SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A new online video could shape the early debate over legalizing pot in California, but some supporters fear it could backfire.
“This is an initiative to bring back hash bars all over California, all over the beaches and then beyond,” a man in the video said. “This is an initiative to help fund education and social services and to get all of the prisoners out of jail. Get them the (bleep) out of jail, that’s first on the list right there.”
It may not be the image that marijuana backers want for a 2016 ballot initiative, but it’s the first out of the gate.
“This video had its own target market, which is cannabis consumers. If we offended anyone, sorry. There is nothing in it that I can say is inaccurate,” said Michael Jolson of the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative.
Former state assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a long time backer for legal marijuana said the video does make a point. While it’s not a mainstream message, Ammiano said, “I think there probably room for that, If you want to get young people out.”
“It speaks to everyone’s worst fears about what is going on here, essentially a bunch of stoners blowing smoke in the face of California voters,” said political consultant Eric Jaye.
Political consultant Jim Gonzalez is working with a coalition of businesses interested in legalizing marijuana.
“The Cheech and Chong image is an image that is entertaining, but it’s not serious. The cannabis industry in California is a serious industry,” Gonzalez said. “We have a lot of retired police officers, retired police chiefs, retired DA’s, retired judges, we have medical professionals.”
The last time legalizing marijuana was on the ballot in California was in 2010. It lost 54 to 46.