Some TV stations refuse to air marijuana-tax advertisement

July 09, 2009|Eric Bailey and Catherine Saillant

SACRAMENTO — Advocates for legalizing marijuana have released a new television advertisement calling for the drug to be decriminalized and taxed to help solve California's budget crunch.

But the controversial topic of pot and taxes has proven too hot for several broadcast affiliates to handle, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, the national pro-pot group that is sponsoring the ad campaign.

KTLA-TV Channel 5 and KABC-TV Channel 7 in Los Angeles were among stations citing concerns about the ad's content and refusing to put it on the air, said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the marijuana advocacy group.

Calls to KTLA and KABC seeking comment were not immediately returned.

The advertisement features what the group calls "an actual California marijuana consumer," Nadene Herndon of Fair Oaks in suburban Sacramento County. Herndon is shown alone on camera talking about proposed budget cuts to schools, police and state parks, then suggests that Sacramento politicians "are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes. We're marijuana consumers."

Despite the rejections by some stations, Mirken estimates that the ad will run about 200 times in the next week or so.

Attitudes toward recreational marijuana use have been softening in the decade since California voters approved pot for medical use, according to the advocacy group.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) this year introduced a bill that would essentially put marijuana in the same regulatory framework as alcohol. It has yet to be reviewed by the Legislature.


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