Saturday, May 20, 2006

Failed Policy Builds Better Attitudes

As a subscriber to a number of online activist group newsletters, I often take advantage of opportunities to sign petitions or send e-mail to various political or corporate leaders on behalf of worthy causes. The Marijuana Policy Project, Drug Policy Alliance, NARAL Pro-choice, DefCon, and Biofuels4Oregon are just a few of the organizations with which I engage in political activism.

Normally, I’ll get behind any movement that favors protecting the environment or wildlife, preserving civil rights and liberties, or legalizing drugs. Generally, I oppose drilling for oil in the ANWR, lower taxes for the wealthy, and televised basketball games lasting longer than an hour.

When the DPA sent out their newsletter on May 18, soliciting my participation in helping to stop the ONDCP from spending taxpayers’ money on those disingenuous anti-marijuana ads one so frequently sees on television, I was eager to make it a done deal.

However, as I read DPA’s arguments for blocking the ads, I came to this paragraph (quoted in its entirety directly from the DPA newsletter), which caused me to rethink my position:

“As you may know, five government studies have found that the ads have not reduced marijuana use - and two of the studies found that the ads might make some teenagers more likely to start using marijuana. Now, a new study by two researchers at Texas State University-San Marcos finds that 18- to 19-year-old college students who view the TV ads develop more positive attitudes towards marijuana than those who do not.”

Pay particular attention to the second sentence in that paragraph. Excuse me? Isn’t that what we want? Wouldn’t more people developing more positive attitudes towards marijuana hasten its legalization?

Even though the ONDCP anti-marijuana ad campaign is backfiring big time, I can’t wrap my mind around the idea that it’s an enormous waste of taxpayers’ money. In fact, I think it’s a case of the taxpayers’ money being exceptionally well spent. With results like this, we can probably expect to see marijuana legalized within the next year or two.

So, with that in mind, rather than endorse the letter to block the ads, I’m going to send the ONDCP a large contribution to help them run more ads.

Heh! Heh! Just kidding!