In the days leading up to California's historic vote on Proposition 19, advocates for the initiative to control and tax marijuana are taking out ads on The Daily Show and Colbert Report.
Prop. 19 has generated worldwide news and many political strategists have observed that it is compensating for the "enthusiasm gap" among young voters who drove President Barack Obama to victory in 2008. With the vote still too close to call, the initiative may be decided by tapping into the youth vote. Polls have consistently shown that a substantial majority of young voters support Prop. 19.
"Comedy Central's flagship shows are the perfect outlet for Prop. 19's reform message," said Stephen Gutwillig, California state director of Drug Policy Action. "Getting younger voters and progressive voters to the polls Tuesday could well make the difference for this historic initiative to end decades of failed, punitive and wasteful marijuana policies."
The 30-second spot explains the benefits of ending marijuana prohibition and ends by reminding viewers: If we vote, we win.
Text of ad: "They're hoping we don't vote this year. That's why they don't talk about Prop 19. How it'll force the government to stop wasting money on outdated pot laws. How it'll let the police spend more time locking up real criminals. How it'll bring up to two billion dollars a year to California. But the biggest thing they didn't tell us about Prop. 19 is that the polls show if we vote we win. So vote yes on Prop 19. (And we win.) Yes on 19."
The ads were paid for by the Drug Policy Action Committee To Tax And Regulate Marijuana - Yes On Prop. 19, which is sponsored by Drug Policy Action. The ads will run in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose on Thursday and Friday. They will also run in Southern California on Friday and Monday, the night before the election.
Yes on 19 supporters also will bring the "Legalize Pot" message to Stewart and Colbert viewers when several hundred people gather at the "Rally to Restore Sanity" march in Washington, D.C.
"Supporters will march in business suits – not Birkenstocks – to reinforce the message that there is no archetypal marijuana legalization supporter," says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of Drug Policy Action.
"The desire to end marijuana prohibition crosses ideological and partisan boundaries. Calls for reform come from across the entire political and social spectrum – this week it was George Soros in the Wall Street Journal, today it's students, civil rights leaders, law enforcement, major unions and moms," said Mr. Nadelmann. "Our presence at the rally brings these voices together."