Check out this new 30-second TV spot to pass Initiative 502:
The piece begins a $1 million television run this week, ramping up to the fall election, making it 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: cut off gangs from drug revenues, use savings and tax revenue to fund education and health care, free police officers to fight serious crime. That is, here's a mom-type saying legalizing pot could make you safer! That's a much larger political tent than the old sanctimonious pot smokin' yurt.
This ad is also framed as a question to provoke conversation. (Again, not the strident tack of most pot activism.)
As Alison Holcomb explains on behalf of New Approach Washington, which is sponsoring the ballot measure, "A lot of people fear that if they engage in a conversation about changing marijuana laws that they are advocating using marijuana." This ad baby-steps people through a safe conversation.
By running the ads early, Holcomb says, voters have more time to digest the initiative's proposal to legalize pot possession, tax the commerce, and regulate its sale to adults 21 and over. "What we found," Holcomb continues, "is that the more people think about this issue and have a chance to look at details of what marijuana regulation may look like, the more comfortable they are with it."