A group opposing Prop 19 in California, a measure to remove criminal penalties for marijuana and allow local jurisdictions to try taxing and regulating pot, has put out a menacing new ad that warns it would lead to "an even worse society." It's reminiscent of those Gathering Storm commercials in California that warned of the perils of gay marriage (ominous clouds, flashes of light, creepy music, etc.). Similarly, the ad below is tightly fastened to a popular-but-cynical notion that America is on the wrong track and another liberal law will push us past the tipping point.
In other words, it's fear-mongering bullshit.
But you should watch it for two reasons: (1) When Washington comes time to decriminalize pot by initiative—my money is 2012—you're going to be seeing SO MANY MORE ads just like this one; (2) You should be prepared to call bullshit on them.
There is simply too much bullshit crammed into that tiny ad to address all of it here and now. They take sweeping (and tired) claims, like pot leading to meth addiction, that to unpack the evidence to disprove it would bore you. But I'll give you this: Nearly 100 percent of American cocaine addicts have eaten a Snickers bar. Gateway! Gateway!
However, here is the is big stinky crux of the bullshit: People aren't using much pot these days, they are essentially saying. In California. But if we change the laws, suddenly people—people who never thought about pot, never had access to pot, never had friends who smoked pot—will decide to get high constantly. At work! On the road! While getting gay married!
Nobody knows if the fear mongering will work in California; it's a bad year for progressives at the ballot. But the last time police lobbies and politicians came out swinging hard to defeat a pot decrim initiative, they failed. In fact, the pot initiative in Massachusetts polled higher after the scare campaign because people could see the bullshit was bullshit.