Marijuana Murder

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The Marijuana Policy Project has just released a TV spot that parodies the government's "Nick and Norm" ads linking drug use to violence. It's pretty funny, but I wonder if it's necessary. Judging from the defensive tone of the ads, which start from the premise that the public is skeptical of the government's argument, not many Americans take the official propaganda seriously.

Yesterday evening I was at the Fox News Channel studios in D.C., waiting to tape an appearance on The O'Reilly Factor, when the latest "Nick and Norm" spot came on the TV in the waiting room, driving home the point that pot smokers' money goes to dealers who may be violent. I remarked to a woman sitting across from me, "So I guess the message is that you should grow your own." She laughed and said, "Or drink booze."

Later I realized she was Mona Charen, the syndicated columnist and author of the best-selling Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First. If prominent conservatives think these ads are silly, who exactly are they reaching?

Then again, maybe she was just being polite.

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  1. Maybe they just think that the people the ads are targeted at won’t see how stupid they are.

  2. Well, National Review has been against the prohibition of marijuana for quite a while. I think pretty much all more or less rational people of every political persuasion lean in that direction. At least privately.

    So, why is it still politically impossible to do anything about it?

  3. Because, to quote Mr. Mackey, “Drugs are baaaad.”

    All joking aside, I think the change in opinion is also largely due to greater knowledge about just how bad cigarettes and alcohol (in large quantities or drunk driving) are. People started to use these as benchmarks and realized polishing off a bag of Chee-tos and playing with shiny things isn’t any worse. This is especially true now that the old racist rhetoric of the “darkies” seducing white girls with reefer and jazz music looks more ridiculous than ominous.

  4. There’s more oil money going to terrorists than drug money, and even that’s a dumb argument. All sorts of money I spend eventually goes to people I don’t like, be it Domino’s Pizza, Coors Beer (acutally, I’m smart enough not to buy that swill anymore), or gas for my minivan.

    My personal favorite: the “yongest grandparents on the block” ad. Oh, I’m sure people have sex while stoned all the time. They have sex while sober all the time, too. I wonder what percentage of teenage moms were high on pot while conceiving their child? My guess: 1-2%. But “Drugs are bad, mmkay.”

    I have never done pot myself, because I don’t think I’d like the effects (my friends who do it all seem dumber for a week afterwards, and I need all the smarts I can get). But that’s just the point–I don’t do pot because I don’t want to do pot. And if someone wants to do it, well, bully for them.

    At least until the reefer madness sets in.

  5. The drug war is a front in the culture war. Right wing baby boomers see it as a way to get back at the flag-burning longhairs who wouldn’t invite them to cool parties back in college.

  6. I must say that I love the “Youngest Grandparents on the Block” ad. Every hormonal boy in the country is watching that ad going, “hmmmm, if I get her stoned then maybe, just maybe I’ll get lucky!”

    The gun ad, is just as ridiculous. Kids watch these ads and realize both the hypocracy and stupidity of the people who put them on. Once they realize that smoking pot does not instantly make them into sex crazed, idiots who shoot their friends, they realize they have been lied to and that Marajuana must be a good thing. There are in fact negative aspects to smoking pot, but these commercials reek of reefer madness.

    Regards

  7. These ONDCP ads really get my goat. They are so atrocious that I would have expected them to inspire better parodies. I thought the SUV one was good until I realized that the people who made it weren’t kidding, thus making me even more depressed because the govm’nt seemed to be succeeding in passing off dim-witted rantings as sound reasoning. This one is better. But I still think it falls short of the devastating lambasting these spots are begging for.

  8. Look at the fundamental legislation of the drug war, the Controlled Substances Act (http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/21/801.html). In the first couple of pages, it lays out the supposed legal rationale for the Act, the reasons why the Congress claims the Drug War is authorized by the Constitution. Do those reasons hold water for you? How does the regulation of Interstate Commerce logically entail the effective prohibition of ANY commerce? By what authority does the Act declare even INTRAstate drug trade as subject to federal control (and supremacy of jurisdiction) because it affects INTERstate drug trade? What explicit authority does the federal government have over food and drugs? (Certainly not enough to dictate prohibition” those who wanted to prohibit alcohol needed to amend the Constitution to get that kind of authority, but the amendment was later repealed, leaving the Constitution with no more authority in this area than it had at the start.)

    What amazes me is that this clearly unconstitutional Act and its follow-on legislation have never been effectively challenged in federal court and struck down in over three decades. It’s not as if the justices have taken a good look at the legislation and ever pronounced it sound; nobody has even raised(or been allowed to raise?) the question! Why, for instance, in the seven years since Proposition 215 was endorsed as the expressed will of their State’s people, haven’t Gray Davis and Bill Lockyer of California mounted a challenge grounded in States rights and a claim that the federal government oversteps its authority, in order to defend the Proposition? The federal government has been getting away with a whopper of a bluff here, for a long time. It is no wonder that they regard the public’s intelligence and good sense with the kind of contempt that is evident in Walters’ ads.

    Fighting back with counter-advertising seems like a good approach, and the MPP’s “Did I say that?” ad gets its point across quickly, with a sly humor that many will appreciate, especially after being lectured to so condescendingly by the authoritarians in Washington. I worry that even this protest, however, feeds into the illusion that the federal government has the authority to regulate, and, at whim, prohibit what citizens choose to ingest. If the emperor has no clothes, then it seems to me that Walters keeps insisting that the emperor is wearing a three-piece suit and overcoat, while the MPP ad claims it’s only a Speedo thong. Both are wrong, but the MPP is far closer to the truth as it seems to me.

    What else can we do that will be effective to get the federal government to declare Drug Peace With Honor, and get back to spending its time and the resources it appropriates from us toward constitutional purposes?

  9. Personally, I’ve been waiting for the add that details all the horrible things my TAX MONEY supports.

  10. re Joe Dokes’s post:

    I may be sex crazed, but I’m not an idiot!!

  11. Brian, that would be called “the news”.

  12. Re: Fydor’s Post

    I believe that my post is clear. I don’t believe i called anyone an idiot, I was implying that young men would see this commercial as a means to get young women into bed.

    I once explained to a class that pot lowered fertility of both men and women. A student somewhat seriously replied, cool, “then we should both smoke pot and don’t have to worry about birth control.”

    The point I was trying to make with some humor was that these adds are counter productive. The article sited seems to back up my position. We frequently exagerate the negative impacts of drugs to our children to such an extent that we are in fact lying to them. Once a kid figures out they have been lied to they not only don’t believe the message anylonger but are more likely to go in the opposite direction.

    Regards

  13. Sigh, I knew I should have added a smiley.

    Sorry Joe D, twas a joke!

  14. Well, if ya REALLY look at the Constitution, MOST of the stuff the feds do is unconstitutional.

  15. “Well, if ya REALLY look at the Constitution, MOST of the stuff the feds do is unconstitutional.”

    I know, if only it mattered and there was some way to stop them

  16. “I know, if it only mattered and there was some way to stop them.”

    That’s the kind of attitude that makes our democracy useless! Do you think working conditions would have improved if it weren’t for the labor movement? Of course not!!

    History has shown that if enough people make their voices heard, change is possible. It’s not quick or easy, but possible. There has never been and will never be a fast food version of social change.

    Rid yourself of the “lazy american” mentality that has come to define us in most parts of the world and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

  17. Soo…..how many millions of dollars is spent each month on the high dollar prime time advertising in question? Wouldn’t that money be better spent on prescription drugs? Welfare? Education?

    Not to mention the commercials are absoultely ridiculous. Why not legalize it and tax the hell out of it to pay for the needs of our country? Oh wait, then half of the DEA would have to find real jobs….

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