A viral video of a "stoned guy" reacting to a giant bug in his front yard is helping the Arizona cannabis-legalization movement.
Dave Wisniewski, chairman of Safer Arizona, made the video about two weeks ago, after spotting a large grasshopper while taking out his recycling garbage. It's attracted more than 511,000 views on YouTube alone, and Wisniewski has arranged for any financial proceeds to help his pro-marijuana political committee.
"I don't know how much money I'll get," says Wisniewski. "It'll be used to help collect petitions ... and host events."
Safer Arizona, which tried unsuccessfully to end pot prohibition in the state with a 2014 ballot initiative, is now helping the Marijuana Policy Project with its efforts for a 2016 initiative.
Wisniewski has taken some ribbing online for the video, in which his overly excited demeanor reminds us of the famous "double rainbow"-video dude. "Whatever it was, the whole thing was a bit much for our friend Dave given his altered state," says a blurb on one of the many blogs that filed something on the vid. It picked up several thousand more clicks on Thursday after being re-posted by Jackass star Bam Margera, who had this to say about it: "How The Hell Did This Guy Film So Well When He's High As A Kite??"
An authorized medical-marijuana patient, he's not shy about admitting that when he spotted the grasshopper, he'd just toked up and was very baked. As the 36-second video shows, Wisniewski didn't know at first what the bug was -- amusing, because it's quite obviously a grasshopper.
"What the heck is that thing -- it's huuuge!" he says with amazement in the video, bringing viewers in for a closeup of the insect beneath an outdoor window frame.
Wisniewski issues a string of expletives when the bug leaves from its perch and begins flying. Then, in a bit of video luck that would interest any ornithologist or entomologist, he captures a predatory bird snagging the big grasshopper in mid-air.
"Shit! Bird just got it! Oh my god -- that was insane!" he says, laughing.
After he put the video online and it began drawing attention from bloggers and social media users, Storyful, an Irish company, contacted him with the offer to help monetize it. All he needed was a PayPal account, Storyful told him. The political committee already had one.
"I thought, this is a blessing -- a gift from God. I'm going to throw it to the movement," he says.
No money has come in yet, and Storyful will get 40 percent of the cut by selling licensing fees. But Wisniewski says anything it brings in will help, and clicks and shares of the video will make it more marketable.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Got a tip? Send it to: Ray Stern.