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From SAFER Colorado: Marijuana Initiative Campaign to Unveil Billboard Highlighting Drug Czar's Ad Calling Marijuana Use the "Safest Thing in the World"

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
MEDIA ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - October 10, 2006 On the same day the nation's Drug Czar is in town... Marijuana Initiative Campaign to Unveil Billboard Highlighting Drug Czar's Ad Calling Marijuana Use the "Safest Thing in the World" Amendment 44 proponents welcome the Drug Czar to town with hope that he will continue valuable education campaign Amendment 44 proponents to hold events in Colorado Springs (9:30 a.m.) and Denver (12:30 p.m.) to coincide with Drug Czar's visit Contact: Mason Tvert, SAFER campaign director, 720-255-4340 DENVER - On Wednesday, October 11, the proponents of Amendment 44, the initiative to make marijuana possession legal for adults in Colorado, will hold press conferences in Colorado Springs and Denver to unveil its first billboard of the campaign. These events will coincide with appearances by the nation's Drug Czar, John Walters (officially the Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)). This billboard will feature a quote from a new ad that is part of the Drug Czar's National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The quoted ad - which is designed to discourage teen marijuana use - is called "Pete's Couch" and refers to using marijuana and hanging out as the "safest thing in the world." One can watch the ad on this site - - and the transcript of the ad is pasted at the bottom of this release. The press conference in Colorado Springs - which will feature a large banner replica of the Denver billboard - will take place outside of 2 N. Cascade Ave at 9:30 a.m. The press conference in Denver will be held beneath the new billboard in the lot of Family Trucks and Vans (2468 S. Broadway, on the NE corner of Broadway and Harvard). "Our campaign is not calling marijuana the 'safest thing in the world.,'" said SAFER Campaign Director Mason Tvert. "These are the drug czar's words. But it is important to highlight this phrase to counter the claims of our opponents - including the drug czar himself, ironically - that marijuana is a 'very dangerous' and 'addictive' substance. Clearly, the drug czar has recognized at some level that exaggerated claims about the harms of marijuana are an ineffective means of reducing teen use. The dramatic phrase in the Pete's Couch ad is far closer to the truth." "Now that the drug czar is being more honest with teens, we invite him to share this newfound honesty with adults in Colorado," continued Tvert. "Our only point in this campaign is that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and, thus, it does not make sense to punish adults for using the safer substance. It seems like he agrees about the relative harms of the two substances. Now he just needs to get over his desire to punish adults for using a substance less harmful than alcohol. If he can do so, we welcome him to join us on the campaign trail." The Drug Czar will be holding an event of his own at South High School in Denver (1700 East Louisiana Avenue) at 11 a.m. This is just 2.5 miles from where the billboard will be unveiled at 12:30 p.m. "When the Drug Czar is done with his event," added Tvert. "We hope that he will come to the site of the billboard to discuss his motivation behind the new tone of the media campaign and his seemingly inconsistent desire to spend taxpayer dollars to travel to Colorado to spread age-old myths about marijuana's supposed harms." MEDIA EVENTS - Details Colorado Springs *** Photo opportunity - large banner replica of Denver billboard *** What: Amendment 44 press conference When: Wednesday, October 11, 2006, at 9:30 a.m. Where: In front of 2 N. Cascade Ave., Colorado Springs Who: Mason Tvert, lead proponent for Amendment 44 Denver What: Amendment 44 press conference to unveil new billboard When: Wednesday, October 11, 2006, at 12:30 p.m. Where: 2468 S. Broadway, on the NE corner of Broadway and Harvard (in the lot of Family Trucks and Vans) Who: Mason Tvert, lead proponent for Amendment 44 ================== Transcript of Pete's Couch ad (Provided by ONDCP at (Scene opens with a guy sitting on the couch talking directly to the camera) I smoked weed and nobody died. I didn't get into a car accident, I didn't O.D. on heroin the next day, nothing happened. (Shot widens to show the guy with two friends sitting on the couch) We sat on Pete's couch for 11 hours. Now what's going to happen on Pete's couch? Nothing. (Shot now shows the guys on the couch in the middle of the woods with some mountain bikers riding by. Then to a basketball court. Then an ice rink.) You have a better shot of dying out there in the real world, driving hard to the rim, ice skating with a girl. No, you wanna keep yourself alive, go over to Pete's and sit on his couch til you're 86. Safest thing in the world. (Shot now shows the guys on the couch outside a movie theater. The guy talking gets up from the couch and walks into the theater) Me? I'll take my chances out there. Call me reckless. ( logo appears)
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