By Derrick Stanley
Campaigns to legalize recreational marijuana use in Maine and Massachusetts launched their first television ads today, hoping to boost public awareness and support ahead of November votes on the issue.
Voters in five U.S. states will determine whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana this Election Day, following the lead of Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.
The Massachusetts ads feature Tom Nolan, a former Boston Police Department officer and current professor of criminal justice at Merrimack College, promoting legalization as a way to better regulate marijuana use.
"Question 4 requires strict product labeling and child-proof packaging and bans consumption by kids," Nolan says in the 30-second spot, citing the question's position on the Nov. 8 ballot, the start of a $650,000 ad campaign.
The Maine ad also features an ex-law enforcement official, former Cumberland County Sheriff Mark Dion. He argues that legalizing the use of the drug by adults would free up police resources to investigate violent crimes. The Maine group has budgeted $1 million for its ad spending.
The campaigns launch a week after the group Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol in Arizona launched its first blast of TV ads. Voters in California and Nevada will also face ballot questions on the issue this year.