Three Colorado legislators have reached out to ask a prohibitionist group in Arizona to stop making ads with false information in them. Democratic State Sen. Pat Steadman and Reps. Jonathan Singer and Millie Hamner wrote a letter to the anti-marijuana group Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy asking them to stop spreading false information about Colorado. Arizona marijuana laws could change on November 8th as the state votes on whether to legalize recreational marijuana. In protest to this, the prohibitionist group is using “wholly inaccurate” propaganda to scare Arizonan residents into voting against Prop. 205, the measure that would legalize the plant for adult use.
Ads Misrepresenting Colorado’s Truth
In an attempt to prevent Arizona marijuana laws from changing, the group released a slew of television ads that claim that Colorado schools have not seen any money from marijuana tax revenues. They feature a school official, talking about how they were promised millions but they were empty words and a school principal saying politicians are spending all the marijuana tax revenue on regulation and bureaucracy. The ads make a general claim that the revenue is going back into the pot industry. Ads entitled “Empty Promises” and “Mistake” work hard to say that no money has gone into education or schools.
Setting the Record Straight
Colorado and Arizona residents have been confused by the ads, propelling legislators to take some formal action to stop the spread of inaccurate information. In their letter to the prohibitionist group, they say, “It has been brought to our attention that your committee has produced and aired television ads that convey inaccurate and misleading statements about Colorado’s experience with regulating and taxing marijuana for adult use.” They further state, “As members of the Colorado Legislature who played a central role in the budgeting and appropriation of marijuana tax revenues, we feel it is our duty to set the record straight so that voters in both (Arizona and Colorado) have accurate information about this subject.”
Lies in the Name of Stopping Arizona Marijuana Laws
They offer up all the documented facts to the anti-marijuana group. The letter states that of the $220.8 million that has come from marijuana tax revenue, $138.3 million has gone to the Colorado Department of Education to help Colorado schools; an amount far higher than anyone had estimated. The money has been divided to pay for Building Excellent Schools Today (BEST) a program that involves constructing public schools as well as many other programs including dropout prevention, school bullying prevention, the increase of health professionals at schools and health related programs.
The anti-marijuana ads also claim that teen use has “soared.” To this, the legislators provided the group with comprehensive survey data showing that teen use has not increased at all but is in fact in line with the national average and was even slightly lower last year. The survey was conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The letter ends, “respectfully” requesting that the ads be taken down or that correct data is given to the public. The group may not want the Arizona marijuana laws to change, but spreading destructive and inaccurate facts is not an acceptable or fair way to treat Arizona residents.