President Obama advertises on NORML’s YouTube Channel

  • by Russ Belville, NORML Outreach Coordinator August 2, 2011

    Why does music from British rock legends "The Who" keep playing in my head when I see this ad?

    Remember when we were told that “legalization isn’t in the president’s vocabulary?”

    Remember when Mr. Obama laughed off a suggestion that marijuana legalization could help the economy?

    Remember when he emphatically stated he would not pursue a strategy of decriminalization of marijuana?

    Yeah, we do, too.

    So imagine our surprise at NORML to find an ad for President Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign nestled in the prime ad spot on our YouTube channel: NORMLtv (http://youtube.com/natlnorml).

    What’s the campaign strategy for the marijuana smoker vote, Mr. Obama?  Keeping at the head of the DEA one of Mr. Bush’s administrators?  Maintaining the Bush-era policy of raiding medical marijuana providers?  Escalating numbers of marijuana arrests on your watch?

    Or will it just be, “Look, you think I’m bad, imagine what happens if (fill in GOP nominee) wins!  I just want to force pot smokers into costly rehab they don’t need on the threat of prison.  (Fill in GOP nominee) wants to (fill in terrible threat we’re already experiencing now)!”

    You want the absolute guaranteed votes of 90% of the 25 million American adults who use cannabis annually in America?

    Convince Congress to pass and then you sign Barney Frank and Ron Paul’s Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act.

    It doesn’t cost you anything.  Marijuana is still illegal in all fifty states and 99% of all marijuana arrests take place at the state and local level.  It just means marijuana is no longer a federal issue; states are free to set up any marijuana regulations they choose.  The people in marijuana friendly states will support you more and the ones who hate pot still think you’re a secret Muslim agent from Kenya anyway.

    Well, I take that back.  Your contributors from Big Pharma might not like you endorsing the competition.

    UPDATE:  Apparently, based on comments below, I should’ve explained how GoogleAdSense works. NORML didn’t “accept” advertising from the Obama campaign.  We offer up a piece of screen real estate to GoogleAdsense.  They sell advertising packages to third parties, like the Obama campaign, which promise to place their ads on websites matching certain demographics and content keywords.  So we don’t even know who or what is going to appear up there as an ad (within limits; obviously there isn’t going to be a phone sex ad or Klan rally promotion going up there… we can limit certain types of ad content.)

    It’s possible that the ad algorithm just saw “within 50,000 on Alexa”, “large youth demo of readers”, and “Congress / House / Senate / Obama”  on our website and automatically placed Obama’s ad there because he wants to reach young politically active people on popular websites.  In fact, I seem to recall some “Marijuana: The Anti-Drug” ads showing up on our BlogTalkRadio page in the early days of NORML SHOW LIVE.  I’ve seen ONDCP ads show up on other pro-marijuana sites.

    We’re not a 20th century newspaper; it’s not as if Obama’s campaign team called and said, “Hey, NORML, how about we support you by advertising and you support us by accepting the ad.  The day the ad appeared on NORMLtv was the first time we saw it there and probably just as shocking to the president.

    112 responses to “President Obama advertises on NORML’s YouTube Channel”

    1. Johnny says:

      This is great, but I was under the impression that advertisers did not let you choose what site ads appeared on – there’s a huge pool of rotating ads?

      [NORML responds: Indeed. This ad was not reviewed or approved by NORML ahead of time, nor was NORML even aware of it until we saw it live.]

    2. Jed The Head says:

      No way am I voting for this back stabbing liar. If you don’t support the end of prohibition I’m not voting for you!!!!

    3. Dustin says:

      Actually… if you (Fill in GOP nominee) with Ron Paul, his argument falls flat on it’s face being that Ron is the first presidential candidate EVER to introduce a bill to federally legalize marijuana.

    4. randy says:

      why would u let him advertise at all? I now have lost respect for your Org, NORML

      [NORML responds: To clarify, ads on NORML’s youtube page are sold by a third party (BlogAds), not NORML. NORML doesn’t have any control or knowledge of who shows up in that box until it’s there. In this case, Obama’s campaign ironically purchased ad space from Blog Ads (not NORML) on a page that is specifically highlighting his poor record on marijuana policy.]

    5. Stephen Daniel says:

      Can we get Obama on board? He thinks he can win our vote and at the same time get big pharma campain money. Who’s side is he on? “It is all about money”.

    6. The Dude says:

      What a joke…I haven’t seen any “change” with the country, economy, or the freedom of the people. I will not believe this man no matter what, he will not be the president next year no matter how many lies he tells. Marijuana legalization 2012

    7. ALAN says:


    8. Keith Riter says:

      fail, mr obama, fail.

    9. txpeloton says:

      Mr. President, thank you for advertising with NORML.
      So much good can occur if you also rethink the leaf.

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