Watch the first campaign ad to legalize marijuana (Opinion)
Friday morning, advocates for the legalization of marijuana for recreational use put their very first campaign ad on YouTube. Timely as New Jerseyans are already starting to receive their mail-in ballots. I know I got mine this week.
They want you to vote yes on ballot question 1. And their first ad approaches it from the angle of all the wasted police manpower and money fighting a losing battle. The ad points out that $143,000,000 is wasted in New Jersey arresting people on marijuana charges. How many people? 32,000 people per year. They don't quite get into the deeper social justice angle of pointing out the racial disparity in those arrests but I assume that will come later.
For an issue that polls keep showing is embraced by the majority of New Jerseyans (a Monmouth University poll in the last six months indeed shows 61% are in favor of legalization) they aren't taking any chances. NJ CAN 2020 campaign manager Axel Owen points out that many people vote for a candidate then ignore the ballot questions. In 2016, 800,000 who voted for a president did not vote for a casino ballot issue.
"With an issue as important as cannabis legalization, it's important to make sure they're aware we're on the ballot," he told USA TODAYNETWORK recently.
Beyond the social justice angle, I think there's much to be said about the hypocrisy of keeping marijuana illegal when alcohol and tobacco are legal products. New Jersey enjoys tax revenues from these vices when alcohol related deaths totaled 72,558 in the U.S. in 2017 while cigarette smoking kills 480,000 people each year in this country.
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The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.