Promoting medical marijuana and educating skeptics can be tough anywhere across America, including legal states. Advertisement restrictions are vast, and politicians routinely turn toward social media to advertise marijuana initiatives. But how do you target a different type of voter, one with entrenched attitudes toward cannabis, in areas like rural Texas?
The answer: A man in a cowboy hat. He’ll tell you what’s on his mind and it’s simple. “Medical cannabis isn’t legal for most Texans, and that’s just not right.”
Such a man exists and he’s part of a political ad campaign from Foundation for an Informed Texas and its executive director Jax Finkle. The group is fighting to have the state’s cannabis laws expanded. Under the Compassionate Use Act, only patients suffering from intractable epilepsy may access low-THC cannabinoid oil to treat their symptoms.
“So we’re working on an education campaign focused on rural Texas so that we can go to people in rural areas so they can understand what kind of program we have in Texas and then understand what medical cannabis really is,” Finkle told Texas Public Radio.
Hence the man in the cowboy hat. He goes unnamed throughout the video, as we watch him fix a tractor and attend to this country homestead. He relates tales of dealing with pain after working in the oil and renewable energy industries, and how he was prescribed opiates, which didn’t work for him. That’s why he turned to cannabis.
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“It’s important to understand that it really is a medicine—it’s a plant-based medicine,” he says. “I like to work outside; I want to hunt; I want to fish; I like to be out on the farm. It truly improved my quality of life.”
The goal of the advertisement, according to Finkle, is to combat negative attitudes Texans may hold against legalizing cannabis ahead of the state’s 2019 legislative session. Whether Texas politicians will respond to such an initiative remains up for debate, but these are the workarounds activists must pursue in a large state like Texas. With its neighbors to the north in Oklahoma legalizing medical marijuana recently, and Texas Republicans and Democrats adding medical marijuana to its party platforms, medical marijuana in Texas could be closer than we think.