Vermont legalization group unveils TV ad

A marijuana legalization group in Vermont has unveiled a television ad featuring a white-bearded, bow-tied former state attorney general who laments the pitfalls of prohibition and urges marijuana legalization.

The ad, “Time to End Prohibition (Again),” begins airing Tuesday, and will appear on WCAX, a local channel, as well as affiliates of CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC. It was produced by the Marijuana Policy Project on behalf of the Vermont Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

In the 30-second spot, former Vermont Attorney General Kimberly Cheney, a Republican who served from 1973-75, compares the ban on marijuana to alcohol prohibition, and urges viewers to tell their state senators to support marijuana legalization. The ad features images from the Prohibition era and statistics showing that a majority of voters in Vermont, where medical marijuana is already legal, support adult use marijuana legalization.

The Vermont Legislature will likely consider two legalization bills this session. Since the state does not have a way for citizens to petition initiatives onto the ballot, the only way for marijuana to be legalized is by state lawmakers. That means advocates need to keep pressuring officials to act.

House Speaker Shap Smith, who supports legalization, said recently he believes the legislature will not pass a legalization measure this session, although marijuana will become legal in the future, according to Vermont Business Magazine. Legalization supporters want to act this session before the terms of the current legislature and Gov. Peter Shumlin, who favors legalization, expire next year.