Site News

You may notice a couple of minor changes today.

1. Drug WarRant is now published by the Prohibition Isn’t Free Foundation — 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 campaign’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 campaign’s official logo, which features a marijuana leaf. Despite the ads’ clear intent as political speech, Facebook pulled them and informed the group no ads with marijuana leaves would be approved any more.

“It’s tantamount to banning a candidate’s face during a political campaign,” 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

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 ‘non-starter’ in the Obama administration.”

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.“

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28 Responses to Site News

  1. Just Legalize It says:

    I say give facebook 30 days to change their policy regarding the ads and if nothing is done, BOYCOTT TIME! If we can affect Wal-Mart, we can affect facebook

  2. ezrydn says:

    I’ve never been bitten by the social media bug so I’d be no help there. However, with that being said, I’ll accept being a “sheeple” on this point and follow the crowd.

  3. Jillian Galloway says:

    Because of the marijuana prohibition, all of the $113 billion spent on marijuana in the U.S. each year goes straight to criminals. Two-thirds of cartel money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S. They fight to protect this cash flow by controlling the marijuana-smuggling routes into this country.

    Fueled by the unrelenting demand for marijuana, the cartels now have more than 100,000 “foot soldiers” and operate in more than 230 cities in the U.S. As the cartel’s power continues to grow so too does the risk they pose to our own personal security.

    If we can STOP people smoking marijuana then we have to do it now! If we can’t, we *have* to legalize marijuana’s production and sale to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match.

    We *have* to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate two-thirds of their income – no business can withstand that!

  4. darkcycle says:

    Face book is just another example of how the legalization message is washed from the public view by media. That it would extend to the world wide web should be no surprise to anyone. Dissapointment is a reasonable response though. The real test of the reach of the legalization message will be not who will carry it, but can we affect those who will not. To that end, I suggest that we begin this boycott immediatly, thirty days be damned. And Ezrydn, if you are really bitten, we need people like you to make this work. People with large social networks can have a disproportionate impact in those communities. Look at it this way, if you announce to your network the reason for your new silence, and they don’t like it, they are likely to put pressure on facebook regardless of where they stand on the issue. The issue ceases to become a legalization, or even a free speech one, it becomes an immediate cause of disruption to the community of facebook. That, I believe would be the most effective and immediate way to impact them. Don’t be a sheeple willingly…..come to the dark (as in computer screen)side!

  5. Skippy the Bush Kangaroo says:

    Facebook is LAME with capital letters get off there JSN!

  6. Pete says:

    Hey, Skippy! Good to see you. Facebook may be lame in some ways, but it’s where a whole lot of people can be found.

    I reach quite a few additional people because I also have my Drug WarRant posts on Facebook.

    And personally, for me, as a professional in academia, it’s an incredibly rich way to keep connected with hundreds of former students with whom I would otherwise completely lose touch.

  7. Buzzby says:

    Why give Facebook 30 days to fix what should never have been done in the first place? Go to, sign the petition against Facebook, and tell them (in the comments section) that you are boycotting Facebook until such time as they stop censoring political speech.

  8. Stankenfriener says:

    Never got the whole social networking craze. Used to use internet relay chat with local buds that was about it. Myspace is good for having just about every band ever on there.

  9. Tim says:

    Congrats Pete! Keep up your excellent work!

  10. Tim says:

    Pete: have you seen Looks like a kind of FB for grad students.

  11. darkcycle says:

    Pete, does this mean you agree? Or disagree? Or feel that it’s too much to ask of people? I’m a college teacher, my wife is a full professor, with tenure here at Western wa. University…..we don’t belong to face book….never have. We don’t tweet, or participate in social media of any sort beyond the University e-mail account, and the posts you have seen here. My work doesn’t suffer.
    I’m not criticizing your or anybody elses stance, people make their own decisions for their own reasons. Just want to point out that life does indeed go on when one is away from the screen.

  12. Just me. says:

    Cant stand face book. Im glad it does good for our cause but, I wont use it and now that this happened…I wish I was so I could boycott…lol oh well life goes on.

  13. Pete says:

    Personally, I love Facebook, and I find it very useful and fun for some of what I do (mostly having nothing to do with drug policy), but I fully understand that it’s of no interest to others, which is absolutely fine. I also do a small amount of twittering, but I find that less interesting and use it more to check up on what others in drug policy (both sides) are up to. Instant messaging interests me not at all. I’d be lost without my newsreader as my way to keep up with hundreds of blogs and other media sources, but I absolutely refuse to watch any television news of any kind.

    Everybody’s got their own interests and preferred ways of communicating with the rest of the world. And that’s great.

    If you’re not interested in Facebook, I wouldn’t recommend you join for the purpose of this alert. On the other hand, as a marketing person, I fully understand that we, as a movement, must have the ability to reach the Facebook audience. It’s a critical group, and Facebook is an incredibly easy way to target them.

    A boycott of Facebook won’t work. There’s no way we could convince enough people to leave Facebook to make any kind of noticeable dent in their income stream. However, the news coverage of the censorship, and a large enough online protest, might get them to reverse their decision based solely on avoiding a pesky headache.

  14. serfin' hangin' ten says:

    Other blogs are picking up on this. Saw at least two in the links section of an alt news blog. These blogs usually do not discuss drug prohibition policy.

  15. darkcycle says:

    I disagree, Pete. Boycotts are effective and a boycott of a social networking site would be more so, beacuse their revenue stream is tied to the numbers they can generate. And also for the exponential nature of the backlash as people not even concerned about the issue put pressure on about thier friends leaving. Boycotts have been effective against Wal-Mart and GE, Carnation, and many other giants.
    But I’m going to end this steam of thought by changing my mind. A much more important boycott is the google boycott. Net neutrality must be preserved, or we may not be able to have this discussion in the future. Facebook were cowards and slimeballs for what they did. Firedog lake petition is the way to go, and in the immortal words of Emily Littella “never mind”.

  16. Duncan says:

    darkcycle if their goal is to ‘wash’ it from sight they sure have picked an idiotic way to go about doing so. I wonder how many thousands of people have heard of FireDogLake for the first time today?

    The Huffington Post article has spawned almost 6000 comments.

    I don’t think I can boycott Facebook over this because I’m already boycotting them for a different reason. Can boycotts run concurrently like prison sentences?

  17. allan420 says:

    @ Duncan… to answer that question:

    “Can boycotts run concurrently like prison sentences?”

    Well yes… but then it’s no longer a boycott, it’s a boy/girlcott. A gender inclusive term I just made up (because we’re good at this stuff in Eugene). I mean really? Sure men deserve all the crap we get just because we ARE men, after all, but think about the gender specificity of the word “boycott.” C’mon… guys get stuck with “hysteria” (like that shouldn’t be “hersteria”!) and what’s with hysterectomy? That one obviously is 180º out of alignment and very truly should be hersterectomy. The list is endless… seriously… when Ray Romano is representing men… we’ve lost and no amount of tweaking of the nipples of language will dig us out of this hole our language (and doofish actors) has gotten us in.

    Rant off… I just couldn’t resist!

  18. darkcycle says:

    Allan, the greater problem is the use of gender biased terms to refer to individuals of unlike sex. The terms “Man” and “Woman” have all sorts of connotations and implications that can be restrictive and biasing. The “seperate but equal” public restroom situation must be rectified. Why, by just walking through the door to get to the urinal you have to label yourself in front of God and everybody. Write your congressman (ERK!) and demand equal sexual organs for all!. Boycott bathrooms! Use bushes!

  19. Bruce says:

    Why not varying degrees of boycott. Default swap boycotts including swapcotts via boycott loans and deferred credit-cut-quasicotts. A win without the bells whistles noise and violence of the lessor cotts.

  20. Duncan says:

    Pete! I thought the professors weren’t allowed to touch the students?

    No TV news at all? Not even The Daily Show? Did you know that Jon Stewart is the most respected newscaster in the country now? Gosh, and he can still take the time to laugh.

  21. malcolmkyle says:

    Fish in a barrel anyone?

    This thread’s quite prominent in “War On Drugs’ google news search results at the moment

    And besides that, I wouldn’t half love some help dealing with these bigoted idiots.

  22. Pete says:

    Duncan – It’s different when you’re in theatre 🙂

    Of course, I watch the Daily Show every night, but that’s a comedy show, not TV news. It just happens to also get the news right better than the TV news does in most cases. His coverage of the mosque story has been brilliant.

    BTW everyone — I don’t know if it was clear, but the Just Say Now campaign that is being done by FDL and SSDP (and which is advertising here) is not just about Facebook. That’s just one prong of their campaign. They’ve got a really good group that’s very media savvy, and I’m impressed with what they’ve done so far.

  23. smapdi says:

    Rather than a boycott, why doesn’t everyone just change their Facebook profile picture to a pot leaf?

  24. malcolmkyle says:

    “Rather than a boycott, why doesn’t everyone just change their Facebook profile picture to a pot leaf?”

    I did that yesterday after posting an article on this travesty on my wall. If things don’t change then I’ll be closing my account soon.

    BTW. good luck Pete with the new umbrella. Cool name!

  25. Windy says:

    Darkcycle, we live in the same county, funny how small the world can be. Saw another WWU prof on History channel last night on the “Jefferson” 2 hour bio.

    Anyway, I’m on FB, I use it less for “social” reasons than to promote issues in which I have an interest, like freedom. So I have been busy making comments about this censorship issue, as well as the legalization issue, on other’s walls (including our local talk radio FB page) as well as my own.

  26. Free The Leaf

    Prohibition has ruined the lives of GOOD people, while enriching the most evil. Prohibition has stagnated the American economy, while criminal enterprises control this untaxed cash-crop. Prohibition has left America ignorant of the most logical solution to a number of problems…medicinal, industrial, chemical, agricultural, ecological, commercial..

  27. sixtyfps says:

    smapdi said “Rather than a boycott, why doesn’t everyone just change their Facebook profile picture to a pot leaf?” which is exactly what I did earlier today, too. I’d recommend all incensed (and un-closeted) Facebookians ought to do the same.

    I’d also recommend a quick explanation for why you did it because although it’s the most visually striking, to-the-point graphic on their site, it doesn’t have their org name attached to it.

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