A new initiative meant to help promote the upcoming vote for legalization of marijuana in Ohio could have the opposite effect, experts are saying. A pro-marijuana group called ResponsibleOhio has released its new marijuana mascot, a giant green superhero-looking bud of weed with a head called Buddie, according to The Huffington Post.
While the group has said it’s meant as a fun gimmick to be used at places like college campuses to help get out the vote, many proponents of marijuana legalization are condemning the idea as childish and potentially reckless. Some are even comparing it the controversial Joe Camel cigarette campaign from years past.
Ohio will vote on Issue 3, which would legalize marijuana use for both medicinal and adult use, in less than three weeks. While the approach is being heavily scrutinized, it is succeeding in winning the headline battle for those who believe “all news is good news.”
Count the pro-marijuana people from Marijuana Majority, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and even the folks at The Weed Blog among those against the cartoon-themed promotion. Leaders of which all have signed a Change.org petition entitled, “Stop using a superhero mascot to campaign for marijuana legalization in Ohio.” The petition currently has more than 500 signatures.
To them it’s an unnecessary and ill-conceived ploy that will do much more harm than good. Most college kids don’t need convincing on such a matter. Overall more than half (52%) of Americans believe cannabis should be legal. Yet critics say it’s the parents of children who are deciding whether or not the health/medical benefits outweigh the potential for abuse and misuse, and creating a cartoon superhero hardly seems like the right way to win them over.
A perfect example of the negative impact “Buddie” has already caused can be seen in the crashing of a press conference for a marijuana research center by a parody mascot called, “Nuggie.” (Seriously, you can’t make this stuff up). Except “Nuggie” came to the event, which had children present, equipped with a giant joint, a bong, and bloodshot eyes.
Polls estimate that about 56% of Ohio voters support Issue 3 and if it passes on November 3 essentially everyone outside ResponsibleOhio believe it will do so in spite of, rather than thanks to, “Buddie.”