Yes, we are looking at marijuana and the airwaves again today. It is time to, since this week saw the launch of the first radio ad supporting legalization. From a purely neutral standpoint, this is something to be well aware of. After all, as Radio Business Report stated:
This is the kind of hot-button issue that will likely generate considerable interest, not just in California, but nationally. If supporters maintain an air presence, there will almost certainly be pushback from opponents, and cash from interested parties in other parts of the US could also flow into the state.
So pay attention. In this initial round, we have a pro-legalization ad that runs about a minute in length. It will be in rotation for a week and a half in the Los Angeles and San Francisco markets. The question is will it maintain and/or gain momentum or will it fizzle out and pass. If the former occurs, backlash from the opposing side is certain, as is the accompanying advertising spend.
So what does this first salvo sound like? John Hoeffle at The Los Angeles Times gives us a synopsis:
The ad features Jeffrey Studdard, a former school district police officer and reserve L.A. County sheriff’s deputy. Studdard says that he has “seen firsthand that the current approach on cannabis is simply not working,” explaining that the fight against marijuana has led to “violent drug cartels” and “dealers in our schools and our streets” without reducing consumption.
He concludes by saying the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act, which would allow cities and counties to authorize pot sales and tax them, would raise billions and allow police to focus on violent crime.
According to Hoeffle’s article, the group has hopes to raise funds for further rotations of this ad as well as plans for other radio and television spots featuring police officers, judges, doctors, teachers and parents. I would say that we are looking at the beginning of a political ad trend that will buy a lot of airtime over the course of 2010.
There is a very real possibility that this is a trend to watch. With politics as polarized as they are in modern-day America, an issue this controversial is likely to spark as we enter the coming round of elections.
Note: Comments on this post will be sternly moderated. They are not for the purpose of arguing for or against legalization and they are not a place to discuss the politics of the story. Those comments will be summarily deleted.