A first-of-its-kind taxpayer-funded cannabis PSA aired in most of New York during Thursday's NBA finals. The blunt yet factual ad addressed the racially discriminatory harms of cannabis criminalization and laid out the steps state NY regulators are taking to right the wrongs of prohibition, reported Marijuana Moment.
The 30-second ad aired on nearly every local ABC affiliate during Game 1 of the championship finals though one major ABC affiliate in New York City refused to air the spot.
New York’s Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) has been rolling out PSAs as the state prepares to launch what is expected to be a highly profitable program, more for some than others.
“Latino New Yorkers were eight times more likely to be arrested for cannabis than white New Yorkers over the past 30 years. Black New Yorkers? 15 times more likely,” says the narrator in the ad.
“White, Black or Brown: Data shows we all use cannabis at the same rate. Now New York has changed course and legalized cannabis for adults 21 and over. We are building an equitable industry that invests in communities.”
The ad is part of a “Cannabis Conversations” series meant to promote public education around the state’s emerging weed market. Other PSAs focus on issues such as preventing impaired driving, public consumption, safe storage of cannabis to prevent youth access, etc.
“There’s so much education that needs to occur,” OCM executive director Chris Alexander told Marijuana Moment on Friday. “There are assumptions. There’s stigma related to the plant. There are assumptions about government—there are assumptions about the commitment, even, that we have here. So we thought the ad was important, as is in line with the rest of the Cannabis Conversation series, providing that base level education to the viewer who’s not as engaged as we are on the developments in the space.”
Alexander continued: “While we’re also telling folks that they should keep their cannabis stored away, we think it’s also important for them to understand that we, as a state, are also recognizing the harms of previous policies and are taking significant steps to correct them.”
Photo courtesy of author.
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