Critics Take Aim At Marijuana Mascot

OHIO: A green and white superhero stumping for marijuana legalization votes at college campuses and bars in Ohio has sparked debate over its impact on children. “Buddie” is a fuzzy, ever-smiling pot bud in a bulging white muscle suit with green trunks, gloves and boots. He arrives in a truck painted with marijuana leaves declaring: “Yes on legalization.”

Children’s health advocates opposed to legalization said Buddie is reminiscent of Joe Camel, the cartoon dromedary proven so effective at marketing cigarettes to teenagers in the 1990s that R.J. Reynolds was forced to retire his image. They said the pot mascot makes light of a dangerous illegal drug in a manner appealing to kids. “We didn’t believe it when we saw the photos. We were pretty shocked,” said Nick Lashutka, president of the Ohio Children’s Hospitals Association that’s involved in fighting the legalization effort. “This is nothing less than a ploy to market to children.”

ResponsibleOhio, the campaign seeking in November to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use, said Buddie is nothing like Joe Camel. Executive Director Ian James said the mascot is not marketing marijuana but asking for votes – and speaking exclusively to voting-age students. “Buddie only addresses people that are 18 and older, and Buddie works specifically with voters,” James said. “Buddie has no connection with anybody under 18 because anybody under 18 can’t vote.” Also, James said, Joe Camel’s tobacco product was legal whereas anyone selling marijuana in Ohio today “would go to jail.”

Say ‘Hi’ To Buddie: ResponsibleOhio’s Marijuana Mascot

OHIO:  Buddie, the muscular, cape-wearing marijuana bud mascot of ResponsibleOhio, joined the group’s bus tour to promote marijuana legalization.

Buddie’s first stop was Tuesday at the University of Toledo and ResponsibleOhio insists the mascot is geared toward young adults.

“Buddie is going to college campuses only to promote ‘Buddie’s 21 and Up Club’ and engage millennial voters in the process in a new, creative and exciting way,” ResponsibleOhio spokeswoman Faith Oltman said.