Marijuana legalization ad to hit Times Square Digital Billboard

The smoke has cleared, yet a suspicious odor still lingers in the air. Representatives from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Foundation (NORML) are inhaling a sigh of relief. In the end, the marijuana legalization flag is set to fly high above Times Square.

First it was on, then it was off, and now it is back on again. A 15-second digital ad promoting the financial benefits of marijuana legalization is scheduled to debut in New York City’s Times Square next week. Produced and paid for by NORML’s educational arm, the ad evokes the organization’s message that “money can grow on trees.”

“Regulating the adult use of marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol could raise over $30 billion annually in new tax revenue, while saving an additional $15 billion per year in law enforcement costs,” NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said. “This tax season, why not ask your elected politicians why the federal government continues to spends billions of tax dollars enforcing this failed and archaic public policy.”

In January, CBS and the NORML Foundation entered into an agreement to air the ‘Money Tree’ ad on the media company’s digital billboard on 42nd Street. That agreement, however, was short lived. Prior to the campaign’s launch on February 1, 2010, CBS abruptly pulled the ad from its schedule. CBS stated that the ad’s content did not comply with the network’s outdoor advertising standards. At that time, it appeared that the NORML Foundation’s ad would never shine brightly in Times Square.

If not for an online petition organized by political advocacy organization Change.org, demanding that CBS reverse its decision, NORML would likely have been smoked out of Times Square. Thanks to the nearly 10,000 people that signed the petition, CBS changed its stance on the advertisement.

To view the 15-second ad that will run in Times Square, click continue reading.

“NORML would publicly like to thank Change.org for taking on this important political and First Amendment issue,” St. Pierre said. “We would also like to thank the thousands of concerned citizens who contacted CBS on NORML’s behalf. Without your participation, this important NORML ad campaign would not have been possible.”

“Finally, NORML would also like to extend its appreciation to the CBS Corporation for responding to the will of its viewers, and acknowledging that marijuana law reform is a topic deserving of such a prominent public forum. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana violations since 1965. It is time to end 70-plus years of federal marijuana prohibition with a policy of legalization, taxation, regulation and education.”

The NORML Foundation’s ‘Money Tree’ ad will appear eighteen times per day on the CBS Super Screen. It is set to run through May 31, 2010.

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