- The Washington Times - Friday, October 3, 2003

Taxpayers in the Washington region might not have noticed yet, but their public transit system and the D.C. government are pushing for the legalization of marijuana. Metro and the D.C. Department of Transportation began the pro-marijuana advertisements last month, displaying them on buses and bus shelters. Plans also call for posters to be placed in subway stations. There are several reasons why the ads should be scrapped — the least of which is that they encourage young people to smoke pot and better “enjoy” sex.

The ads are sponsored by an outfit out of Massachusetts called Change the Climate. The organization, not unlike the more familiar group called the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, promotes legalizing pot. The ads in Change the Climate’s latest campaign also urge governments to “protect our children” by taxing marijuana. The ads are explicit, misleading viewers to believe that even our soldiers endorse legalizing drugs and condone teen sex. The seeming logic behind the ad campaign is that … well, that is part of the problem. There are no logical explanations for legalizing marijuana or encouraging teens to engage in sexual activity.

The crux of our problem with the ads is that neither Metro nor D.C. transportation had the moral fortitude to reject them.

Metro sets aside 10 percent of its ad space for nonprofit organizations, a policy that could certainly aid in combating such social ills as teen pregnancy and homelessness. Encouraging youths and adults to break the law on their way to having better sex — however legitimate or illicit that “better” sex might be — wipes out all possible merit in the intent of Metro’s ad policy. This isn’t even a question of First Amendment rights, as some authorities at Metro have argued. It is a matter of giving the advertiser and/or sponsor a straightforward answer: No.

The forces at work are obvious: people inside Metro and D.C. government who think like people at Change the Climate.

The fact that D.C. voters approved a medical marijuana initiative notwithstanding, the government should not be in the business of encouraging sex or illegal drug use. Mayor Tony Williams and the Metro Board must play their respective leadership roles on this particular issue and pull the ads.

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