Drug Law

ABC, CBS, Fox Reject Medical Marijuana Ads-Right or Wrong?

| by Marijuana Policy Project

ALBANY, NY -- Two new TV ads featuring patients who have benefited from medical marijuana began airing today in media markets covering key New York Senate districts. Rejected by ABC, CBS and Fox, the spots will nevertheless air on WNBC in New York City and on cable outlets around the state, including the New York City, Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas, Westchester and Rockland counties and the rest of the Lower Hudson Valley, Watertown, Oswego, and Ogdensburg.

Local polls in these districts show overwhelming, bipartisan support for medical marijuana legislation. For example, Mason-Dixon polls conducted Sept. 1-3 in Senate Districts 12 (Queens), 48 (Watertown, Oswego), and 58 (Buffalo and nearby areas) showed support for the legislation running at 72 percent, 69 percent, and 74 percent, respectively. Full results of these and earlier district polls on the medical marijuana bill are at mpp.org/nypolls2009. A separate set of polls from 2007 is at http://www.mpp.org/nypoll2007.

One of the spots features Conservative Party member Joel Peacock of Buffalo, who suffers from chronic pain as the result of a serious accident. In the ad, he describes running out of his prescription medication while on a work assignment in the south after Hurricane Katrina and being given marijuana by a client. "It took away the pain," Peacock says in the ad. "It took away the nausea. I didn't have stomach cramps. I slept. It just did everything my medicine doesn't do. Please, ask your senator to have compassion."

Both spots, sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project and New Yorkers for Compassionate Care, can be viewed at mpp.org/NYTVads, or below:

In nearly all areas, the ads are customized to name the specific state senator who voters should contact (in New York City and Orange County, the configuration of Senate districts and TV markets made this impractical).

Kevin Smith, M.D., of Saugerties, who appears in the second spot and who suffers severe pain from a genetic disorder known as ankylosing spondilitis, was angered by the stations' rejection of the ads. "As a patient whose well-being would be dramatically improved by the medical marijuana bill, I am appalled that these TV stations won't even let us tell our stories to their viewers," Smith said. "These stations are out of touch with the public, 76 percent of whom support protecting patients."

With more than 27,000 members and 100,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP believes that the best way to minimize the harm associated with marijuana is to regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. For more information, please visit http://MarijuanaPolicy.org.