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Enjoy Better Sex! Legalize and Tax Marijuana

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This is the slogan on one of the ads from Change The Climate, a marijuana policy reform organization. The current repertoire of ads (available at their site), include the slogans

  • Enjoy Better Sex! Legalize and Tax Marijuana
  • Save our Taxes! Legalize and Tax Marijuana
  • Protect our Children! Legalize and Tax Marijuana

They’ve now been expanded to include 10 subway stations in Washington, DC starting today.
The ads are very controversial and have generated some heat.

D.C. Council member Jim Graham, chairman of Metro’s Board of Directors,
said, “These ads are intolerable, and we need to review our policies so
that First Amendment considerations are not allowed to compel us to accept
this type of advertising.”

Wow! Upsetting enough to be worth trying an end run around the 1st Amendment!
To be honest, I wasn’t sure at first if I liked the ads, but after Graham’s comment, I like them a whole lot more.
As I think about it, the drug policy reform movement has been operating in a difficult position. The drug czar issues a statement about marijuana that is utterly false, and we’re put in the position of responding with a complex set of true facts and figures. He gets the sound bite, while we are on the defensive.
For example:

Drug Czar: “A recent study of reckless drivers showed that 1 in 3 tested positive for marijuana. Marijuana – it’s more dangerous than we thought.”
Us: “The citation of this study (Brookoff, D.; et al., New England Journal of Medicine, 331:518-522) is extremely misleading for a number of reasons: This study screened out all alcohol impaired drivers before selecting the sample. No information was given as to the percentage of those eliminated from that sample, only that after eliminating alcohol-related reckless driving, there were only 150 subjects who were tested; Information on positive marijuana testing is meaningless as a factor in reckless driving, since marijuana gives positive tests for up to two weeks after use, and the data did not say that any of the drivers were impaired as a result of the use of marijuana…”… Well, you get the idea. People have fallen asleep by the time we’re done, and all they remember the Drug Czar’s false sound bite.

The thing I like about the “Change the Climate” campaign is that drug policy reformers are in the position of giving the sound bite, and the Drug Czar has the harder task of countering. I mean, how does he respond to “Enjoy Better Sex! Legalize Marijuana”? I suppose he could join council member Graham and try to overturn the 1st Amendment.
The ad campaign will infuriate some people and intrigue others. But it will get them talking about marijuana in a different way, and that’s not bad.

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