Talk show host Montel Williams on Thursday accused opponents of an Arkansas ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana of resorting to “racist” imagery with a television ad featuring an African-American actor portraying a drug dealer.
Williams, an outspoken supporter of medical marijuana, appeared Thursday at the state capitol alongside members of Arkansans for Compassionate Care, which is campaigning for Arkansas’ legalization measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. He criticized an ad aired by a coalition of conservative groups that opposes the proposal.
“Offensive is really an understatement. It’s the most egregiously racist, false statement you’ve ever seen in your life,” Williams told a crowd gathered in front of the state capitol steps. “They’ve people sitting in a picture holding guns, talking about medical marijuana, and of course they happen to be of different colours to make sure you’re as irritated and angry as you can be.”
The Arkansas measure would allow patients with qualifying conditions to buy marijuana from non-profit dispensaries with a doctor’s recommendation. If approved, Arkansas would become the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana.
The Coalition to Preserve Arkansas Values, which unsuccessfully sued to try and get the medical marijuana proposal off the ballot, said it paid about $1,000 for airtime to run a 30-second spot opposing the measure. The ad at one point shows a black actor sitting at a table with guns and filling bags with marijuana.
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