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  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director September 25, 2013

    normlbowlThanks to NORML members and supporters who pushed NORML’s proposed Super Bowl ad in an ongoing Intuit ad contest to the number one position. This morning, Intuit informed us that we have advanced to Round 2 of the contest. Entries who are deemed finalists from this round will be informed on October 29th.

    We can put marijuana legalization before the masses at this year’s Super Bowl, but we still need your help. You can click here to vote for NORML’s entry (Note: You can vote once a day).

    Click here to vote for NORML’s Super Bowl Ad!

    “NORML would like to thank everyone who voted for our entry in Intuit’s contest. Millions of Americans now believe that it is time to legalize and regulate marijuana, winning this contest will help put that message in front of millions more,” stated NORML Communications Director Erik Altieri, “As a non-profit with a small staff and limited budget, we would greatly benefit from this contest just the same as any of the other small business entries. One would argue that NORML would benefit even more so than many, as our brand is looking to broadcast a truly national message and bring to light an issue that directly and adversely impacts countless thousands in our country every year. We hope Intuit will give NORML the same fair chance as any other entrant. Our victory would be a win for all parties involved: Intuit gets lots of media coverage and good will for themselves and their contest, FOX would bring in hundreds of thousands of new viewers who would otherwise not watch the Super Bowl, and NORML gets to take our message about the tragic failings of marijuana prohibition to the masses. Keep voting and we can make marijuana law reform the topic of discussion at watch parties across the nation during the big game.”

    Our entry has caught the attention of mainstream media around the country. NORML staff have conducted dozens of media interviews in the last week about Intuit’s Super Bowl Small Business Ad Contest, to wit:

    USA Today 

    Time

    BusinessWeek 

    Advertising Age

    San Francisco Chronicle

    Seattle Pi

    Including this humorous (and spot on) news video that is being shown nationwide on selective TV stations:

    “One of the organizations competing in the online vote, NORML, a national lobbying organization working towards the legalization of pot. Yep, we can see the first commercial for the legalization of marijuana during the Super Bowl.

    How dare they right? The Super Bowl is an American institution, a family friendly event, brought to you the makers of beer and junk food and male enhancement pills. How could they let such an atrocity happen? Well, it’s quite simple hypocrites…alcohol induced deaths in 2010? More than 25,000 people, heart disease? Over 780,000. Erections lasting over 4 hours…the jury is still out. But pot? Zero, nada, zilch, zip. Ever.

    It is time we stop wasting an estimated 10 billion dollars per year on the enforcement of marijuana laws. It’s time we stop putting people away for the recreational use of a natural product that has legitimate health benefits.”

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 16, 2013

    intuitUPDATE: We did it! NORML’s entry is #1 Most Popular! Keep voting to make sure it stays that way.

    Intuit Quickbooks is currently running a contest, with the grand prize being a professionally produced ad run during the big game this year. The first round of the contest is public voting and we are pleased to say NORML, after just a few short days, has skyrocketed to the #6 most popular submission.

    Together, we the people, are ending America’s war on pot. With the last election and with the recent announcement from the attorney general in Washington DC, we are beautifully positioned to make sure a responsible, adult American citizen is never again arrested for the use of recreational marijuana.

    But this doesn’t just happen. Please take a moment of your time to support our campaign to bring the message of legalization to the masses during the most watched TV program of the year.

    The voting process is simple. Click the link below and you will be taken to NORML’s entry. Click “Vote for Us” and you’re done (no login, no Facebook connect). Then share with your family and friends via your social media pages. Don’t forget that you can vote once a day. Together we can make marijuana legalization a topic of conversation at every game watching party across the country!

    If you vote, we will win.

    Click here to vote.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director August 8, 2013

    CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta has reversed his previous opposition to marijuana law reform and delivered a full throated defense of cannabis’ medical applications in an editorial published this week on CNN.

    In his own words:

    Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called “Weed.” The title “Weed” may sound cavalier, but the content is not.

    I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.

    Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled “Why I would Vote No on Pot.”

    Well, I am here to apologize.

    Click here to read the full article.

    Dr. Gupta, a neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, explains how he mistakenly bought into certain government propaganda surrounding cannabis, but through continued research and his experiences filming his upcoming documentary “Weed” (which airs on CNN on Sunday at 8pm ET and PT) completely changed his mind on the plant and its efficacy.

    I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have “no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse.”

    They didn’t have the science to support that claim, and I now know that when it comes to marijuana neither of those things are true. It doesn’t have a high potential for abuse, and there are very legitimate medical applications. In fact, sometimes marijuana is the only thing that works.

    NORML applauds Dr. Gupta for openly apologizing for his role in how Americans have been “terribly and systematically misled for nearly 70 years in the United States” on the issue of marijuana and his recent advocacy in favor of marijuana law reforms, something we can only hope will continue. Sanjay appeared on Piers Morgan Live last night to promote his new documentary, this segment alone demands some attention for his ability to explain the medical applications of cannabis and the hypocrisy of our current laws in an intelligent and articulate manner.

    If current momentum sustains itself, Sanjay Gupta (who was named Forbes #8 Most Influential Celebrity in 2011) is just one more of what will become a long line of prominent and respected media and medical professionals who will speak up against our failed cannabis prohibition. His advocacy can have nothing but a net positive effect on the current dialogue going on in mainstream America surrounding marijuana and help continue to push public opinion in our favor.

    Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed” airs this Sunday on CNN at 8pm ET and PT

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 30, 2012


    With just one week left until the election, there have been some recent news to report on, including two new campaign ads and several new polls.

    WASHINGTON

    New Approach Washington, the campaign behind the state’s I-502 to regulate marijuana, has released a new television ad focusing on the ways regulation will help control youth use. In the ad, a Washington mother discusses the issues of the black market and how cannabis legalization can help protect our children. “Young people have easy access to marijuana, and of course drug dealers don’t check IDs,” she states of the current system of prohibition. Regulating marijuana would help solve these problems, she says, it is “just common sense.”

    You can view this new advertisement below:
    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDlI3bNCQ5w&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]


    Polling data released last week by Strategies 360 had I-502 at 54% support with opposition trailing at 38%.



    COLORADO

    The campaign in Colorado supporting Amendment 64 has also released a new television ad, this one focusing on the issues facing our veterans suffering from PTSD. The commercial features a father and returning veteran who is unable to procure the cannabis he needs for his condition under Colorado’s medical marijuana laws. Under the current law, patients suffering with PTSD do not qualify for access, but Amendment 64 would remove criminal penalties for possession and would provide them places of safe retail venues at which to procure their medicine.

    “Please vote YES on Amendment 64 so that other vets don’t have to suffer.”

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3uKp1tT8j4[/youtube]

    In other news from Colorado, the latest polling from PPP had Amendment 64 leading by ten points, 53% support to 43% opposition. Help us take Colorado to victory by utilizing our online phone banking programs and begin calling Colorado voters from the comfort of your home today! Each dial results in a person that is more likely to vote, and more likely to vote YES. You can use SSDP and NORML’s phonebank to dial voters under 30, or the JustSayNow phonebank for voters over 30.



    OREGON

    New polling data out of Oregon shows the number of undecided voters is diminishing. Data just released by The Oregonian has support for Measure 80, which would end the state’s marijuana prohibition, at 42% with 49% opposed and 8% still undecided. Previous polling had Measure 80 with 37% support and 41% opposition with 22% undecided. You can help push Measure 80 to success by using JustSayNow’s online phone bank to call voters in Oregon by clicking here.

    MASSACHUSETTS

    The latest polling out of Massachusetts still has their medical marijuana initiative, Question 3, with a strong lead over its opposition. In data released this week by Suffolk University/7NEWS, Massachusetts voters support Question 3 by a margin of 55% to 36%. This is a slight drop in support from polls earlier in the year, but still very much on the track for passage.

    ARKANSAS
    The latest polling data coming out of Arkansas shows a rough fight ahead for their ballot initiative to legalize the medical use of marijuana. In a poll conducted Thursday, October 18th, by TalkBusiness and Hendrix College had support for Issue 5 at just 38%, with opposition at 54% and 8% are undecided.

    For more information on the initiative and on how you can help legalize medical use of cannabis in Arkansas this November, please visit the campaign’s website at www.arcompassion.com

    MICHIGAN
    Learn more about the local initiatives up for vote in Michigan here.

    Don’t forget to get out and vote! Find your polling place, check your registration status, and read about all the state and local initiatives by using NORML’s 2012 voter guide, Smoke the Vote.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director October 13, 2012


    This past Thursday, on the night of the Vice Presidential debates, NORMLtv caught up with Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Governor Gary Johnson, and asked him questions regarding his views on marijuana legalization. In the interview, he discusses what he would do in regards to the war on cannabis if he were elected, why politicians are hesitant to back reform measures, and how he got into the issue while serving as New Mexico’s governor.

    The governor is optimistic with the progress made and sees the issue of marijuana legalization reaching it’s tipping point.

    “We’re on the verge of making legalization happen,” Governor Johnson stated.

    You can view the full interview and read the text transcript below:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDnGtySEd1g[/youtube]

    Erik Altieri: I’m Erik Altieri, Communications Director for NORML and i’m here with Governor Gary Johnson, libertarian candidate for president.

    Gov. Gary Johnson: Erik, good job and where we’re on the verge of making legalization happen and it’s going to be Colorado.

    EA: What I want to talk about today is, around 1999, you first came out publicly for marijuana legalization, is something you believed for a long time, was there an impetus to make it public?

    GJ: You know I grew up smoking marijuana so that as a preface, what i understood right off the bat was that in no category was marijuana more dangerous than alcohol, that it was a terrific alternative to alcohol. Back in 1971, I, in my wildest dreams did not believe that it would still be illegal, that it would still be criminal, that people would still be going to jail 40 years later. And that’s what we have here.

    So, when I launched into legalizing marijuana, I just wanted to take a really hard look at the war on drugs and I wanted to include legalization as a potential alternative. I had no idea the compelling argument that goes along with legalizing marijuana. So since 1999, it took about a couple weeks, and it wasn’t that it took two weeks, right off the bat I’m finding statistic after statistic after statistic that would suggest legalization was a much better alternative, and of course that had to do with Holland at that time, since then Portugal has added a lot of fuel to that.

    EA: As you know, tonight is the Vice Presidential Debate, they’re probably not going to talk about drug reform. Why do you think that is? And if you have a spot on the stage what would you like the american people to know about marijuana legalization?

    GJ: Well that 90% of the drug problem is prohibition related, not use related. And that is not to discount the problems with use and abuse but that should be our focus.

    So i think we’re at a tipping point on this issue and the reason we’re at a tipping point on this issue is ’cause everybody’s talking about it, finally. The more we talk about these issues the better. Why don’t we extend this to a whole lot of issues we are facing in this country right now like spending and entitlements and the endless wars we find ourselves intervening in.

    EA: What would voters expect to be done on the drug war in the first year or so of a Johnson presidency?

    GJ: Well you’d see…of course if i’m elected who has the wind at their backs and what are the people of the United States shouting at Congress? We want meaningful drug reform and that starts with decriminalizing drugs, it starts with legalizing marijuana.

    EA: Would you be looking to descheduling marijuana?

    GJ: I’m promising to deschedule marijuana as a narcotic. I’m promising to set up a process for pardoning individuals who have been convicted on victimless non-violent drug crime. I’m also promising to set up a system of review for everybody that is currently incarcerated for those same reasons and would commute those sentences.

    EA: As you probably know, legalization polling over fifty percent, and decriminalization in the sixties, medical marijuana in the seventies

    Yet, there are few politicians, other than perhaps yourself, Barney Frank, Ron Paul, come to mind, who are openly embracing marijuana legalization and marijuana law reform.

    Why do you think they’re so hesitant to put their foot in the water, despite this polling data, which politicians usually live or die by?

    GJ: It is the root of all evil, the root of all evil are politicians that want to get elected or reelected and in the name of getting elected or reelected this is the opinion when it comes to marijuana legalization, these are people with their heads in the sand. They’re running for offices, that they’re supposed to be providing leadership, well they’re providing no leadership what-so-ever on this issue, or on any issue for that matter.

    EA: This is Gary Johnson, he’s the former two-term Governor of New Mexico and the Libertarian for president this year. Check him out at www.garyjohnson2012.com and thank you so much for talking to us.

    GJ: And NORML, you rock. You rock.

    Learn about the all the other presidential candidates’ views on marijuana reform, as well as all the ballot initiatives in play in this fall’s election by checking out NORML’s voter guide, Smoke the Vote.

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