Advertising marijuana to our children
Prop 64 specifically allows advertising marijuana edibles like candy, cookies, and soda on primetime TV, when children are watching By OCTAVIO CEŚAR MARTINEZ Marijuana is a drug; a hallucinogen that causes rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, dizziness
Prop 64 specifically allows advertising marijuana edibles like candy, cookies, and soda on primetime TV, when children are watching
By OCTAVIO CEŚAR MARTINEZ
Marijuana is a drug; a hallucinogen that causes rapid heart rate, dilated pupils, dizziness nausea and a state of confusion. The people of California have an important decision to make on Nov. 8. Will our state vote to legalize the recreational use of marijuana or do we continue to restrict it for medical purposes?
As a former chaplain with two police agencies and someone who continues to work with disadvantaged children and their families across the country and abroad, I am troubled by what is happening in our streets and the unintended consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana.
First, we don’t need to bring back “Reefer Madness” or start locking up pot smokers. Putting people in jail doesn’t help addicts get better, and saddling kids with arrest records doesn’t help them either. But I also see firsthand how pot use can stunt promising futures.
We need to understand that children and teens from low-income communities, and particularly communities of color, face special challenges when it comes to drug, alcohol, and tobacco use. They don’t have the resources for treatment that wealthier families enjoy, and can ill afford to lose out on educational and job opportunities. There are no safety nets or family connections to help them find work or support them while they take an unpaid internship.
The most troubling aspect of the ballot measure to legalize recreational use marijuana is that the language in Prop 64specifically allows for pot advertising on television, including in primetime when children more than likely are watching professional sports like football, basketball, baseball, and soccer; or programs like “The Voice,” “The Big Bang Theory,” and numerous others.
We have had a ban on televised cigarette smoking ads since the 1970s, and for good reason. Big Tobacco relied on these ads for decades to encourage kids—their most important customer base—to start smoking, and now the “Big Marijuana” interests funding Prop 64 apparently want to turn back the clock.
Prop 64 also includes edible marijuana in products like pot candies, gummies, and sodas, the kind of products that will show up on our TV screens. Regardless of what you think about marijuana use, allowing companies to advertise pot candy on prime-time TV is wrong. If we’re going to change drug laws, let’s do it in a way that helps us all, not just a few rich folks.
Before you vote, gather the facts.
Proposition 64, will bring more problems to our community, and it will have a devastating impact on our children.
Octavio Martinez served 10 years as a pastor and three years as a chaplain with two police agencies. He grew up in Huntington Park, Calif., and now resides with his family in Whittier, Calif.