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Proposition 19 backers turn to Jon Stewart, Colbert and Comedy Central with marijuana ads

With the election just five days away, the debate over Proposition 19, the marijuana legalization measure, is ramping up on the airwaves with both sides launching new commercials.

The initiative’s supporters, armed with cash from recent major donations, are targeting young voters who polls show overwhelmingly support legalization with commercials on Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report."

"Getting younger voters and progressive voters to the polls Tuesday could well make the difference for this historic initiative to end decades of failed, punitive and wasteful marijuana policies," said Stephen Gutwillig, the California director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

A committee run by the Drug Policy Alliance, which received $1 million from multibillionaire investor George Soros earlier this week, is trying to persuade young voters to show up for a midterm election they might otherwise skip. Democratic activists are watching the initiative to see whether putting similar measures on state ballots in 2012 might boost youth turnout.

The opposition campaign, which has far less money, is running radio commercials. On Thursday, it expanded into the San Francisco market with a new 60-second radio ad. The commercial notes that the major candidates for governor, senator and attorney general, as well as President Obama’s attorney general and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, all oppose Proposition 19. The ad also mocks the initiative as so flawed, its authors must have been stoned.

"Whether you are for legalization or not, it’s not the right approach," said Roger Salazar, a spokesman for the No on 19 campaign. He said the campaign is targeting the Bay Area, where support for the measure is strongest, because there are still many undecided voters. "There’s a lot of Democratic voters up there, and we want to make sure that the voters in San Francisco understand that a lot of the folks they support are opposed to Prop. 19," he said.

Proposition 19 would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow up to 25 square feet. It also allows cities and counties to legalize commercial cultivation and retail sales, and impose taxes.

The 30-second ad on Comedy Central aims to motivate Proposition 19 supporters to vote in Tuesday's election, noting the measure could pass with a large pro-legalization turnout.

"They’re hoping we don’t vote this year," intones a male announcer as the text flashes on screen. "That’s why they don’t talk about Prop 19. How it’ll force the government to stop wasting money on outdated pot laws. How it’ll let the police spend more time locking up real criminals. How it’ll bring up to $2 billion a year to California. But the biggest thing they didn’t tell us about Prop. 19 is that the polls show, if we vote, we win."

The commercials will run Thursday and Friday in the Bay Area, and Friday and Monday in Southern California.

The No on 19 ad says the initiative would put the state in conflict with the Drug-Free Workplace Act. "Prop. 19 could even allow BART engineers and school bus drivers to smoke marijuana right up until the moment they climb into the driver’s seat," says a female narrator, speaking rapidly. "Wow. Maybe the proponents should have waited to celebrate until after they had written the legal language because what they wrote is a jumbled legal nightmare."

In another version that will run intermittently, the narrator, in a reference to pot-induced munchies, says the measure submitted to the secretary of state "smelled like Cheetos."

"This is a serious issue," said Salazar, "but that doesn’t mean you have to be humorless about it."

-- John Hoeffel

Comments () | Archives (71)

So you see a bunch of stoners smoking pot in the park. Do you call the COPS and disturb them from pursuing real criminals who rob and kill people?
No!!! Prop 19 will increase pot smoking in public and the law enforcement will not have the money or resources to arrest all of them!!!! There will be hundreds and millions of CA potheads who will smoke in public!!!
When you attend an exhibition on snowboarding, the spectators are smoking pot. So you will disturb the cops from pursuing violent criminals over those smoking pot in this public show??? I thought Prop 19 is supposed to save Law Enforcement money!!!! No, the cops will let them potheads smoke in public!!!
So once again, Prop 19 is a total sham like Prop 215!!!!!

It should not be about taxes, regulation or who profits from the plant because in the long run humanity will benefit by letting it be just what it is. Simply put it is a plant that some people like to smoke or eat for recreation, religion, health, social interaction, exploration, self reflection, etc. People from all walks of life (philosophers, religious leaders, government officials, scientists, athletes and the list goes on) use or have used the plant for these reasons including many which we hold in high regard in our society.

Marijuana does not make people stupid. "You can't fix stupid" is a quote that I'm sure most of you have heard. This quote says if you are dumb then there is really nothing you can do to not be dumb. Sure you can try to memorize some facts, change your habits and try really hard. This will likely help but you will still be stupid and go about doing those things in a fairly stupid manner. In fact following the status quo when it is obviously flawed and not being able to see things from a variety of perspectives to arrive at the best outcome is the stupid I am talking about. Marijuana does not make people stupid like this. People are stupid because they care about the wrong things and waste their time doing stupid things... like demonizing a plant. If people weren't so stupid then we would use our resources (marijuana, animals, water, minerals, oil, etc.) to improve our and our communities lives.

In summary, this plant has been an issue we have stupidly wasted tremendous resources on rather than letting it be a resource for us. How stupid! Yes on 19!

Why aren't any studies being done to compare the functional capabilities between a marijuana smoker vs. alcohol drinker? You guys wanna put a wager on who wins????

Vote Yes!!!

Vote Yes for freedom Yes on 19
Take the money from the drug dealers Vote Yes on 19
Drug dealers don't card. Legal regulated sellers do Yes on 19
Cartels don't pay taxes. Legal regulated employers do Yes on 19
Cartels kill people. Legal regulated business's give people a better life Yes on 19
For all the right reasons Yes on 19

First, and just for the record, there is NO medical proof from any certified and/or qualified reputable American Medical Association doctor(AMA), that confirms and/or verifies that there is any medicinal properties or benefits within the marajuana plant itaself or from the smoke that offers any form of cure for any ailment known to man at this time. It is true that smoking marajuana does induce a delusional sense of false euphoria similar to if not identical to drinking mass quantities of alcohol, but we also already have existing laws that prohibit public intoxication, driving while intoxicated with alcohol, and working while drunk; this would be NO different. Second, passage of this bill/proposition would cause an unwanted increase in both automotive and work related accidents which in turn will cause an unnecessary increase in mediacl expenses, and insurance rates, plus the very real likelyhood of even unwanted deaths due to the proven judgement imparement that marajuana has been proven to cause. Finally, and this is the most prominent point, FEDERAL LAW, governing this substance, takes precidence over any state law currently or to be voted into law within any state. That means in actuality if you want to make marajuana legal, you would have to convince your local congressman/woman and state senator to change existing Federal laws otherwise all this nonsense is just a big waste of the tax payers time and more importantly his money. Since we already have drugs that help reduce pain caused by cancer and other unpleasant deseases, such as codine, demeral, etc, smoking marajuana is just a false claim by a few people who just want to get high. However, these same people who do get high on smoking marajuana are clearly endangering themselves and those who are around them. Remember, Child Protective Services will take any and all minor children away from the so called parents or guardians when there is evidence of marajuana use around the child and/or children. Vote NO on proposition 19!

I'm for legalization, but that ad was pretty corny. The "hip" angle is condescending. It's not about youth or what is with the times. It's about what is common sense. People like smoking pot. In California, that is a lot of people. Let us buy and smoke our pot. You guys will get your tax revenue. Alcohol, guns and cigs are perfectly legal. Weed is not. Why is that?

Why should marijuana be prohibited? If someone wants to smoke some plant, let them be. Nobody should have the right to intervene and infringe on those people. If they drive, work or disrupt society under the influence they will have broken the law and will get punished accordingly there is no real reasons to create a straight out ban on the substance, especially for a relatively 'soft' drug like marijuana.

Vote YES on Prop 19:

FOR: Personal liberty, Smaller government, Regulation & taxation and Stopping the ease of access to minors.

AGAINST: Drug Cartels, Incarcerating non-violent citizens, Racism, Needlessly spending tax dollars and Wasting law enforcements time, effort and money.

" "Prop. 19 could even allow BART engineers and school bus drivers to smoke marijuana right up until the moment they climb into the driver’s seat," says a female narrator... "

That is hilarious. BART engineers also could chug vodka up until the moment they climb into the driver's seat. What's the difference? Oh, right. Vodka is legal... It's legal not because it's safe, but because of the huge profits which are reaped from sales. I don't understand the drug war. It doesn't make sense to rational people. Do you make it a point to buy your alcohol on the street? From gangs? No, you buy your alcohol from a convenience or liquor store. It should be this way with all illegal drugs. Buying crack from a 7/11 would be much more difficult to go through with, just because of how embarrassed people would be. Cleaning up the streets is as easy as accepting that people do these things, making the things(drugs) available, and not punishing the users, but trying to help them with rehabilitation or counseling. As an added bonus for the state, they can reap whatever loot they want from taxing these things (much like cigarette and alcohol taxes).

Also, I think it's interesting how the DEA dismisses university study after university study which shows the benefits of marijuana in medical practice. If they acknowledged the studies with the same attitude as the FDA does (some) genetically modified food studies, it would contradict the scheduling guidelines that the DEA upholds. Bureaus such as these are not progressive, they are looking to stay as static as possible, not because it's good for the people, but because it secures jobs. And by keeping the regulations completely arbitrary, the people suffer. It is fascism in its purest form. It doesn't have to be objective, it just has to scare people. In closing I'd like to remark that all psychoactive substances should be dealt with as a public health issue, as in Portugal. If all illegal drugs were made legal, and sold in 7/11, the world would be a much better place. The cigarette companies might suffer, the alcohol industry might suffer, but this would be negligible in comparison to the phasing out of defunct sectors (a large portion of the prison system, and DEA in particular. Much of the FBI and CIA as well.) Public health issue, not law enforcement. thank you

Watching Steve Lopez of the LAT on national tele evening news do that farcical driving test under marijuana influence makes it obvious the media does not want Prop. 19 to pass. Of course they stop in at the bar everyday and consume more than 3 ounces of alcohol in an hour and drive home. Pot smokers stay home and watch the tube. Steve Lopez; moron and posieur.

A insane and ignorant measure headed for an overwhelming defeat. Law abiding members of society with a lot to lose really want some stoner behind the wheel. NOT! Proof positive that Hollywood celebs have their heads where the sun don't shine.

Please! To any journalist who has any semblance of commitment to their profession: I'd like to know who among our state legislators sponsored this stupid proposition to go into ballot so I can vote him out of office in this or the next election.

This proposition was submitted without any thought at all. It does not consider the effects it will have on our existing DUI laws. It ignores the effect it will have on the workplace. It is blind to the plight of children who will be surrounded and influenced by marijuana by making it visible all around them and seeing how easily they become available. It has not considered whether a blood test is already available to determine the degree of influence a person is by urine or blood testing. It does not even take consideration of the effect this proposition has on the demographics of the state when pot users all over the country decides to migrate to California when marijuana becomes legalized.

End the madness -- no matter what Holder says. Yes on 19 (finally).

Crazy Horse, you are delusional if you think prop 19 makes one lick of difference to people who want to smoke pot. They will smoke it regardless, because this drug war has spent a trillion dollars and not achieved one of its stated goals. Pot has never been easier to get. There are not people waiting in the wings wishing they could smoke pot if only it was legal. ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO, CAN ALREADY DO IT. And some of those people drive, already. And thats illegal, but they still do it. It will be illegal after prop 19 passes, but they still will do it.

Prop 19 makes no difference in people driving behind the wheel after smoking. You are not more or less safe in this regard. But I guarantee more people drive drunk. And drunk is much more dangerous. Being high still makes you cautious on the road. Drunk makes you uninhibited.

Yes on 19
Yes on 19
Yes on 19

Prohibitionists and politicians pick and choose what is and is not morally proper, yet they don’t complain about paying their hard earned tax monies to California's health officials and inspector's who oversee the thieving legal pornography industry here. Before they advise me about the twig in my eye they should pull the log out of their own. Vote Yes on Prop 19

Vote Yes On 19!! As the day approaches, the opponents are getting nervous.. Sitting in their homes, smoking their legal cigars and drinking a glass of legal red wine..no doubt made with the grapes grown in their backyards..the only thing i can tell from all the ridicule of 19 is that California will have a lot of stoned bus drivers...i mean, that's the only excuse that's pretty prominent..it's all about the kids..the kids..the kids!! i'll just avoid public transportation...

desperation is a very stinky cologne California...

Vote Yes On 19!! Grab your neighbors, your co-workers or your pets and get to the voting booth on Nov 2nd!! Just don't forget...I'm talking to you stoners!

i see all you rich old republicans are very scared of change but its iminent... the only question i pose to you all is with the statistics on alcohol related deaths and the lack of research on the positive and negative effects of weed why is one allowed to remain legal and the other potrayed as the ultimate evil?

I don't understand the logic behind the people that are saying "if prop 9 passes, drug dealers will RULE THE WORLD AND UNDERSELL THE GOVT OMG"
How do you figure? Sure, I'm sure they could undersell state cannabis, but would you rather pay a little more for a regulated and guaranteed safe and standard product bought from a reputable establishment, or save a couple bucks and take a gamble that the product you're buying from Tyrone down on the corner isn't laced with something else? Not to mention the fact that you probably don't wanna be caught walking in Tyrone's neighborhood in the first place.

The government will have no problem regulating the drug. They regulate alcohol pretty well, don't they? Where are all the "alcohol dealers" on the corners, underselling the taxed stuff? :P

I support Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. Reduce harm by getting organized crime out of the business and reduce harm through education. Reduce harm is the message, prohibition has created many Al Capones over cannabis. A vote against Prop 19 is a vote for organized crime. Legalize it, regulate it, tax it. Reduce harm and Vote YES to Prop 19. Check out the opinions of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, leap.cc . Vote Yes.

We just have to vote. If all supporters of Prop 19 vote we will win hands down.
Yes on Prop 19

yes to prop. 19 i live in maryland nd know this would start a chain reaction for other states in no way will this help drug dealers if anything it will put them out of business or in no way will this promote kids to start smoking marijuanna in any way no different then alchol or cigerettes regardless if it is illegal or not kids or people will still smoke if they want ever since it was made illegal in the 30s because they have scared people in to thinkn it makes people commit rape or want to kill people these are all people who know nothing about it or the world how bout all the debt the country is in this will help already the sales of medicinal marijuanna blow out the sales of crops such as corn etc.. lets use this to help the country all the people voting no are people who are goodie two shoes and think they kno everything about everything nd really kno nothing and live in there own little box im 21 quit smoking for 3 months now nd my life has got worse neither of my parents smoke nd if was made legal they still wouldnt smoke so wats the big deal doesnt mean all these people are gonna do it i do not drink at all because i just dont like it when this was made illegal 70 years ago the not only did they try to scare people about something they knew anything about but the country was in a big racial issue and everyone hated blacks and hispanics and they used marijuanna as a crutch and said that is wat blacks and hispanics used which also helpd in the aiding of making it illegal well the country is passed all of tht now and in the 70 years its been illegal we have spent over 70 million in trying to keep people from using it wat a waste cuz marijuanna is the easiest drug to find lets stop wasting money throwing pot smokers in jail and get the real criminals i dont kno why the people are against it maybe because they dont smoke well if u dont smoke just shut up because it doesnt effect u it is not harmful and wont promote its use more then it already does so just shut up yes on 19 and i dont even live in california but if its passd would love to

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