Most veteran marijuana activists refused to support the ResponsibleOhio marijuana legalization campaign when it started. A handful of us reserved judgement so that some constructive conversations could take place. I think most of us were pushed over the edge recently when the ResponsibleOhio campaign unveiled a 'marijuana mascot' named Buddie. I'm not sure what the campaign envisioned when they created Buddie, but the backlash from the cannabis community was quick. I personally think that it's maybe the worst idea in the history of marijuana politics (check out my article about that).
A petition has been created in an effort to urge the ResponsibleOhio to quit using the Buddie marijuana mascot. The use of the mascot not only hurts ResponsibleOhio's chances for passing (which is true even if they don't want to admit it now that they see that their idea is having unintended consequences), but it also hurts the greater cannabis reform movement. Cannabis opponents are already pointing to it as being the 'Joe Camel' of marijuana. A lot of damage has already been done, and the ResponsibleOhio campaign needs to step up and do what's right and quit using the mascot. Below is the language of the petition. I urge all TWB readers to sign it (at this link here), and to use the hash tag #NoMarijuanaMascots on all of your social media channels to tell ResponsibleOhio that the cannabis reform movement should be using facts to reform cannabis laws, not gimmicks:
This November, Ohio voters will be deciding whether to support Initiative 3, which would legalize marijuana for adults. This campaign, run by a group called ResponsibleOhio and backed by wealthy investors seeking to get even richer off of the new industry, has been mired in controversy due to the initiative's language that would give them a monopoly on cultivating marijuana in the state.
To add to all of this, ResponsibleOhio recently unveiled a new mascot, Buddie, to promote the initiative. The fuzzy superhero mascot with a marijuana bud for a head was quickly condemned by both legalization supporters and opponents, as it seems geared towards children and makes light of a very serious issue.
This mascot flies in the face of everything long-time marijuana legalization activists are fighting for: a responsible industry that improves communities and takes its pledge not to market to children seriously. Using a marijuana-headed superhero to campaign for legalization not only violates this pledge, but gives prohibitionists an argument against reform on a silver platter.
If we don't act, Buddie may become the Joe Camel of marijuana: a prime example of irresponsibility that opponents can point to, potentially stalling reform or even reversing the trend toward legalization.
Whether or not you support ResponsibleOhio's ballot initiative, we can agree that they should not be using a marijuana mascot to push for the measure. It's not too late for them to stop using this irresponsible and counterproductive tactic. Join me in telling the campaign, #NoMarijuanaMascots!