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Marijuana legalization backers plan final ad blitz

October 29, 2010 |  2:52 pm

The nation’s main advocacy group for drug policy reform laid out its final advertising strategy Friday for Proposition 19, targeting young people and voters in Southern California with advertising on radio, TV, the Internet and in the Los Angeles Times.

The Drug Policy Alliance, which is running an independent campaign pushing the marijuana legalization initiative, received $1 million from multibillionaire investor George Soros earlier this week, which has funded a final-week advertising blitz.

"In the final days of this historic campaign, millions of Californians will be exposed in every media platform to the Yes on 19 message," said Stephen Gutwillig, the California director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

"We’re communicating to young voters in particular because they bear the brunt of marijuana enforcement and their turnout is crucial to Tuesday’s outcome."

Proposition 19 would eliminate criminal penalties for adults 21 and older who possess up to an ounce of marijuana or who grow up to 25 square feet for personal use. The initiative also allows cities and counties to authorize legal sales to adults.

The Drug Policy Alliance is trying to persuade young people to turn out with ads on Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report." But it also is paying to place tens of millions of online ad impressions on Google and Facebook.

Ads also will run in The Times, including a full-page ad in Sunday’s newspaper and one that wraps around Monday’s Section A. Sunday’s ad features former San Jose Police Chief Joseph D. McNamara, who has endorsed Proposition 19 and appears on the campaign’s television ads.

Commercials also will run on KPWR-FM (105.9) "Power 106," KDAY-FM (93.5), KBUE-FM (105.5) "Que Buena," KSSE-FM (107.1) "Super Estrella" and KXOL-FM (96.3) "Latino 96.3."

The opposition campaign, which has substantially less money to spend but has received backing from the California Chamber of Commerce, is running radio ads.

-- John Hoeffel