A new TV ad in Texas, slated to launch during the barrage of midterm campaign messages, aims to change the state’s attitude on cannabis, Texas Public Radio reports. It’s definitely pro-cannabis, but it isn’t aimed at liberal-leaning voters in Austin.
Instead, it stars a very traditionally Texan guy—sporting a cowboy hat and a pretty serious sunburn, fittingly—doing very Texan things. His activities include exiting a large pickup truck, checking barbed wire fencing on his ranch, repairing a tractor, flipping a heavy thing, and, of course, hanging with his horses. Throughout it all, he extols the virtues of medical cannabis.
“Medical cannabis isn’t legal for most Texans, and that’s just not right,” is the ad’s leading line. After sharing his own medical cannabis story, our cannabis cowboy goes on to explain that, “It’s important to understand that it really is a medicine. It’s a plant-based medicine.”
The cowboy, obviously designed to be something of a Texan everyman, does have a very relatable story. After years of working in the oil industry—and in a number of other physical jobs—he was prescribed opioids for pain. While living in a legal state, he discovered medical cannabis, which was a game changer.
“I like to work outside, I like to be outdoors,” he says. “I want to hunt, I want to fish, and I like to be out on the farm. It truly improved my quality of life, and there’s no reason that Texans shouldn’t enjoy that same quality of life.”
The ad, titled “Medical Freedom for Every Texan,” was produced by the Foundation for an Informed Texas (FIT), an organization that, per their website, works to educate Texans about cannabis.
Texas currently only allows CBD oil for people with intractable epilepsy. Patients must get authorization from two doctors in order to obtain a prescription. Last month, Texas Republicans called for expansion of the program and the Texas Democratic Party recently added recreational legalization to their official platform.
FIT is also pushing to expand the state’s medical cannabis law to include more conditions, like pain, and more than just CBD oil. Their website is rife with pictures of lush, trichome-laden buds. And they are specifically targeting rural, conservative Texans.
“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,” Jax Finkle, executive director of FIT, told TPR. In addition to the ad campaign, which will mostly air on cable, they have some town hall meetings planned and will run banner ads to accompany them.
That said, cannabis faces strong opposition from the largely rural Sheriff’s Association of Texas, whose legislative director, Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback, told TPR that, “Marijuana addictions are very real and something that law enforcement, for sure Texas sheriffs—we stand against that. This is not an answer for Texas.”
FIT’s main argument for expanding medical cannabis access is, like our friend from the ad, pretty damn Texan. While they’re big believers in the medical benefits of cannabis, they’re even bigger believers in sweet, sweet freedom.
“Is your state senator and state representative on the right side of medical freedom?” the cannabis cowboy asks at the close of the ad. “Texans deserve to know.”