Cultural icon Tommy Chong's voice is drifting out over a vast portion of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, uttering these silky words:
"Support MILegalize... I do."
The message is born on the radio waves of WUPS; the issue is legalization of marijuana; the breakthrough is the acceptance of marijuana issues by mainstream radio stations. The Black Tuna, Robert Platshorn, just announced a similar accomplishment in a few other states where radio spots in support of his The Silver Tour are popping up.
You would think any radio station in 2015 would be happy to have a series of commercials or a broadcast program that embraces one of the world's most rapidly-evolving social issues. After all, radio is a dying medium. Our money spends, just like cash gained from other commercial entities.
Still, it's hard to break decades-long stereotypes, even in a state where medical marijuana has been prevalent for six years.
The MILegalize proposal would bring legal marijuana rights and commerce to Michigan. The group is created from the state's top marijuana activists, those whose mettle has been proven in battles both in the legislature and the court room.
It's that grass roots level of activism that made the MILegalize proposal attractive to Tommy Chong. Although there are two petitions for legalization circulating in the state, and at least two more proposed, Chong was impressed by the MILegalize language and Board. He agreed to do the radio bits, and corporate sponsor Indoor Grower's Edge agreed to finance the commercials. They have been playing and educating the Michigan citizenry since September 1.
Not every radio adventure has been such a success.
When High Times Executive Editor Dan Skye told me in August one of our local radio stations near Flint, Michigan refused to say the word 'cannabis' while playing a commercial for the 2015 Medical Cannabis Cup, I was a little surprised.
Other stations use the full title of the event on their broadcasts, but one station continually referred to the Medical Cannabis Cup as "the Medical Cup". Where I come from, a medical cup is something you either wear (ouch) or spit into (gross). I listened to an interview with Skye on that station where both interviewer and interviewee were cautious to not drop the 'C-word.' They pulled it off; the event was a monumental success and the rest is history.
Skye took it all in stride. Not so, I.
Steve Greene (The Full Melt Radio Show), Ryan Bringold (The Skunkworks Show) and I (The Planet Green Trees Radio Show) broadcast a completely marijuana-themed radio show from the studios of WFNT called The Political Twist-Up Show. We had broadcast on WDTW in Detroit and WKTG in Grand Rapids as "The Medical Marijuana Radio Show" but were forced to change our name to get airtime in the Flint market.
That was in 2014. Since then, Bringold was sued by Lockheed Martin over his use of the word Skunkworks; Greene's broadcast has moved to the Internet; and the radio show I've been doing with attorney Michael Komorn and state leader Jamie Lowell (3rd Coast Medical Marijuana Dispensary) remains as it has for the past five years, putting out a signal every Thursday evening at 8pm on Blogtalkradio.com.
When Skye told me of the buffoonery being played out on the radio waves with his commercials, I was unhappy, to say the least. What is the point of pushing society in the right direction, if your work yields no durable results?
"It's okay," Skye told me. "Everyone evolves at a different pace."
TUNA TAKES OVER SIX STATES
Both Chong and internationally-known cannabis industry personality Robert Platshorn were in Michigan recently. Chong was the keynote speaker at this year's Hash Bash/Monroe Street Fair, and Platshorn was in town to celebrate the High Times Cannabis Cup as a guest of Arborside.
Platshorn posted to social media on Sunday, September 6 that on Labor Day September 7 his radio spots would begin in a half-dozen states.
The first ever national cannabis education campaign begins tomorrow. Next week alone, The Silver Tour will air 1,439 "Cannabis Facts" on top radio stations in 6 key states. If you've ever said, "If people only knew," rejoice! Here is next week's coverage:
Florida 637 spots on 15 stations from Miami to the Panhandle. Georgia-324 spots in Atlanta, Columbus and Savannah. Texas-240 spots in 8 markets including Houston, Waco, El Paso and more. Pennsylvania-101 spots in Central Pa. Ohio-65 spots in Columbus, Dayton and Toledo. Tennessee-49 spots in Nashville and Memphis.
States, messages and stations will vary week to week.
The Silver Tour is an effort by seniors to educate senior citizens about the merits of medical marijuana. Platshorn is from Florida, a state that narrowly missed adopting a law to legalize the medical use of cannabis products in 2014.
"Donors and sponsors can request specific coverage areas," Platshorn wrote. "By the 2016 elections, we will cover the entire country and with your support we will end cannabis prohibition."
Michigan's next big marijuana conference is one month away! Join Rick Thompson for the Michigan Cannabis Business Development Conference on September 26 at the Holiday Inn Gateway Centre.
Source: The Compassion Chronicles