TV Stations Pulled Anti-Legalization Ads Ahead Of Midterm Marijuana Votes, Advocates Say

TV Stations Pulled Anti-Legalization Ads Ahead Of Midterm Marijuana Votes, Advocates Say

In the run-up to Election Day, at least two Michigan television stations pulled political ads promoting false claims about the state’s ultimately successful marijuana legalization measure, cannabis reform advocates told Marijuana Moment.

The ads, paid for by prohibitionist committee Healthy and Productive Michigan (HAPM), attempted to stoke fears about legalization, incorrectly claiming that the initiative would allow for “unlimited potency” cannabis products.

“Legalized marijuana allows ice creams, cookies and candies with unlimited potency, making its way into our schools and playgrounds, putting the lives of our children and grandchildren at stake,” the ad states.

But that claim was fact-checked by the pro-legalization Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which raised the issue with television and radio stations where the ads were being run. Two stations—WWMT and WPBN—decided to pull the ads, according to committee treasurer Matthew Schweich, who also served as deputy director for the national Marijuana Policy Project.

“I pointed out that Proposal 1 required that the regulator, the Michigan department of licensing and regulatory affairs, set a maximum potency level for edibles per Section 8 of the initiative,” Schweich said. “I felt it was necessary to prevent Healthy and Productive Michigan from misleading voters through the use of demonstrably false claims.”

The paid-for ad spots were seemingly then filled by another one of HAPM’s ad, which features former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb encouraging a “no” vote on legal cannabis.

Much of the footage appears to be from the same shoot that prohibition advocates used in advertisements against Arizona’s 2016 marijuana legalization ballot measure, suggesting that opponents of the Michigan proposal were in quite a scramble to find a replacement for their state-specific ad that TV stations would no longer air.

“It is somewhat uncommon for TV stations to pull political ads and this is the first time I’ve seen it happen on the six marijuana reform initiatives in which I’ve been involved over the past four years,” Schwich said. “It is representative of the dishonest campaign that prohibitionists ran in Michigan.”

All told, the anti-legalization committee spent about $340,000 on broadcast television ads—in addition to another roughly $350,000 on cable television ads—and the two stations that pulled the spot in question accounted for about one-third of the total over-the-air spend, according to Schweich.

Marijuana Moment reached out to the anti-legalization committee—as well as prohibitionist group Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which provided significant contributions to HAPM and also promoted the ad—for comment, but did not hear back by the time of publication.

The “unlimited potency” ad wasn’t the HAPM’s only attempt to persuade the public to vote against full legalization in Michigan. In another ad, the group’s president makes misleading claims about the impact of reform on traffic safety, falsely conflating active impairment from marijuana with the presence of cannabis metabolites in drug tests, for example.

And then there were a handful of generic anti-legalization ads like this one that relied chiefly on fear-mongering.

Representatives for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns both Michigan television stations, also were not immediately available for comment.

Michigan voters approved the marijuana legalization measure by a sizable margin on Election Day.

This story has been updated to clarify figures for HAPM’s TV ad budget.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

TV Stations Pulled Anti-Legalization Ads Ahead Of Midterm Marijuana Votes, Advocates Say

Hollywood Seeing Green in Cannabis Culture

Hollywood Seeing Green in Cannabis Culture

Previously, the topic of marijuana on both network and cable television has been limited to reality shows, 60-minute specials and the occasional antics of Conan O’Brien or Jimmy Kimmel. But that is starting to change.

The most recent Gallup poll reported 58 percent of the country supports cannabis legalization, and some states have had medical marijuana programs for over a decade. It is a consistent topic of conversation on social media and in presidential debates. Seeing that marijuana is part of millions of American’s lives, tv networks are starting to test the waters.

HBO is seeing the genius in High Maintenance, an already-successful web series on Vimeo. While the politics of an independent web series becoming property of an entertainment juggernaut has sparked debate among fans, HBO has ordered six episodes with the potential for more.

It is worth noting that many of the new projects are using legal marijuana dispensaries as a backdrop to their stories. Parks & Recreation’s Adam Scott is set to produce a show for NBC along with his wife, producer Naomi Scott, about life in a legal Colorado dispensary. Kevin Smith is so excited about his show “Hollyweed” that he foot the bill for the pilot. It also centers around life in a marijuana dispensary, and is being sponsored by companies within the cannabis industry. Margaret Cho is part of Highland, a series for Amazon about life in a dispensary owned by her parents. This show will have more of a dramatic bent, with Cho’s character attending court-ordered rehab.

A script co-written by Chuck Lorre and David Javerbaum is being shown to major networks and direct-to-consumer providers like Netflix. The plot involves an ensemble cast of coworkers at a Colorado dispensary. Lorre and Javerbaum have 24 emmys between them, which might be enough to convince networks to pick up the show.

These projects involve enough influential actors, producers and networks to signify that cannabis culture will start to appear in mainstream entertainment more frequently. Stay tuned.

kristin kloc

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