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Sep-17-2009 11:33printcommentsVideo

NYC Won't Run Marijuana Ads But That Won't Silence Patients

New York City TV just showed its colors.

Image from TV advertisement
Image from TV advertisement

(SALEM, Ore.) - Cannabis, or marijuana as it is widely known in the United States, has been used medicinally for thousands of years. This fact is indisputable. Another fact, it has never caused a death.

Now, let's get down to business. Speaking directly to those with an objection to marijuana:

You don't like marijuana, because it makes you uncomfortable. As a kid, it was a taboo, and associated with the seedy road of life. Now that you're an adult, you see it as a risk. A risk to your social status, to your employment status, even to your personal relationships.

You were taught it was bad, and it is what you taught your children, while too often, the ills of alcohol sat idling aside. I recently watched the program by Rick Steves, well known travel writer Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation. Steves carefully, methodically walked through the early justification for prohibition, the scientific truths, and financial cost to Americans. He, too, posed the challenge to adults and parents to rise above the propaganda we were taught, and learn the facts.

Now, one of those facts is that 13 states have approved use of marijuana for patients that it helps. This isn't a ruse. Marijuana is better medicine for dozens of problems than being drugged up on pills. It's not an excuse to smoke pot, as is widely assumed by the uninformed.

The most real risk to any marijuana user is the law. New York City is the marijuana arrest capital of the world, with the marijuana arrest rates far above other large cities. Seriously ill patients don't have legal access to medicinal marijuana, and they are who are getting arrested all too often. AIDS patients, cancer patients, the elderly.

Enter the Marijuana Policy Project. They have an effort underway to legalize medical marijuana in New York and evacuate sick people from the drug war battlefield. Like many other states, it will be the voters who decide in the end.

Surprisingly, three of the biggest TV stations in New York City, WABC, WCBS, WNYW (Fox), have refused to run ads in support of medical marijuana patients. Paid ads, mind you.

The ads include one on one stories from real people, explaining marijuana's benefits to them personally.

According to MPP’s Bruce Mirken, CBS stated that they rejected the ad because they’re “concerned about viewer reaction.”

"Advertiser" reaction, would have been more on target.

Kevin Smith, M.D., of Saugerties, who appears in the second spot and who suffers severe pain from a genetic disorder known as ankylosing spondilitis, was angered by the stations’ rejection of the ads.

“As a patient whose well-being would be dramatically improved by the medical marijuana bill, I am appalled that these TV stations won’t even let us tell our stories to their viewers,” Smith said. “These stations are out of touch with the public, 76 percent of whom support protecting patients.”

Discrimination against patients who use marijuana is a shameful fact as well. Average patient age is almost 50, they are contributors to society and good friends and neighbors. Many are seriously ill, many have chronic pain that will last a lifetime. And if they were using any of a host of other hard core drugs, no one would give it a second thought. But they don't want to be addicts. They want to be functional, and participate in their own lives.

In an age of unbridled pandering and acceptance of pharmaceutical ads by television stations everywhere, this seems oddly off balance.

Every single pharmaceutical ad on television, bought and paid for by people that should be talking to your doctor, not to you, is a risk to your health. The side effects and risk factors are by the score, and yet they are allowed to advertise in New York City.

The health of our nation is at stake, not solely because of closed mindedness, but because sick people are directly being told they do not deserve to get the help they need. All because Cannabis is not morally condoned by the federal government. How quickly attitudes will change, when it is.

Rationalizations to keep pharmaceutical companies alive and well while real human suffering continues just don't hold any water. Television station executives need to take a longer look at their role in leaving the public uninformed about medicinal marijuana. It's the responsible thing to do.

Here are the two TV commercials New York City TV refused:


Bonnie King is one of the few media professionals who has extensive time in four relevant areas; radio, television, newspaper and Internet. She has been with since August '04, when she became Publisher. Bonnie has served in a number of positions in the broadcast industry; TV Production Manager at KVWB (Las Vegas WB) and Producer/Director for the TV series "Hot Wheels in Las Vegas", posts as TV Promotion Director for KYMA (NBC), and KFBT (Ind.), Asst. Marketing Director (SUPERSHOPPER MAGAZINE), Director/Co-Host (Coast Entertainment Show), Radio Promotion Director (KBCH/KCRF), and Newspapers In Education/Circulation Sales Manager (STATESMAN JOURNAL NEWSPAPER). Bonnie has a depth of understanding that reaches further than just behind the scenes, and that thoroughness is demonstrated in the perseverance to correctly present each story with the wit and wisdom necessary to compel and captivate viewers.

View articles written by Bonnie King

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via MPP September 19, 2009 9:21 pm (Pacific time)

Tho rejected by ABC, CBS and Fox, the spots will nevertheless air on WNBC in New York City and on cable outlets around the state, including the New York City, Buffalo and Rochester metropolitan areas, Westchester and Rockland counties and the rest of the Lower Hudson Valley, Watertown, Oswego, and Ogdensburg.

Editor: Thank you for sharing that news!

Lee September 18, 2009 7:58 am (Pacific time)

Unfortunately predictable. Corporate media promotes the corporate agenda. That agenda is the acquisition of ever more money and power through endless war, endless PR propaganda and endless incarcerations of millions who have done no harm to themselves or to society. The war on drugs is an excuse to wage war on people. In so doing, those we pay to protect us are used to terrorize us.

LLLou September 18, 2009 7:31 am (Pacific time)

Every day that our government perpetuates the "warondrugs" and refuses to reschedule Cannabis it continues the BIG LIE . I do not pay taxes to be lied to. RE-LEGALIZE CANNABIS NOW !

Someone with a functional brain September 17, 2009 5:11 pm (Pacific time)

Gather support to boycott those TV stations that refuse to air these ads. This is a free country, not North Korea. Why should these ads be censored if we claim we are a free people. These network are going off of their own personal agendas and political view. Then they use kids as an excuse. Alcohol kills, yet those ads are aired without scrutiny. They made that clear when they denied the ads. If they boycott you, then boycott them and any affiliates. They need our ratings we don't need theirs.

Donesk September 17, 2009 3:49 pm (Pacific time)

I agree entirely, Ms. King. However, I feel that the medical marijuana movement confuses the issue by implying prohibition to everyone else is warranted.

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