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Curious domain battle

This is probably of little significance, but I found it interesting.

Altria Group, the parent company of tobacco company Philip Morris USA, has filed an arbitration proceeding to get the domain names AltriaMarijuana.com and AltriaCannabis.com.

Is the company getting ready for the day pot becomes legal? Perhaps, but the company is probably more concerned about the content on the web sites. Both sites invite visitors to “Fight Against the Legalization of Marijuana” and ridicule tobacco companies as beneficiaries of legalization of the drug.

Yep, these are sites that proclaim themselves to Fight Against the Legalization of Marijuana. Not very well designed, and with limited content (and probably more visitors based on this link than any other source). Curiously, the site designer included, in the links section, under “To find our more on the dangers of Marijuana…” the Marijuana: Myths and Facts page from Drug Policy Alliance!

Apparently not a reader.

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15 comments to Curious domain battle

  • DavesNotHere

    “Thus it is the mission of this website to fight the legalization and usage of marijuana/cannabis and all other intoxicating, addicting, and illicit substances.”

    I can see why Altria is trying to protect their name after reading that.

    Good find Pete, this is significant. That Mary Grabar Pajamas comedy you pointed us to got a little better with a debate between her and David Swindle at FrontPageMag

    http://frontpagemag.com/2009/12/24/the-marijuana-and-conservatism-debate-by-frontpagemag-com/

    Swindle finishes Grabar with this.

    “Thus, I cannot embrace Mary’s principle reason for marijuana’s continued criminalization. “Fighting the counterculture” in no way trumps constitutional principles and the fiscal sanity of ending the tens of billions of wasted dollars every year. If Mary thinks that marijuana use is a danger to America then I encourage her to take a lesson from counterculturalists like Jesus of Nazareth: fight it with culture, not with politics. Don’t use the force of government to try and shape the culture in the direction you want it to go. That’s what the Left does — and it doesn’t work and it’s why we must fight them.”

    Politics, religion, culture, principles, oh boy.

    Your story shows some counter-culture activity being used against us. The drug warriors are taking advantage of the recent demonizing of tobacco to reach the audience that has worked on. Kids have been hammered over and over with the message big tobacco is evil. Its not neutral, fact based, science based messages being used against tobacco, they are demonizing them in commercials. The drug warriors are using that to their advantage.

    This is a significant find. We’re going to see a lot more cannabis is worse than tobacco and look at how evil big tobacco companies are propaganda from the government knows best control freaks.

    You’re not seeing a religious based argument, you’re seeing a cultural argument. Guilt by association in this case. Effective tool for young minds. Big tobacco is evil, and marijuana is worse than tobacco, so therefore…. We might very well see tobacco outlawed before we see marijuana legalized.

    How about that Brit executed in China for drug smuggling with questions about his mental faculties? They ban drugs AND religion in China. Just sayin’. Another reason to stop buying Chinese and voting for politicians that ignore human rights violations just like that.

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  • […] This post was Twitted by crystl37 […]

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  • ezrydn

    Both Altria MJ and Cannabis sites refer, through the “Contact Us” tag, to a Michael M. Chang (@GMail). Anyone ever heard of this guy?

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  • You mean Daniel M. Chang, I think.

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  • ezrydn

    Oops. My bad. I’d just gotten off the phone with someone named Michael and evidently, it stuck. You’re right, Pete. Daniel it is.

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  • Servetus

    I once had the opportunity to meet a former VP of marketing for Liggett & Myers Tobacco Company (now Liggett Group), who during a business meeting involving an unrelated matter gave a talk on the tobacco industry’s marketing tactics while providing us with some insight into the tobacco industry’s attitude regarding marijuana legalization. If I remember correctly, I think the VP’s name was Samuel Anderson.

    Anderson said that Liggett and other tobacco companies had once considered using their tremendous financial muscle to get marijuana legalized. He believed that had the companies done so they would have succeeded. Anderson said the idea was rejected by the corporate heads because they thought marijuana was far too easy to grow, and that legalized marijuana would become too cheap of a commodity to profit from it in the same way the industry had profited from tobacco.

    Potential access to home grown herbs didn’t stop Mr. Anderson and his colleagues at Liggett from introducing clove cigarettes to the market, however. The hope was that customers might enjoy the mildly distinct but limited high that smoking cloves produces.

    Anderson went on to say that tobacco marketing deliberately targeted the youth segment because it saw adolescents as rebellious, risk-taking individuals who acted as if they were indestructible. Or in his words, ‘kids are attracted to danger’. Government health warnings were believed by tobacco industry executives to produce a counter-effect that actually encouraged certain young people to start smoking.

    When the government banned cigarette ads from television, Anderson said the tobacco companies merely pocketed the money they would have otherwise spent on TV advertising, with little noticeable effect on cigarette sales. Instead of TV marketing, we were left with Joe Camel and cigarette logos pasted all over the windows of liquor stores. Big tobacco knows how to get its message out.

    Time and personal experiences with the product have taken their toll on the tobacco industry, at least in the United States. But this has not stopped the business from engaging in further conspiracy propaganda designed to counter health arguments against smoking cigarettes. The latest act of associating cannabis with tobacco in some fashion certainly has the feel of a tobacco industry psy-ops marketing scheme.

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  • claygooding

    As long as we don’t use cartoon characters or anything that draws the attention of the children,as Joe Camel did
    for the advertisements.
    And nothing that enforces the prohibitionists caricature of a cannabis user.
    Would love to see some class ads,as with the ones put out earlier this year using older,successful role models,but we already know the trouble it is and the expense of getting ads on any of the major channels.
    In the meantime,the DEA is happy to finance ads that will help them keep their bread and butter drug schedule 1.
    With all the states already having medical marijuana and more on the way,their clock is ticking down. We don’t know how many it will take to make the DEA’s and ONDCP’s position that marijuana is a schedule 1 drug
    unsustainable,but the longer it takes,the more studies they can buy showing “possible” harm.
    With the present uproar over passed health reform that all the polls showed a clear majority of Americans didn’t approve of,some of our strongest prohibitionist legislators have weakened their chances of being re-elected in their next campaign.
    We must get active in the next elections and capitalize on their mistake.
    Check your representatives and senators too see if they are receiving funds from the lobbies that support prohibition. If they are,actively campaign for their replacement and support their opponents in the election
    that at least support stopping federal programs that don’t work. With all the attention focused on the waste
    of money by the federal government,it may be our best avenue of removing some of the ONDCP’s power.
    Too check your elected legislators lobby support go to opensecrets.org. It lists all the lobbies and the amounts received by your legislators.
    Both of the senators from my state receive large donations from the anti-cannabis lobbies and both refuse to even discuss decriminalization,much less legalization. They also quote the ONDCP’s marijuana is a schedule 1 drug position about medical marijuana.
    I am already actively engaging people in discussions of their replacement and receiving more support for their removal than ever,since the health bill fiasco.

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  • Duncan

    I just wonder when people came to the conclusion that tobacco was difficult to grow. For decades the US had a quota system that limited the amount each individual farmer could produce, because otherwise the bottom might fall out on the commodity price. So many mistakenly refer to cannabis as a ‘weed’, but forget that nickname was originally attached to tobacco, and is still used as an reference to that substance occasionally.
    For information how to grow & cure tobacco:
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/8227028/Growing-Curing-Tobacco

    No Virginia, cannabis is not a weed. The dictionary definition of the word weed is ‘an unwanted plant’. A weed is not necessarily a large plant, as algae is microscopic, and it’s a weed. It’s not required that a weed grow quickly in order to qualify, EG quackgrass. Neither does the combination of size and speed of growth make a plant qualify, as corn and tomatoes both adequately meet those definitions. Cannabis is one of the oldest domesticated plants in human history. It’s a very much wanted plant, both by consumers who desire it and the gov’t which prints the ‘wanted’ posters. :)

    The term ‘weed’ in relation to cannabis was popularized by the propagandists in the 20’s and 30s, and was used in order to help convince people that cannabis was an unwanted plant. I must say though, a person’s attitude toward the ease of growing top shelf cannabis is a litmus test on a cannabis grower’s experience and ability to produce top shelf product. I still haven’t run into an accomplished grower who agrees with the general perception that it’s ‘easy’ to grow. It’s easy to grow bunk. Produce some top shelf, then give me a call and tell me if you thought it was ‘easy’.

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  • DavesNotHere

    Servetus, that was a while ago huh? I don’t doubt Liggett was considering all kinds of creative ways to crack the big boys in tobacco. In my many experiences with Altria and Reynolds this century, I’ve found they won’t have anything to do with cannabis and won’t even entertain a discussion about it. Their speech has been censored and controlled more than anyone else in America. They brought it on themselves, and they know it, but the people there now are not the same as the past.

    Let’s put this tobacco advertising thing is perspective though, people. The government is running commercials demonizing tobacco companies for stuff they did 70 years ago. We had one of the richest Doctors in the US running around the country implanting goat testicles in thousands and thousands of men for virility and advertising on his own radio program. Made millions even after people dropped dead at a time when millions meant something. Brinkly is the guy I think, but there were thousands of charlatan Doctors just like him. Are we now demonizing Doctors because of the false advertising some of them did years ago? That would be ridiculous. If the anti-tobacco ads stuck to scientific info, it is one thing, but the commercials bring up advertising campaigns from half a century ago.

    And its worse, that the feds have a complete ban on free speech when it comes to tobacco. Are Swedish Snus less harmful? According to the government, NOTHING can ever be said to be less harmful than cigarettes. Its junk science and propaganda, the same as the drug war. Sure smoking is bad and causes cancer and government has a role in the transparency of info and safety of products, but they’ve gone completely insane on the anti-tobacco front to where we don’t even care if free speech is being trampled on.

    All the charlatan advertising and false claims and flim flam of that era was wrong and we’ve figured out government’s role in the transparency of markets and products, but it doesn’t follow that our current policies are needed or that we still need to blame smokers of today for the actions of tobacco executives half a century ago.

    Is Indonesia incapable of setting an age limit on the purchase of cigarettes, like we have? Must we shield all 12 year old eyes from everything that may be harmful, such as violence? Do they not have warnings on the packages in Indonesia, as we did not 50 years ago? How many young cancer victims are there and where are the pictures? Should we lock up parents that smoke in front of their children since that is proven to be a bigger contributor to youth smoking than current advertising is? Do they allow the advertising of Swedish Snus in Indonesia? Do you really have enough information to say its like the US 50 years ago, or just guessing? If you believe all of the government science on tobacco, do you then believe all the government science on marijuana?

    The tactics we are seeing successfully used against tobacco, even convincing drug war reformers with their propaganda, will be and are being used against us.

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  • @ Duncan: While growing top-shelf cannabis is labor intensive, it is not “hard” to do. I’ve met a number of quality growers, both here and abroad, and most if not all agree this is the case.

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  • Servetus

    @ DavesNotHere

    The meeting took place in 1987. And you’re right that the cigarette marketers of yesteryear have created a problem for today’s drug law reformers. There are those who look at what the tobacco companies did in the 50s and who are made cynical of the motives of people seeking personal freedom and justice as opposed to mere profits.

    Even though tobacco is not considered a drug by most of its users, it’s recently come under FDA control. It’s not clear that FDA control of cannabis would be a good thing, although FDA regulation may end up being part of the legalization process.

    One distinction that cannabis has going for it over tobacco as far as the FDA is concerned is that tobacco marketers have traditionally downplayed legitimate scientific research findings regarding their products, while cannabis advocates welcome good marijuana research and actually wish for it. That by itself says something of the relative safety of the two products.

    Good research makes it clear to everyone that cannabis is definitely not tobacco. Distinctions between plants and chemicals are an absolute must if drug law reform advocates want to eliminate the deliberate confusion that’s played out by prohibitionists who combine everything together under the generic term ‘drugs’ so that the effects of heroin and cannabis are viewed as interchangeable to the lay public.

    The free speech restrictions on tobacco that you mentioned began with consumer lawsuits and congressional investigations targeting false advertising by Big Tobacco, which now conducts its business under a cloud of court orders. False advertising usually ends up not being very free for those who engage in it. In any event, broadcast TV is heavily regulated in many areas, both by law and through voluntary self regulation by the various networks themselves. Broadcast restrictions exist on the advertising of hard liquor, for example. Programming for children on Saturday mornings is monitored and restricted for content and the amount of advertising verses programming. The list goes on.

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  • Duncan

    Daniel, so you’re saying that anyone can get seeds, and easily produce top shelf cannabis? There is definitely a skill set that needs to be acquired in order to consistently produce this product.

    There’s a difference between being something being ‘easy’ and something being ‘hard’ to learn the skill set. While I believe that almost anyone can acquire the skills by putting in the effort, the effort and work is required, and it sure isn’t easy. Gosh, how many times have I heard, ‘what’s so hard? just scatter a handful of seeds and come back at the end of the year to lbs and lbs and lbs’. Good luck with that nonsense. The pros just make it look easy.

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  • Duncan: The skill set needed to grow quality cannabis is not hard to acquire. And just because something takes effort doesn’t automatically make it difficult.

    I believe you’re romanticizing the act of cannabis cultivation, perhaps due to its considerable qualities as an intoxicant. But I stand by my claim that growing quality cannabis, while time-consuming and always risky, it is not hard to do.

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  • Duncan

    The skill set may be ‘not hard to acquire’, but it’s still a skill set.

    Stand by your position all you like. Perhaps you’d like to show me your finished product, and compare it to mine? No romanticizing here. I’m speaking from decades of personal experience.

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  • Duncan: Congratulations on your “decades of personal experience.” I’m certain you are a proud grower and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Most every grower I know takes great pride in their product. But aside from the time-consuming and risky nature of their business, all say it’s not that “hard” to grow. It’s not rocket science, brother…

    That being said, have a safe and wonderful time tonight. I’m attending my annual Mushroom Ball, and will take a toke for you and everyone else that meets here in Pete’s place. May the New Year bestow health and blessings on us all, and let’s strive to make 2010 the year that the insanity of prohibition slows, if not ends altogether.

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