You may notice a couple of minor changes today.
1. Drug WarRant is now published by the Prohibition Isn’t Free Foundation â€” a new umbrella organization that will help us do a better job with advocacy. I’m the Executive Director, and I’ve got a pretty impressive advisory council (more may be added). This won’t change anything at all with Drug WarRant itself, but will allow me to expand in some work with media contacts. The name of the Foundation is the name of a book that I intend to write (I’ve got the outline and am working on it very slowly…)
2. The “Just Say Now” campaign is working with Drug WarRant, and you’ll see their ads on our pages over the next month. They’re starting with a campaign responding to Facebook censorship of a drawing of a leaf, which has been reported at Huffington Post
Here’s the release from Just Say Now:
Organizers from the new national campaign, Just Say Now (JSN), which launched this month to mobilize millions of young voters nationwide to end marijuana prohibition, have just learned that Facebook is censoring the campaignâ€™s official logo in advertisements after initially serving 38 million impressions. Political blogs from across the spectrum that will begin running the ads today instead.
The social networking site backtracked on its initial approval on August 7 of ads that use the campaignâ€™s official logo, which features a marijuana leaf. Despite the adsâ€™ clear intent as political speech, Facebook pulled them and informed the group no ads with marijuana leaves would be approved any more.
â€œItâ€™s tantamount to banning a candidateâ€™s face during a political campaign,â€ said Michael Whitney, one of the key Just Say Now organizers. “It’s a mystery to me why Facebook would do such a sudden about-face. After 38 million impressions were served, Facebook suddenly decided to that our campaign logo should be re-classified like tobacco. But their guidelines are for companies trying to sell tobacco as a product. This is political speech.”
The ads can be viewed at www.JustSayNow.com.
Earlier this month on August 3, Mexican President Felipe Calderon called on President Obama to enter into a discussion about legalizing marijuana as a way to defund the powerful drug cartels that have killed 28,000 people since 2006. The following week, former President Vincente Fox called for outright legalization. Two Mexican cardinals and Archbishop Jose Luis Chavez Botello have also endorsed Calderon’s request.
Obama Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske rebuffed their entreaties on August 11, however, repeating his contention that “drug legalization is a â€˜non-starterâ€™ in the Obama administration.â€
Jordan Marks, member of the Just Say Now advisory committee, says the decision will not sit well with young people. “Our generation made Facebook successful because it was a community where we could be free and discuss issues like sensible drug policy” says Marks, who also serves as Executive Director of Young Americans for Freedom, the nation’s oldest conservative youth activist organization. “If Facebook censorship policies continue to reflect those of our our government by suppressing freedom of speech then they won’t have to wait until Election Day to be voted obsolete.”
Just Say Now brings together a transpartisan alliance devoted to ending marijuana prohibition that includes former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan Bruce Fein, former Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper, President of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Eric Sterling, Former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan Doug Bandow of the Cato Institute, in addition to representatives from traditional anti-prohibition advocacy organizations like Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the Drug Policy Alliance and NORML.
Following Facebook’s decision to censor the Just Say Now ads, Jeff Cosgrove of Common Sense Media placed the ads on blogs from across the political spectrum. “Blogs from both the right and the left were delighted to accept the ads” says Cosgrove. The ads will begin running today on sites including: Reason, The Nation, The New Republic, Human Events, MyDD, Red State, Antiwar, Drug War Rant, The Young Turks, Pam’s House Blend, Stop The Drug War, The Daily Paul, Lew Rockwell, Think Progress and AmericaBlog.
Rolling Stone Magazine dedicated a full-length feature article in its latest edition to the legalizing effort in California. Ending marijuana prohibition has the support of potential 2012 presidential hopefuls Ron Paul and former New Mexico Republican Governor Gary Johnson.
“Facebook’s business will suffer if they don’t reverse this decision” says Aaron Houston, Executive Director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, whose organization has over 150 chapters on campuses across the country. “We’re way beyond reefer madness and censorship. Facebook should get with the times.â€œ