The 2014 Midterm Election happened yesterday, November 4. On the ballot was whether or not to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It passed.
I am personally not a user of recreational or medical pot, but I can see pros and cons for the state legalizing it. From a public relations standpoint, however, it’s hard for me to find a concrete stance to have on this issue.
On one hand, the state government is able to tax it now, creating a source of revenue. The state will also be able to regulate the drug to a certain degree, possibly creating a safer experience for users.
In fact, cigarette companies have started purchasing land in areas that they foresee pot being legalized so they can capitalize on the change in policy. I know this is happening in Northern California, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it was happening in parts of Oregon as well.
If I worked for one of these cigarette companies as a PR executive, I would inform the public of what the legalization of recreational pot in Oregon means for their company. It’s hard to say what the positive influences on the community would be in this case, but somehow the companies need to create a positive image around the idea instead of a negative one. Perhaps they can use words like “organic” or “natural” to describe pot as opposed to the ones that describe cigarettes such as “chemical” and “addictive.”
There are certain regulations that prohibit cigarette companies from advertising and other public activities, so this case is a toughie. There must be some way that the companies can create a positive image, otherwise they would not be purchasing land before laws are even passed.
On the other hand, I firmly believe that the marijuana black market will not disappear with pot being legal. People will still deal the drug no matte what. The industry isn’t going away any time soon.
*Photo courtesy of cnn.com
For more information: http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/11/recreational_marijuana_passes.html