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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

October 10, 2012 at 11:56 AM

New Initiative 502 TV ads to start Thursday

The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana sales is launching a  TV advertising salvo using some of its best assets: blue-chip ex-federal law- enforcement supporters.

A pair of ads, to run in Seattle and Spokane broadcast and cable markets and on cable in Vancouver, feature former U.S. Attorneys John McKay and Kate Pflaumer and the former FBI supervising agent in Seattle, Charlie Mandigo. The trio emphasize the need to divert law-enforcement resources toward “violent crime” instead of what they see as the failed federal ban on marijuana.

As with a previous ad in August, which featured a middle-aged woman who declared she “didn’t really like” marijuana, these new ads are meant as sober indictments of marijuana policy, but don’t embrace marijuana use itself. That conservative messaging approach reflects I-502′s emphasis on regulation and taxation. That has helped win I-502 its establishment support, and to depress opposition.

I-502 campaign manager Alison Holcomb said the ads, which cost $452,910 to run, will air Oct. 11-16. The campaign is doing more  fundraising to buy additional ad time. “We know we’ll run more, we just don’t know how much.”

This round of ads was partly funded by a $670,000 donation from Progressive Insurance founder and marijuana-legalization advocate Peter Lewis, who has given more than $1.5 million in total to I-502.

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