Oregon’s campaign to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana officially launched its $2 million plus advertising blitz, debuting a veteran law enforcement officer in the first TV spot.
The new ad hit the airwaves this morning and is running on a range of broadcast and cable networks, including the newscasts of KGW, KATU, KOIN, KPTV, KEZI, KVAL and KMTR.
“It’s About Time” features Pete Tutmark, a longtime Oregonian who has spent 33 years in law enforcement, including many years as patrol sergeant, sheriff’s deputy and the supervisor of a K9 unit. The 57-year-old father of two and grandfather of three lives in Canby, Ore.
“Last year in Oregon, there were 13,000 citations and arrests for marijuana,” Tutmark says in the ad. “That takes time, time better spent solving murders, rape cases, finding missing children. The system’s broken. Measure 91 regulates marijuana for adults so police have time to fight serious, violent and unsolved crimes.”
Tutmark joins high-profile law enforcement leaders in Oregon who have endorsed the Yes on 91 campaign, including retired chief federal prosecutor Kris Olson and retired Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs.
The ads running today are the first that the Measure 91 campaign — or any recent marijuana campaign — has put on broadcast and cable TV in Oregon. The Yes on 91 campaign has previously run ads online featuring a variety of Oregonians, including former director of Addiction and Mental Health Services director Richard Harris and retired middle school teacher Margie Harris (no relation).
Tutmark says that in a time of tight budgets, police should spend their time, energy and resources chasing dangerous criminals, identity thieves and gang members.
In Oregon, seven percent of all arrests are for simple marijuana possession.
In Washington, marijuana-related court filings plummeted from 5,531 in 2012 to 120 in 2013, the year marijuana became legal.
Several economic studies show that Measure 91 could generate tens of millions of dollars for police and that public safety savings would be even more, thanks in part to reduced caseloads and more time for police to spend on violent crimes.
“For years, I cited and arrested people for marijuana like I was supposed to,” Tutmark said. “I enforced the law. But my mind has changed on this issue over the years. I think the laws against marijuana are doing more harm than good.”