The ad for legalizing pot you'll be seeing a lot of in Washington

Aug 6, 2012

A new commercial featuring a regular-ol’-mom-type-person pitching the legalization of marijuana in Washington is about to kickoff a $1 million campaign.

The 30-second video (below) was created by New Approach Washington, the group supporting Initiative 502. It will premiere tomorrow morning during KING and KOMO’s early morning news (5:00-6:00 AM), and Comcast NBC Sports Morning (5:00-9:00 AM), the group reported today.

The ad soft-pedals the pitch with the opening lines: “I don’t like it personally, but it’s time for a conversation about legalizing marijuana. It’s a multimillion dollar industry in Washington State and we get no benefit.  What if we regulate it?”

The campaign, which will run for three weeks online as well as on television, comes just weeks after a poll showed a majority of voters in Washington support the initiative, which would legalize, tax and regulate sales of marijuana.

The Seattle Times reported that the July SurveyUSA/KING5 poll found “a huge swing” among voters:

  • 55 percent approve
  • 32 percent oppose
  • 13 percent undecided

“As much as you can believe one poll, the new numbers indicate previously opposed voters are now taking a second look. SurveyUSA/KING5′s January poll on I-502 found 51 percent in favor, 41 percent opposed and 8 percent undecided,” the Times wrote.

New Approach hopes to capitalize on the momentum:

“An overwhelming majority of Washington citizens agree that treating marijuana use as a crime has failed,” said Alison Holcomb, campaign director for New Approach Washington, in a press release. “However, they haven’t been provided the opportunity to consider what a new approach might look like, and how it might be better for our communities than the current prohibition model. We want to start that conversation.”

Seattlepi.com’s political commentator Joel Connelly provides some perspective on the conversation:

“… the country is polarized. Law enforcement has become addicted to its “War on Drugs” despite evidence that the war is being lost.  The 1930′s-vintage movie “Reefer Madness” is still taken seriously, and the careers of students, park rangers and Olympic athletes get permanently blighted if they test positive or admit to taking a toke.

“At the other end of the spectrum are what Holcolm calls “Free the Weed” advocates, the pothead constituency deeply suspicious of city attorneys and former FBI agents and police chiefs signing on to the legalization cause.”

The Seattle Stranger says the ad is “by far the best-funded, most-polished piece of marijuana advocacy in Washington State's history."

“And here's what makes this appeal exceptional: It's not about pot smokers. Right out of the gate, our protagonist says, "I don't like it personally..." This dodges the common mistake of pot activists; she's not talking about about her righteous crusade to smoke pot, her indignation about the man harshing her liberties. Most voters don't care about that crap. Voters care about themselves. So, smartly, this ad is about the benefits of legalizing pot for non-pot smokers …”