Ad wars

So, after the New York Times legalization editorial, a Kevin Sabet-coalition called called Grass is Not Greener ran a full page ad in the Times – one that has been widely ridiculed by reform groups for actually helping make the case for legalization by visually indicating that marijuana is used by people in all walks of life.

Now, there’s in the New York Times – this time supporting the Compassionate Care Act, paid for by Leafy, a website that reviews and locates medical marijuana locations.

Both ads are below the jump. See which one you think is best.



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38 Responses to Ad wars

  1. divadab says:

    The thing that really bugs me is that the fraudulent self-serving propaganda put out by prohibitionist organizations are paid for by ME with my tax dollars, against my will and that of most citizens of the US. Time to defund these self-serving scum and make them get real jobs doing something useful instead of lying to justify oppressive and evil prohibitionist policies – ON OUR DIME!

  2. The attempt to shame corporate America into accepting prohibition by portraying them as scheming closet hippies is laughable.

    You are right divadab. The “greener” picture could easily be the local addiction specialist hard at work.
    “You might call me cynical for saying this but what we see here is is those who make their living from the current drug laws arguing that they must be kept, that freedom must be denied, so that they get to keep their jobs. Which is, when you come to think of it, a fairly hilarious argument, most especially if we take them seriously.”

  3. lombar says:

    Funny, the prohibition one can be interpreted in a positive way. The perception is that stoners are all surfers/skiers and video game players/Spicollis when the reality is that they are Armani wearing high power executive types. Good Job!

    Perhaps we chose to see it as an age to usher OUT all kinds of bad profit making enterprises, big cannabis companies don’t scare me like swat teams.

  4. Howard says:

    Looking at the Grass I Not Greener site, the first quote in the slide of “facts” states;

    “Regular marijuana use can reduce your IQ by as much as 8 points”

    The same “fact” is later repeated under “10 reasons to oppose legalization” as;

    “Heavy marijuana use in adolescence leads to an average IQ loss of 8 points later in life.”

    This talking point was repeated recently by Ruth Marcus on “Meet The Press” and was also mentioned in the “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” hearing.

    As we already know, this “fact” came from a study out of Duke University that relied on data compiled from tracking 1,037 marijuana users in Dunedin, New Zealand for over three decades. However, Ole Rogeberg (a labor economist at the Frisch Center in Norway), looked at the New Zealand data from a different angle and suggested it’s possible that socioeconomic factors could explain the IQ drop. The Duke researchers countered Rogeberg’s claim and said they did factor in socioeconomic factors and remain convinced cannabis use resulted in the IQ drop. But within their rebuttal to Rogeberg is this wavering comment;

    “Observational studies like ours cannot prove causation, and yet many important research questions, including whether cannabis alters cognitive function, are intractable to experimentation. It is unethical to randomly assign youngsters to use cannabis for years, to test whether such use impairs mentation. However, even if experimentation were ethical, it could merely show that cannabis has potential capacity to impair cognition. Only a population-representative observational study tests whether cannabis actually is impairing cognition in the real world and how much.”


    In spite of the above statement, the IQ drop claim is now imbedded as fact for those who choose to not read beyond the screaming headline.

    • free radical says:

      “Regular marijuana use can reduce…”
      Where is all the “regular marijuana” at? I want to use some of that.
      All I can find is “amazing marijuana”.

    • claygooding says:

      “Regular marijuana use can reduce your IQ by as much as 8 points”

      Living in poverty the stress from trying to feed and house your family can reduce everyone in the family’s IQ by 14 points,,it would make more sense to fix poverty than worry about marijuana users losing 8 points,,,except prohibitionist,,they can’t afford an 8 point loss and they are living the good life on the government teat..

      • War Vet says:

        Yet pot reduces stress, which can negate those 14pts, while enticing her addicts to seek out nature, different movies, art, books, tolerance, politics, religion, music, hiking, stock/IRA investments etc, thus reinforcing the stimulation of the mind that makes one smarter. And the tar like residue coating our brains from daily use would serve to protect us from any brain damage that we get when working around loud noises or sports or from the kind of rough sex one gets while dressed up like Nixon and Mrs. Kangaroo from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ . . . while also protecting the brain and lungs from anything one breaths in from one’s job or simply walking around cars and gas/coal powered machines.

        I was cutting concrete Friday after work in a sealed off room with a gas powered cutter. My Vietnam Vet Father in Law got Carbon Monoxide Poison plus won’t be able to hack up what dust the mask wouldn’t filter, while I was able to smoke pot before and after, thus better protecting my brain and lungs from the poison and the concrete dust.

    • B. Snow says:

      Obviously none of these fuckers have looked at – or looked up – Dunedin, New Zealand before!

      Seriously, a glance at the Wikipedia entry (or Google Maps for that matter) shows the problem (IMO) = “The city’s largest industry is tertiary education…”

      That means their economy depends on them doing research and studies like the “Dunedin Study” – which is the most horrible excuse for a study – (allegedly) “proving cannabis use lowers IQ”, Even with a handful of caveats – its still fishy as hell.
      Somehow, the idea that they’re doing made-to order research on the other side of the planet in an economy beholden to Universities and the research done there – apparently occurs to almost no one but me.

      IDK which is more disturbing, the fact that so many people are propping up their garbage arguments with it.
      And this doesn’t get them immediately called out – on hiding behind ONE deeply flawed – Correlation *Magically* Proves Causation “-flavored” study on shows like “Meet The Press”?

      OR, the probability that it gets Kev-Kev, Pati-Cake, and friends – hard and/or wet at the drop of a hat?

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Hasn’t anyone thought to demand that the tests used in the study be calibrated?

        In 1973 did state of the art methods of testing to determine IQ produce reliable results?

        Did the researchers use 1973 state of the art IQ tests through out the study? If not, couldn’t the actual problem have been simply that the 1973 tests overstated a person’s IQ?

        Was there a control group given IQ test placebos? How can the study be valid without double blind placebos?

        Is there any study which I could read that measures how much regular use of propaganda lowers IQ? I’m pretty sure that the average IQ of the typical sycophant of prohibition has been constantly dropping month by month. Based on those observations I’ve started to wonder, can IQs actually go negative?

        • allan says:

          Duncan, contact NIPA (Nat’l Institute of Prohibition Abuse). I understand they have conclusively proven that, um, damn, where’d I put that study?

          brb, hold your breath until I return.

  5. free radical says:

    That top image definitely gave the impression of being pro-legalization when I first looked at it. That was the crux of Peter’s first paragraph above. Ridicule may be an appropriate response, certainly mirth, but also gratitude. Thanks, prohibbies, for being you! I am thankful for every ignorant, bigoted one of you. You continue to make the best case against prohibition by accurately representing it.

    Why did they have to go with the most sinister-looking of hippies? Complete with villain moustache and evil smirk? So y’all are saying the false “perception” is that pot smokers are all villainous hippies, but in reality, pot smokers are mostly like this innocuous guy in a suit? Is that what you were going for? You couldn’t find a single hippy headshot in which the hippy looked friendly, harmless? Or you just couldn’t bring yourself to portray hippies, your sworn enemy, in anything close to a positive light? Even to make your point? In an image that needs to be precise and readable? So doesn’t this ad help reinforce the public’s awareness of just how out-of-touch the prohibs are? I mean, is there anyone even editing these ads? Or checking? Focus-grouping? Nothing?

    So again, thanks prohibbers for your best efforts to express your position. You did it perfectly!

    • War Vet says:

      I thought the hippy looked like a good guy who would speak to the Boy Scouts on the values of cleaning up the earth and being bold enough to experiment with investments and different alternative industries for when they get out of college. I know this guy goes to church in my town and he’s the one who gets high before church as a way of totally making himself non-judgmental and open to others. He’s also the guy who wouldn’t mind creating a hemp business that donates hemp food or clothing to children in 3rd world nations, while also confident in himself that he can create a small legal weed shop (with possible bakery/hotel/lounge/woodland-country tours while high etc ideas up in his head as well). He’s the typical outdoor smoker. He prefers to smoke pot away from his home and out in nature while on a walk out in the neighborhood or park or woods or prairie. He’s also skinny, thus reinforcing the fact that pot does help you become active and motivated–alert and not sleepy and not constantly hungry.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        Isn’t that Johnny Depp? Am I confused?

        • War Vet says:

          No, you are right. It is the picture of a confused Mr. Depp, not you being confused.

        • Windy says:

          Johnny Depp is my favorite living actor, I know his face VERY well and that is NOT Johnny Depp. The photo does sort of look like Johnny, but it is obvious it is not Johnny when you see it close up. Johnny does enjoy cannabis, btw.

  6. War Vet says:

    Greener does a good job at suggesting that we allow the small guy to compete with Big Marijuana since we know that Big Tobacco makes tobacco more harmful than it should be. Let’s not kid our selves: marijuana can be harmful and addictive if manipulated with other chemicals like tobacco is. Thank you Grassisgreener for keeping up with the purity of competition–a kind of competition that can force Big Marijuana to remain all natural, considering their customer might have a few more choices.

    I know I’m not seeing it the way Kevin wanted me to, but I like his add better. I like how he suggest we utilize the 1890 Sherman Anti Trust Act in ways which would suit Jesus: respectful/peaceful competition where the product can be pure and not fouled up harmful additives. Also, he’s implying that by not legalizing pot, we allow such corporate giants to invest in the black market as seen with Mr. Delorian and HSBC etc., which further plagues our nation’s commerce and trade with bitter illegal revenue while investing in corruption (just like allowing Big Tobacco to be so big enables many evils as well). I think Kevin is subconsciously coming to the light. His policy is so wrong, how can he not but accidently promote legalization for a few inches of truth out of the many miles of lies he treads upon. Nature corrects itself in very subtle ways.

  7. NorCalNative says:

    “…a highly habit forming product.”

    If that were true you would expect that my attempt at quitting cannabis after 14-years of daily use would have ended in a Day 1 or Day 2 RELAPSE.


    If it wasn’t for neuropathy I wouldn’t have any problem going without based on how I’m feeling right now. Other than trouble sleeping the first night I’m in really good shape.

    And, the Leafly AD is awesome.

  8. NorCalNative says:


    If anyone is a fan of pro bicycle racing check out Levi Leipheimer’s twitter feed. He has a five-day old Instagram photo of 2013 Tour de France winner Chris Froome and himself on Riebli Road in Santa Rosa.

    The picture of the two was taken less than a mile from my home. This is a big deal for me to see a Tour de France champ on my turf.

    Too me, the bicycle is almost as cool as cannabis. Human powered vehicles ROCK!

  9. Servetus says:

    The ad is an example of negativity bias that combines Big Tobacco business suits with happy hippie hedonists. Negativity bias is used when the intended audience is conservative, because conservatives tend to respond more strongly to the negative than the positive.

    People fighting cancer and MS inspire hope, which is positively biased, and is reflected in the Leafly ad in images of otherwise sick people jogging and going to work in an urban setting. The phrase “Just Say Know” is one invented by Timothy Leary, and is intellectual. Conservatives are anti-intellectual. The Leafly’s intended audience are liberals, Libertarians and libertines, as well as people who require marijuana for medical reasons.

    The public has mostly made up its mind on cannabis. The two ads aren’t going to change many attitudes. The ads are more symbolic, like planting a flag at the top of a tall mountain peak, or San Juan Hill. If the New York Times is getting $179,908 each time one of these ads is placed, then the Gray Lady will be planting her own flag on a mountain of cash.

  10. allan says:

    OT but oh so charming:

    First-hand consequences of legalizing recreational weed

    Denver kicked off the nation’s first county fair to permit marijuana competitions this past Friday. The city’s county fair includes a 21-and-over “Pot Pavillion” where contestants can showcase plants, homemade bongs, edible items and even clothing made from the cannabis plant. No actual weed is permitted for display or consumption on the county fair grounds. Instead, contestants showcase their products through a series of photographs for the public.

    • claygooding says:

      Some day state and some county fairs will have a “buds” category,,,when reefer madness is cured.

  11. Francis says:

    The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations whose primary source of revenue is a highly habit-forming product.

    Wait, so if we legalize cannabis, corporations will start selling it?! Corporations as in the exact same type of legal entity that sells us pretty much every other product and service we buy? Gosh, that does sound scary. Better to just stick with the status quo and leave cannabis distribution to criminal gangs and cartels. I mean, we obviously wouldn’t want to deprive those guys of one of their primary sources of revenue.

  12. “The legalization of marijuana means ushering in an entirely new group of corporations…”

    Is this the type of business growth SAM does not like? :

    Former Colorado prison proposed for marijuana growing business

  13. allan says:

    yeah… I thought business was a good thing. I mean money is our country’s middle name. Is Kev-kev anti-American? (trick question!)

    My father worked for years in the auto biz. Was good at what he did. Made money doing it. Cars have killed millions, cannabis hasn’t killed anybody. Making money built this country (for whatever that’s worth). Have we been wrong all these years? (another trick question!)

    Seriously, do they think this tactic will work or are they now just milking it to its ultimate and rapidly approaching end?

    • Howard says:

      “Seriously, do they think this tactic will work or are they now just milking it to its ultimate and rapidly approaching end?”

      I really don’t think the “Big Marijuana” business model is resonating the way Kevin Sabet would hope for. I think the tactic he’s tying into this approach that will likely have some people continually wringing their hands is “Big Marijuana” targeting children and adolescents resulting in lives altered by low IQ’s and dreaded addiction. Yes, his, and many other prohibitionists are still reaching back to the days of Anslinger and asking “what about the children?”.

      Along with the flawed cannabis/lowered IQ link, another “adolescent brain altering” scare is still making the rounds (referenced to recently in a WSJ article by Peter Wehner). This has to do with the supposed link between adolescent cannabis use resulting in abnormal white matter formation. The results of the study were describe thusly;

      “Adolescents and young adults who are heavy users of marijuana are more likely than non-users to have disrupted brain development, according to a new study. Pediatric researchers found abnormalities in areas of the brain that interconnect brain regions involved in memory, attention, decision-making, language and executive functioning skills. The findings are of particular concern because adolescence is a crucial period for brain development and maturation.” [this is the lead paragraph of an article with the type larger than the rest of the article]

      Sounds pretty damn scary, right? Several paragraphs down is this;

      “[Manzar] Ashtari [the lead researcher] added that the findings are preliminary. Among other limitations of the study, such as a small sample size, five of the 14 subjects with heavy cannabis use also had a history of alcohol abuse, which may have contributed an effect. Also, it is possible that the brain abnormalities may have predisposed the subjects to drug dependence, rather than drug usage causing the brain abnormalities.” [emphasis added]



      So here we go again. Start off an article with the lead paragraph outlining a dire scenario. Then buried somewhere below is a caveat that quite possibly negates the original claim. But those using these studies to scare parents and society at large never mention these caveats. Why tell the whole story when a hand picked sound bite will do?

  14. kaptinemo says:

    As if prohibition itself wasn’t Big Business.

    When you look at the ‘Defense’ budget, you find a lot that is earmarked for ‘drug control’.

    But just about everything you can imagine that’s used in a military mission is dual use for ‘drug control’, particularly in foreign nations that just happen to have natural resources American companies want cheap…and want the US military to get for them

    But normally it can’t do so due to that being naked aggression. But start screaming “The (American) Children! The (American) Children!” and it’s full steam ahead. So ‘Juan Valdez’ or ‘Ali Abu’s’ kids get the chop to ostensibly keep Johnny and Suzy Whitebread’s circulatory systems free of illegal metabolites. And their countries get ripped to pieces to keep the Military Industrial Complex rolling along. While Big Bizness counts the bucks.

    My, how (sneering) conveeeeenient.

    So, when Kevvie and Co. want to talk about Big Business, then remind him that just about every contractor supplying the US military is also doing so in ‘support’ of the American ‘War on Drugs’. With wholly predictable – and horrific – regionally destabilizing results.

    • claygooding says:

      I would believe it was a war on drugs if I didn’t have so many pics of US soldiers patrolling through fields of poppies and Afghan Kush.
      After over a decade of controlling the Happy Valley and no crop eradication or any drug money seizures it looks more like market control than a war on drugs.

      • War Vet says:

        As a way of proving the point of ‘the law is the law’: should any U.S. soldier near the drugs themselves be arrested for not destroying said drugs/crops, regardless of orders due to the fact they took their sacred oath and keeping it there, undisturbed, simply means the enemy can and has used it against them, while making the war cost more?

        To not destroy any pot or opium is a form of treason and is giving aid to the terrorist considering that they will tax it, or require the farmers to give them some or simply steal it for cooperating with Americans. Thus any U.S. soldier near dope fields, who didn’t eradicate the plants, did in fact give aid to the enemy and should be subject to execution/life–since the law is the law.

        The prohibitionist hate it when you play devils advocate with them.

        A lot of my friends who went over there say that the weed growing there made the Colorado or California store bought stuff look like Jr. High School grade Mex that you could always score from that one 8th grader with a beard and an ounce (40grms) cost $20 when bought from the actual Afghan army–and that’s because they are making maximum profits off the stuff by selling it to G.I.’s. If you ever see any Afghanis smoking out of a pepsi can, rest assure, we influenced them in doing that. My boy did most of his smoking while doing road trips inside a 3-4 acre outpost–driving a Humvee with the Afghan Army, hot-boxing to Azad’s Top 20 Countdown from Karachi.

    • War Vet says:

      In response to what you said about little Muslim and Latin American kids getting screwed over by the drug war far worse than any of us here could ever have it under prohibition:

      Sarah’s child needs to be raped and murdered as a way of helping Todd’s child go to college. Is it OK to rape and kill Sarah’s child, just to help Todd’s child succeed in life–to live a happy productive life? That is the drug war.

  15. jean valjean says:

    kevins ad refers to a “highly habit forming product. ” since when did they drop using the word “addictive” for cannabis?

    • sudon't says:

      I find it so bizarre that, not only has this 1950’s era slur has been revived, it’s actually taken seriously by some. Of course, when there’s money to be made, anything goes…

  16. kaptinemo says:

    Around the same time he stopped referring to himself as “Doctor” (of-nothing-medical) Sabet. And for the same reason.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      It’s practically impossible to scare the bejeezus out of people who are ROFL their asses off at your stupidity.

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