Last weekend, The Oklahoman produced an in-depth series on the Oklahoma medical marijuana industry for its few remaining readers who all probably voted “No” on State Question 788.
As one of the leading voices against medical marijuana legalization in Oklahoma, it’s probably not surprising that the paper launched their coverage with a profile on a conservative wacko from Texas who’s scared of dispensary ads on outdoor billboards.
Check out this Reefer Madness:
Earlier this summer along Interstate 35 in southern Oklahoma, billboards advertising cannabis businesses upended a road trip game for one traveling Texas family, when Mom and Dad had to explain to their inquisitive kids what the signs were about.
A pit stop at a Marietta gas station didn’t provide relief. There, the parents had to explain the green, blue and black bongs, each made in the shape of a middle finger and for sale on a shelf.
“We were driving up, taking our kids to camp to stay for a week,” said Paul Chabot, whose five children range in age from 6 to 12. “As soon as we crossed the Texas border we began to see a number of billboards popping up. We play games with our kids, reading the billboards. We couldn’t play that game anymore. I was really disappointed.
“My wife and I took our kids to Broken Bow last year and we don’t remember seeing signs like that. It just exploded. It seems like they were popping up every couple miles.”
And we wonder why The Oklahoman is failing.
Instead of embracing the industry, focusing on the good it’s doing for the Oklahoma economy and its people, The Oklahoman’s first big feature on MMJ starts with a story about some asshat from Texas who apparently doesn’t know how to have a responsible conversation with his kids about legal medicinal products they’re going to encounter in life.
Seriously, screw that guy. First of all, he’s from Texas. If you don’t like what you see on Oklahoma billboards, stay in your own damn state. We’ll do fine without you. Second, the guy is a literally a right wing lunatic. Check this out:
Chabot is no culture war civilian. As a Republican, he twice lost congressional bids in Southern California.
After his second loss in 2016, Chabot moved his family to McKinney, Texas, and according to the Press-Enterprise newspaper in Riverside, California, he described the Golden State as “overrun by illegals, drug addicts and violent criminals under the umbrella of a radical liberal ideology that has destroyed the state.”
In Texas, Chabot runs a company called Conservative Move, which helps right-leaning people and families relocate from liberal strongholds to red states.
The company has assisted numerous people who have relocated from the West Coast, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. For those like Chabot, cannabis billboards aren’t the best welcome signs to the Sooner State.
“It’s sad for Oklahoma,” he said. “I saw this in California and now in Oklahoma. If it was one billboard, maybe I wouldn’t have thought much about it, but this is a huge money industry. You can tell it’s professionally marketed.
Know what else is sad for Oklahoma? Twisted, narrow minded lunatics like Paul Chabot visiting our state! I say we put marijuana billboards all across the border to keep people like him out.
Naturally, The Oklahoman talked to a conservative Oklahoma state rep who shares Chabot’s sentiments:
When planning a road trip, the Chabots aren’t the only ones who consider state stances on marijuana and advertising.
“I avoided Colorado one year going west because of their medical marijuana laws,” said Rep. Tommy Hardin, R-Madill. “I drove around it, instead of the original route.”
Hardin, whose district includes Marietta, told The Oklahoman he “can agree” with medical marijuana, but is concerned about unintended consequences of SQ 788. The billboards could negatively affect Oklahoma tourism, he said.
“As far as signs, I guess the state could make it to where they couldn’t advertise,” Hardin said. “I don’t know if someone would want to do something to pass legislation to do that, since it was a vote of the people. I think it’s bad for tourism for the state.”
Hardin suggested Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell should look into the issue because of Pinnell’s effort to rebrand the Sooner State. Those plans include a new state logo, license plate and welcome signs on major highways.
Pinnell doubles as the state’s secretary of tourism and branding.
“This might be something he needs to think about,” Hardin said.
In case it’s not obvious, it appears The Oklahoman – and their Republican friends in the local ruling establishment – are trying to plant a seed that outdoor billboard advertising for marijuana dispensaries is bad for state tourism and should be banned. As one who would love for those companies to advertise with us instead, I have to say that is an excellent idea.