Could legalized pot keep California from closing parks and cutting school funding in the state’s budget crunch? Folks at the Marijuana Policy Project say yes — and they are launching a statewide ad campaign today to reach Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger and lawmakers in California as they wrestle this week over the $26 billion-plus deficit, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Controversy followed the ads even before they hit the airwaves: they were rejected by the NBC affiliate in the San Francisco Bay Area, and by ABC affiliates in Los Angeles and San Francisco. The fear among broadcasters: they appear to advocate drug use.
The ads star “an actual California marijuana consumer,” Nadene Herndon of the Sacramento area, who says that “the governor and legislators are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes. We’re marijuana consumers. Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share.” Aaron Smith, Marijuna Policy Project director, is “astonished that three major California TV stations chose to censor a discussion that Governor Schwarzenegger has said our state should have on an issue supported by 56 percent of voters, according to the Field poll.”