• by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director August 4, 2011

    NORMLtv is now streaming a new public service announcement highlighting the unfortunate consequences that arise when precious law enforcement resources are misappropriated due to enforcement of marijuana prohibition.

    If states were allowed to experiment with models of decriminalization and legalization they would be able to re-prioritize law enforcement to more effectively combat violent crime. Every 12 seconds a house is burglarized in the United States, with only an estimated 13 percent of these criminals ever being brought to justice. Meanwhile, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 35 seconds in this country. The process of which can take a police officer off of the street for hours. With 1.3 million violent crimes and 9.3 million property crimes being committed annually, you have to ask yourself:

    Do you know where your police are?

    Subscribe to NORMLtv for the latest updates or follow us on Twitter.

  • 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.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 24, 2011

    Almost as if on cue from a movie director, the head of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, ‘conservative’ Republican from Texas Lamar Smith, has provided both cannabis law reformers and the general public a typical up-close view of why the US Congress—the creator of Cannabis Prohibition laws in 1937 and later the Controlled Substances Act of 1970—rarely seems to work the way it was intended. One person, either ignorant or uninformed, can block consideration of a controversial political issue if he or she wishes to do so. And the ability to do this only increases with time, as the legislator gains seniority and become a committee or subcommittee chairperson.

    Rep. Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded to press inquiries yesterday about the new federal legalization bill, that will be referred to his committee, saying he had no intention of considering the bill, or even giving it a public hearing. Unfortunately, under current Congressional rules, a committee chairman is given great discretion regarding what bills to consider, and which to ignore, and it is only when another member or members of that committee, or the general public, make a big deal out of it that sometimes one can overcome the stiff opposition of a committee chair.

    One promising fact is that the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, JR, is a co-sponsor of HB 2306, and should serve as a counter-balance to the opposition of the chairman.

    Smith’s anti-cannabis salvo against the new legalization bill should inspire cannabis consumers and activists to redouble their efforts this year to get as many co-sponsors as possible for HR 2306, and to recruit and elect political candidates to Congress who no longer embrace reefer madness or favor continuing—possibly for another 74 years—the status quo of arresting another cannabis consumer every 35 seconds in America.

    NORML and our supporters decided to reach out to Representative Smith today, to let him know we considered HR 2306 sound public policy that deserved a hearing. Instead of addressing the concerns of the general public, Smith removed his page from Facebook and wiped it clean of any and all comments posted in support of the bill. Further commenting was also disabled on the page. Once one too many calls began coming into his congressional offices and the extension for the House Judiciary Committee, a prerecorded message was posted stating that his office was closed (it wasn’t, their operating hours on Friday are posted as until 6pm EST).

    Even President Barack Obama has stated he considers legalization a legitimate topic for debate, so why is Rep. Lamar Smith stonewalling the legislation?

    NORMLtv is now streaming a new PSA targeting Smith and his refusal to engage this issue in a productive and rational way, which you can view above. We encourage you to continue contacting the chairman through his contact information listed below.

    Rep. Lamar Smith
    DC Office: 202-225-4236 (8:30 am- 6:00 pm EST)
    TX Office: 210-821-5024 (8:00 am- 5:00 pm CT)
    Web: http://lamarsmith.house.gov/

    You can also use NORML’s Take Action Center by clicking here and easily message your elected officials to encourage their support of this important legislation. Over 3,000 of you already have, let’s keep the pressure on!

    We appreciate your support and especially want to thank those who have been helping us push this issue today with Chairman Smith. We will be back in touch soon to ask for your further help as we find new ways to push this new legislation forward.

    Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest marijuana news and further updates on HR2306.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 23, 2011

    Today, a bi-partisan group of representatives introduced the first federal bill since 1937 aimed at ending marijuana prohibition. To coincide with the bill’s introduction NORML is launching a new public service announcement featuring NORML Advisory Board member, country music icon, and cannabis enthusiast Willie Nelson. In the video below, Willie calls on you to support this important legislation and to contact your elected officials and encourage them to do the same.

    NORML has launched a bill specific Facebook page, where you can keep up to date on all the latest information. It can be accessed here. You can also utilize our Take Action Center to contact your elected officials and urge them to support HR 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, here.

    Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to stay posted on all the latest video content coming from NORML, including much more on this important legislation.

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 9, 2011

    A new installment of ‘Ask NORML’ is now streaming on NORMLtv. In this episode, listen to founder and legal counsel, Keith Stroup, as he talks about the concept of “Right to Privacy” and how it has been utilized as a marijuana legal defense.

    Subscribe to NORMLtv and visit NORML’s Facebook page for announcements regarding future ‘Ask NORML’ episodes.

    Get active; get NORML!

    You can now follow NORMLtv on Twitter for up to the minute alerts on new content and community engagement. Submit your ideas for future NORMLtv content here.

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