Press and social media toolkit — Arizona
Sample letter to the editor (generally limited to 150-200 words; check with your local paper for details):
This November, voters in Arizona will choose whether or not to legalize pot in our state. What the out-of-state special interests financing this effort aren’t telling us is that this ballot initiative would create hundreds of neighborhood pot shops selling kid-friendly pot products like lollipops and gummy bears, easily mistaken for ordinary candy.
It would also create a corporate marijuana industry reminiscent of “Big Tobacco” that would fight any attempts to regulate it. And in our state, the law has been written to pack the rulemaking body with pot industry representatives. That’s like giving tobacco executives oversight of the Centers for Disease Control.
Additionally, since Colorado legalized marijuana, it has the highest rate of youth pot use in the nation—a rate 70% higher than the national average. The Arizona initiative would allow 12 plants to be grown at home, enough for thousands of joints a year, and unlimited smoking in one’s backyard.
Let’s not sell our state and kids’ health to the next tobacco industry. We should reject marijuana legalization in November.
Sample op-ed column (usually a good deal longer than a letter to the editor; check with your local paper for details):
What would you do if your neighbor started smoking marijuana on his patio, while your children are playing in the condominium playground just a few feet away, breathing in the secondhand smoke? What if people smoked marijuana out in the open in your community? If the proposed pot initiative in Arizona passes this November, you’ll find out.
Moreover, what the promoters of this law – who are mainly out-of-state special interests – aren’t telling us is that this ballot initiative would create hundreds of neighborhood pot shops selling kid-friendly products like lollipops and gummy bears, which are easily mistaken for ordinary candy. It would create a corporate “Big Tobacco” like industry with the goal of making a few people rich.
The initiative is written so broadly, it would impose almost no regulation on marijuana advertising – allowing for free sample promotions, the promotion of pot with cartoon characters, and other techniques to get young people to use marijuana. For those too young to remember the bad old days of cigarette advertising, this is exactly what tobacco companies did decades ago, doing things like giving away free cigarettes to students.
It would also effectively gut our tough DUI laws, which save thousands of lives each year by deterring impaired people from getting behind the wheel. The initiative says that a driver “may not be penalized by this state for an action taken under the influence of marijuana…solely because of the presence of metabolites or other components of marijuana.” In real-world terms, that means making it next-to-impossible for prosecutors to convict stoned drivers for DUI violations.
The proposed initiative also contains loopholes that endanger community safety and enjoyment. It would allow 12 plants to be grown at home, enough for thousands of joints a year and unlimited smoking in one’s backyard.
Finally, the initiative packs the state regulatory body in charge of the new marijuana rules with marijuana industry representatives – stacking the deck so that there are no effective regulations on things like advertising, kid-friendly edible pot products, and other issues.
Arizona should learn lessons from legalized states like Colorado. Since Colorado legalized marijuana, it has the highest rate of youth pot use in the nation—a rate 70% higher than the national average. There, marijuana use is now number one in the country among teenagers. Parkview Hospital Emergency Room in Colorado wrote recently that since recreational marijuana has been legal in that state, the hospital has seen a 51% increase in children 18 and under that test positive for marijuana. Nearly half of all newborns born in that hospital also tested positive for pre-natal marijuana exposure.
Let’s not let our state go to pot. Voters should reject marijuana legalization in November.
Examples of social media content for Twitter, Facebook, and other sites (all of the below are Twitter friendly — 140 characters or less):
If Arizona legalizes pot, our DUI laws will be gutted. How does that make us safer?
If Arizona legalizes pot, marijuana gummy bears sold by out of state big business interests will be legal. Vote No!
The proposed AZ pot legalization law will let the pot industry regulate itself. Sounds like Big Tobacco again. Vote No this November!
What happens if your neighbor smokes pot on his patio w/ your kids playing just a few feet away? Vote No on AZ’s proposed pot law.