The battle for legal cannabis is being waged across the United States. This November, voters in five states will be casting in favor or against recreational marijuana laws.
As is expected this time of year, television ads proclaiming the benefits and detriments of each proposition are hitting the airwaves, hoping to sway voters to side with their cause.
Cannabis is in a rather unique position. Television ads promoting cannabis use are not permitted for fears of exposing children to the conversation prematurely, but cannabis ads promoting legal adult use are allowed.
The message portrayed in these television spots varies from state to state, and it is actually quite interesting to view these commercials by comparing the overall feelings toward cannabis among the population.
Massachusetts is one of the five states voting on recreational cannabis this November. Question 4 in Massachusetts would bring legal cannabis to a state that has had a notoriously difficult time implementing an efficient medical marijuana program. Unlike California, where the likelihood of cannabis legalization passing is nearly 60 percent, Massachusetts is hovering at 50 percent, with a substantial number of voters still undecided.
The messaging in Massachusetts is still dripping in fear. California has had twenty years of medical marijuana success with very little evidence of increased youth exposure or other negative social impacts. Massachusetts, on the other hand, has not seen cannabis success at the same scale of success, and it is no surprise that opposition to recreational use is still heavily focused on the negative stereotypes on marijuana.
In the TV ad above, which recently aired across the state of Massachusetts, a mother must cope with her daughter being inadvertently exposed to retail cannabis, and her son being allowed to legally purchase cannabis. Youth exposure is a prevalent issue in every state deciding on cannabis laws.
But in California, where Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom publicly spent time and energy to discuss the cannabis dilemma, most people are confident that the state has the ability to oversee a responsible cannabis industry.
That does not mean California voters are not also hearing negative aspects of Proposition 64 during commercial breaks. In the video above, many of the fears from the Massachusetts commercial are present in the No on 64 spot. Driving under the influence, television ads promoting use, and gummy candies that appeal to children are all three pillars of anti-cannabis campaigns.
Pro-cannabis campaigns are doing everything in their power to relay a different message to voters. The pro-marijuana voice is focusing on the safeguards that legalization would put into place. Not only would adults have safer and more reliable access to cannabis through licensed businesses, but children would have a much more difficult time acquiring cannabis if the shady retailers were at risk of losing their licensing.
The other major focus of pro-cannabis campaigns across the country is the staggering amount of tax revenue that would be available through legal cannabis programs. California has an exceptionally large population, more than that of all the other current recreational marijuana states combined.
With Colorado and Washington continuing to shatter tax revenue records, California would be remiss not to institute a similar program. States like Massachusetts may not have the same earning potential as California, but could certainly still benefit from the extra tax dollars.
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