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Pro-Legalization Campaigns Release First Ads in New England

Pro-legalization television commercials for the campaigns in Massachusetts and Maine hit the airwaves yesterday, according to a report by Reuters. The commercials are a sign that opponents and proponents are gearing up for a contentious run up to the general election in November.

Both ads feature ex-law enforcement officers but take different approaches in their appeal to voters.

In the ad running in Massachusetts, former Boston Police Department Officer and current Merrimack College criminal justice professor Tom Nolan, outlines how the measure takes steps to protect children from accidental ingestion and bars advertising aimed at young populations. He says legalization will be an economic boon to the state and provides funding for education.

“It will tax and regulate marijuana for adults 21-and-over, bringing millions in revenue for schools and law enforcement,” he says in the spot.

The commercial is the start of a $650,000 ad campaign paid for by the Yes on 4 campaign; whose top contributors include the Marijuana Policy Project, New Approach PAC, 4Front Ventures, Happy Valley Ventures, and author Rick Steves.

The 30-second spot in Maine features current state Rep. Mark Dion, who is also a 32-year law enforcement veteran. In the ad, Dion says that legalizing cannabis would free up police resources to investigate violent crimes.

“In Maine there were over 1,700 citations given to adults for marijuana — that takes time — time better spent solving murders, sexual assault cases, finding missing children,” he says. “The system is broken.”

The group behind the ad, The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, has budgeted $1 million for their media blitz.

In both states, the campaigns are facing opposition from powerful lawmakers, including Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Gov. Charlie Baker in Massachusetts, and Gov. Paul LePage in Maine.

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