Campaign to legalize marijuana to launch radio ad

FRESNO, Calif. The campaign to legalize marijuana has relied steadily on the internet and word of mouth. Now, organizers are launching a radio ad.

But, opponents say the entire campaign is a waste of time.

With an initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana now on California's November ballot, the campaign to get it passed is gaining momentum.

A web page is dedicated to the effort and the campaign's Facebook page has more than 43,000 fans.

But the newest push will be unveiled this week; a radio ad soliciting donations. "If you believe it's time to end cannabis prohibition make a donation to tax cannabis 2010"

William Mcpike of Auberry has already donated $250,000 to the campaign, and plans on giving $500,000 more. As an attorney who defends medical marijuana dispensaries, Mcpike says he is in favor of the radio ad and anything else that will legalize marijuana.

"The polls show its going to pass and I think it's long overdue. The criminal penalties have broken up families and have financially ruined people."

But Fresno-based substance abuse counselor Debbie Harkness disagrees. She thinks legalizing marijuana would encourage drug use, and lead to more drug-related problems throughout the state.

"I'm really surprised that California is putting so much stock in fixing their problem by legalizing something that will prevent people from getting jobs, its gonna increase mental health disorders and its going to actually going to cause more legal issues."

If the initiative passes, marijuana can only be sold to people 21 and over. It will also be taxed.

The State Board of Equalization estimates those taxes will bring in $1.4 billion to the state.

"I think the public is ready for it. We can't waste law enforcements' time over this and send people to prison for a plant."

"But I hope that if they do allow it, that they put some tight controls on it."

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