Anti-Medical Marijuana Group Pouring $1.6 Million Into TV Ads (UPDATE)

Update: United For Care campaign manager Ben Pollara released a statement on Drug Free Florida's planned TV ads:

"It's no surprise Drug Free Florida Committee is making such a large buy so far out from Election Day. When your basic position runs completely counter to public opinion, millions in misleading advertising is the only strategy available. But no amount of advertising can overwhelm the basic facts. Floridians know the benefits of medical marijuana are real, and the people of this state are deeply compassionate. We believe the overwhelming majority will vote to make sure patients no longer have to risk incarceration for listening to their doctors and seeking relief from debilitating diseases and medical conditions."

Original post: With the vote a mere two months away, the No On 2/Drug Free Florida people are decidedly taking it strong to the hoop with their TV airtime buys, trying to get their message across to as many people as possible.

The Miami Herald's Marc Caputo reports that Drug Free Florida is putting in $1.6 million in TV ads for the first week of October, and are promising more to come after that.

See also: Anti-Medical Marijuana Group Goes After John Morgan's Profanity-Laced Speech in Ad

The group, which has already put out a billboard and ad attacking Amendment 2 backer John Morgan, is in a somewhat of an uphill battle.

Most polls continue to show Florida voters favoring the legalization of medical marijuana.

The most recent polling, from Gravis Marketing, says an overwhelming 64 percent of Floridians will vote for Amendment 2 come November.

Back in March, a University of North Florida poll showed that 74 percent of Floridians support legalizing medical weed.

Then in May, Quinnipiac University released a poll that found that 88 percent of Florida voters support Amendment 2.

Drug Free Florida knows this, and are trying to confer with their message that voting yes on Amendment 2 will open the door to having all pot legalized throughout Florida.

From the Herald:

"Our ad buy is all about the commitment we have to the voters - to make sure they understand the real motivation behind this effort and how bad it is for our state. And that will not stop until Election Day," said Drug Free's spokeswoman, Sarah Bascom.

The report also says that casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who gave Drug Free Florida $2.5 million to get their campaign rolling, is prepared to give double that in the coming weeks.

With a net worth of $37 billion, the 80-year-old Adelson is chairman and chief executive officer of the Las Vegas Sands Corp., which runs the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Adelson has donated $5 million to the conservative super-PAC Congressional Leadership Fund, as well as to the Republican National Committee.

However, Adelson's own research organization did a study that found MS patients benefit from medical marijuana.

From the very beginning of their campaign, Drug Free Florida has been pushing the "Amendment 2 will lead to full-on legalized pot" message, starting with an online video that has Florida Sheriffs Association president Sheriff Grady Judd saying, "A vote for Amendment 2," he says in the video, "is a vote for legalizing marijuana forever in the state of Florida."

No doubt this new million dollar ad campaign will be coming at viewers with the same message.

The same group once insinuated that pot brownies would become the new date-rape drug.

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Chris Joseph
Contact: Chris Joseph