With the election drawing nearer, campaigns are running out of time to ensure that their message is heard. Luckily for the medical marijuana campaign in the state of North Dakota, a last minute donation went a long way in helping this cause. Last week, the group Drug Policy Action (the political arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, one of the largest activist groups for drug policy reform in the nation) donated $15,000 to North Dakota Compassionate Care, the group who has been working to get Measure 5 on the ballot and to convince voters that it is the right choice for many of the state’s residents.
“All of a sudden, poof, we get this money,” Morgan said Thursday. “We’ve wanted to tell the stories of real North Dakotans who would experience real benefits from medical marijuana and now we can. They are people, not a measure.”
In less than a week the group managed to pull together one ad for television and five for them to air online as well – each featuring patients who are North Dakota residents who would be able to benefit from medical marijuana, telling their story. The group hopes that by showing people that this isn’t merely a political movement – but one that affects real people and their quality of life and access to a safe, alternative medicine – that more people will be ready to vote in favor of the measure.
So far, North Dakota has not seen a lot of spending in either direction, for or against the measure, as far as advertising goes. This last minute donation really gave the group an opportunity, since the opposition is not likely to release similar ads. The television ad began airing last week and is expected to air during two different NFL games over the weekend; the online ads will continue to circulate until the election.
The only group really outright opposing Measure 5 is the North Dakota Medical Association – who standby the FDA’s decision to leave cannabis illegal due to “a lack of evidence of its effectiveness and safety”. The executive director of the medical association, Courtney Koebele, has said, “Hopefully people can see through the anecdotal stories and look at the evidence and facts behind Measure 5.”
However, if people are looking at the evidence and facts, then there is plenty out there to support Measure 5 – and hopefully the voters will see that as well.