New Pre-Election Ad Shows How Much The Cannabis Narrative Has Changed

A new pro-legalization television commercial is letting cannabis narratives of the past and present speak for themselves.

Seattle multimedia company Higher Ground created the pro-legalization ad to support recreational use ballot measures in California, Maine, Nevada, Arizona and Massachusetts, where the commercial is airing. The ad will also run in states voting on medical marijuana legislation, including Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana. Nine states in total will vote on cannabis legislation of some kind November 8.

“We wanted to use the old Reefer Madness propaganda as part of our ad,” said Higher Ground editor-in-chief Michael A. Stusser, “and juxtapose it with what’s really going on.”

The ad, entitled “Cannabis Clicker”, depicts side-by-side living rooms. While one plays anti-drug commercials and films from the past, the other plays news stories about legalization from the past few years.

“Sometimes it’s best just to let the story tell itself,” Stusser said.

“Teen drug use has actually gone down since legalization, massive taxes have been raised, there has been no increase in traffic fatalities - and the sky has not fallen.”

Along with clips from the original Reefer Madness movie, the ad shows segments of the infamous Your Brain On Drugs PSA (whose spokesman, it turns out, supports legalization), and modern day news clips featuring studies and research pertaining to legalization.


Higher Ground, whose aim is to “elevate the dialogue” around cannabis, produces the world’s first satirical news program about cannabis legalization, along with a newspaper column and website.

Check out Higher Ground's pre-election ad below: 


Few other entrepreneurs in the cannabis space have their hands in quite as many ventures as Lorne Gertner. Currently dubbed the "godfather of the Canadian cannabis industry," Gertner told Civilized, "If we could live through normalization, we could change the world." Hailing from the fashion industry, this Toronto native says he's on a mission to "make the world a better place through cannabis and design excellence." The only catch is, well, normalizing cannabis — and that's where Gertner's keen eye for style comes in. "In the old days, you were going to be different or you were going to be normal," said Thom Antonio, Gertner's friend, creative director, and collaborator of 35 years.

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