smoking of marijuana. Marijuana is illegal." [Huffington Post]
As anyone viewing the ad can plainly see, it doesn’t endorse marijuana smoking in any way. The ad argues that the existing marijuana industry could be used to generate much-needed revenue for the state, which has nothing to do with whether or not one happens to personally like marijuana or think it's a good thing for people to do. The kneejerk assertion that all efforts to reform marijuana laws are equivalent to an endorsement of drug use is really as intellectually barren an argument as you'll ever find in the marijuana policy debate. It's a desperate cop-out and an instant indicator that you're dealing with someone whose comprehension of the issue is not fully formed.

Similarly, the argument that you can’t talk about changing marijuana laws because "marijuana is illegal" is just a paralyzing absurdity. Even the Governor of California is interested is debating marijuana legalization, so obviously the existence of current marijuana laws does not create an invisible barrier to intelligent discourse about public policy.

Fortunately, the marijuana debate has progressed to a point at which such petty obstructions serve only to embarrass those responsible. A recent poll shows that 56% of Californians support marijuana legalization, thus any public entity that endeavors to conceal or trivialize the argument takes a substantial risk of alienating its own patrons.

Nevertheless, the ad will air on many stations in California and it's thrilling to see the reform argument marketed to the mainstream. The Governor asked for a debate and that's exactly what he's going to get.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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It portrays people who smoke

It portrays people who smoke marijuana as normal people, and to somebody scared about their kids smoking marijuana, that's unacceptable.


It might be a different story if the ad referred to users in the third person like "If we are taxing people who use harmful and highly addictive tobacco cigarettes, does it make financial or public health sense to exclude people who use marijuana?"

Re: Bingo!

Actually that is a very good idea, let us hope the next ad is more like your idea than the current one.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

Good idea. In general, we

Good idea.

In general, we need to clarify the argument: the current debate revolves around whether pot is "good" or "bad" and if it's "good" we should legalize, and if it's "bad" we should prohibit.

We need to show people that pot is here, always has been, always will be, and we need to develop the most practical policy we can regarding its perennial presence in culture...What is the best policy for dealing with Marijuana. And i think drawing parallels to alcohol and tobacco policy is a good idea.

It is obvious that alcohol prohibition was a horrible idea...we need to show that we are in a similarly insane time with MJ prohibition.
Same with cigarettes...though they represent a public health hazard, i don't think many people would be in favor of incarcerating cigarette smokers through a policy of outright tobacco prohibition.

Cali has issues

above is a link claiming that Marijuana smoke Causes Cancer. WTF? Can one of you over educated Marijuana crusaders please look in to this for the rest of us.... Please.

Well, i do have 4 college

Well, i do have 4 college degrees soi'll try to handle this one...though i don't think you need a college degree to get it....drum it is...smoke is bad!
Doesn't matter what you are burning...partially combusted organic material contains carcinogens...whether burning a joint, a cigarette, a beef rib, a piece of broccoli, or gasoline...smoke is bad....

Are we going to ban beef ribs because smoking them causes cancer? Are we going to ban broccoli because smoking it causes cance? Are we going to ban everything that we might burn because the smoke it produces is carcinogenic?

Do you believe broccoli is carcinogenic because broccoli-smoke is carcinogenic?
Do you believe beef ribs are carcinogenic because beef rib-smoke is carcinogenic?
The same holds true for marijuana...the smoke is carcinogenic, the plant itself is not.

And lastly - do we really want to throw people in jail because they choose to inhale carcinogens? That is our current policy of prohibition, but i think it is clear it is a failed policy.

This is Good News!

"Unfortunately, while the ad will appear on several networks, KABC in Los Angeles and KGO and KNTV in San Francisco actually rejected it."

This is actually good news Scott. This is called a "Baby Negative." I would be worried when they reject everything. California is becoming marijuana friendlier by the minute. We have legal medical, dispensaries, and now a debate to legalize it like alcohol. And I don't think Obama is trying to stand is the way of States decriminalizing.

San Francisco of all places. Christ we are talking about Oaksterdam. Overwhelming support could weaken things when they are forced to look at both sides of the issue. This tempers the debate. Give them another ad! Simple as that.

Replacement Ads

Before creating another ad it would be useful to ask the program directors at LA’s KABC and SF’s KGO and KNTV what type of legalization ad they think is more acceptable.  It would be unusual if they failed to come up with some good ideas for something they feel more confident airing.

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