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"Just Say Now" Marijuana Legalization Push Gets Underway [FEATURE]

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #643)
Drug War Issues

"Just Say Now" campaign logo
Ex-cops and college students, conservative constitutional scholars and a liberal-leaning web site, former narcs and hip-hop figures -- all are strange bedfellows in a new campaign to legalize marijuana that launched Tuesday. Led by the political blog site FireDogLake, the Just Say Now campaign has also enlisted Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), and GoTV, as well as prominent individuals from across the political spectrum in what it is billing as a "transpartisan" movement to free the weed.

The campaign's goals are to:

  • "Organize transpartisan support for ending marijuana prohibition across the country by combining the online organizing efforts of FireDogLake, which has 100,000 readers a day, with the grassroots organizing abilities of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, with chapters at 150 campuses across the country.
  • "Turn out voters to support marijuana initiatives on the 2010 ballot in Arizona, Oregon, California, Colorado and South Dakota. [Editor's Note: The Colorado initiative campaign is actually aimed at 2012.]
  • "Work to get marijuana initiatives on the ballot in multiple states in 2012, with an emphasis on presidential battleground states, to encourage a national conversation about marijuana policy during the next election.
  • "Inform the conversation around ending prohibition and educate the public about the true state of our antiquated drug policy
  • "Encourage government at all levels to adopt more sane, pragmatic and reasonable policy regarding marijuana."

As part of the campaign, Just Say Now is also launching a petition to President Obama calling for an end to pot prohibition. In addition to being available online, students at SSDP chapters around the country will be carrying copies for signing on campus.

"The war on marijuana is a failure," the petition reads. "The government wastes billions of dollars fighting drug cartels that thrive on marijuana prohibition. Thousands of people are killed, police officers' lives are put in risk, and taxpayer dollars are wasted for nothing. With states on the verge of legalizing marijuana, it's time for a reality check. The federal government should drop its active opposition to marijuana legalization. It's time to end the war on marijuana."

"We're delighted to be joining with SSDP to launch this campaign, and bringing together a transpartisan coalition of support," said FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher. "We have a significant online presence, and SSDP has a significant grassroots presence. Young people want marijuana to be legalized in overwhelming numbers: Young voters are not just excited to support legalization, but are much more likely to turn out to vote if marijuana is on the ballot. We're delighted about organizing legalization supporters and getting them to the polls on election day."

"I am thrilled to be partnering with FireDogLake at an historic moment in the marijuana legalization debate," said SSDP executive director Aaron Houston. "Our coalition will serve as a long-needed cooperative effort that will marry expert political minds with an enormous grassroots network of students and activists around the country. Together, we'll get the message out that we can cut off 70% of the cartels' profits if we tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol."

Students across the country will be working the phones to identify sympathetic potential voters and get out the vote in November, said Hamsher, casting an eye toward the Tax and Regulate Cannabis marijuana legalization initiative in California. "We're hoping California is going to be a turn-out election and not a persuasion campaign," she said, alluding to the low level of undecided voters, around 10% in most polls. "Support declines as folks get older, and off-year elections tend to turn out older voters, not younger ones. We're hoping to identify people who support the measure who will be willing to put in efforts to pass it in the states that have measures on the ballot."

Pot legalization could be just the issue to bring key groups of voters to the polls. As Ryan Grim reported in the Huffington Post Tuesday, recent polling suggests that "surge voters" (those who came out in historic numbers for the 2008 election), young voters, single women under 40, and Hispanics would be more inclined to come out and vote if legalization is on the ballot.

"As a police officer, I can tell you that the 'war on marijuana' has done nothing to reduce marijuana use," said LEAP executive director Neill Franklin, a 33-year veteran cop who ran anti-narcotics task forces for the Maryland State Police and Baltimore Police Department. "But this failed prohibition policy has achieved some results: far too many cops killed in action, billions of tax dollars wasted, powerful and well-funded drug cartels and out-of-control violence in our cities. When my good friend Ed Toatley was killed in the line of fire during an undercover operation, Maryland lost one of the best narcotics cops in our state's history. It is in his honor, and in the names of all the good cops whose lives have needlessly been lost in this failed 'drug war,' that I now work to change these deadly laws."

Seeing a political opening, the campaign will work with LEAP and its speaker bureau to get the message out. "We will have a heavy emphasis on law enforcement and people with criminal justice experience who can speak to the truth of a situation that has been demagogued for so long," said Hamsher.

"I'm very proud to be part of this campaign," said former Seattle police chief and LEAP member Norm Stamper. "I've come to the conclusion that the drug war does more harm than good."

"This is a fundamental issue of states' rights. This is an opportunity to enable states to choose how to address this issue" said Bruce Fein, former associate deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, "Marijuana should be treated just like alcohol -- regulated and taxed -- there could be a windfall for the US economy."

The hip-hop community is also in the house. "I'm very gratified that this has moved along to this point, where law enforcement and states' rights folks and Republicans are starting to come together," said Bill Adler, publicist for Def Jam Records. "It's an idea whose time has come. It should have happened 40 years ago."

Just Say Now is tired of waiting.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


tensity1 (not verified)

Maybe the Just Say Now logo should say "Re-legalize Marijuana."  A lot of people may not even realize that it was once legal, and it just might get them to check out the history of prohibition.  Then again, I'm probably missing something.  Just a thought.

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 5:31am Permalink
claygooding (not verified)

You cannot legislate morality. A law written to enforce moral beliefs is a hole to throw money in.

"Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."   Abraham Lincoln

We are looking at this through our eyes,with our knowledge and experience with/of the propaganda machine that have kept the prohibition in place for 73 years. What will America think of our drug warriors and their propaganda machines after legalization,when they experience first hand the safety and therapeutic applications of marijuana?
One day America will be looking at all of this through our eyes and I am proud of being on the truth side.

Wed, 08/04/2010 - 4:00pm Permalink
GLKing (not verified)

I will keep my personal beliefs and opinions out of this.

First off, State laws to legalize marijuana are unconstitutional.  The Constitution specifically states that NO state can create a law that takes away from or supercedes Federal Law.  It also states that those laws that are not specifically reserved to the Federal Government are reserved to the States, just for those that will argue States Rights, look at Article 10.

Yes, Marijuana was once legal in the 1920's.  You could purchase a marijuana tax stamp from the Federal Government.  There was a story on the History channel about it.

What legitimate research AND peer review has been done on the medicinal benefits of Marijuana?  Yes, there are reams of case studies that have shown the reported benefits by Patients but there is almost nothing from accredited research and peer review.  The same can be said about Methamphetamine.  The Doctor that created it has shown with his study group the benefits of Meth.  Should it be legalized too even though we know for a fact that meth has killed not only users, but innocent bystanders, law enforcement officers, fire fighters and Ambulance crews?  The meth houses are dangerous and have been known to explode maiming and killing those around.  Police and Fire Fighters have died from years of exposure to the chemicals found in these places.  

I just saw another documentary on the History channel about LSD.  There are 8 or 9, don't recall the exact number, of Doctors in the US that are licensed by the FDA to explore the medicinal values of LSD.  They have shown that there may be something there.  There is research going on in Europe about a genetically altered type of LSD that doesn't have the hypnotic affects that has shown promise in people with cluster headaches.  Of course as of the show there was only 6 people in the research group, but 5 out of 6 had shown positive response.

The question is this:  If we legalize marijuana what else do we legalize?  I am all for research and exploration into the benefits of substances, but a typical drug costs about 10 billion to research.  This is from start to production.  Who is going to pay?  There are ALOT of questions that need to be answered before a reasonable, logical, EDUCATED response can be made.  Just because Grandma's cataracts or juniors early onset arthritis are cured by Marijuana usage, there are other, less addictive, drugs that have passed accredited research AND peer review that work just as well.

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 2:05pm Permalink
BrinnaNanda (not verified)

In reply to by GLKing (not verified)


I believe you are reading more into the 10 amendment than is actually there.

The full text of the 10th States;

"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

The 10th was meant to limit, not strengthen federal power.

The right to ban a substance is not one delegated to the United States by the Constitution. This is why there was a constitutional amendment to prohibit alcohol, and why they needed another amendment to un-ban it. It is also why the federal government used the Marijuana Tax Act to effectively prohibit cannabis, rather than trying to foist yet another amendment meant to reduce personal liberties upon its citizens.

Redress on 10th Amendment grounds was used effectively to block federal authorities from attempting to undermine state medical marijuana law in California under Prop 215, in the WAMM federal suit.

Please see:

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 6:20pm Permalink
Nedmorlef (not verified)

In reply to by GLKing (not verified)

That gives the gov't the power to violate most of the first ten amendments of the constitution at will while,focusing on murder of it's citizens in their beds and then, confiscating the bed.

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 10:04pm Permalink
Patriot (not verified)

In reply to by GLKing (not verified)

I agree fully that Meth can be dangerous, but the grounds you stand on when you state"The meth houses are dangerous and have been known to explode maiming and killing those around.", they are misleading. Those houses are not safe because the drug is illegal and so the people are using sub par equipment. If it where legal, it would be made in a proper scientific environment, properly equipped, there would be zero danger to police and firefighters from explosions.

I do agree that Meth can destroy peoples minds, but so can religion or any of the other obsessive practices that humans perform. Everything in moderation, even passion. I in no way support or believe in Meth being made by people in homes, but the real cause of the threat you fear, is the fact that the government has decided to rob us of another freedom,"for our own good", because they obviously have a better grasp on how to run things effectively(Note the state of our country over the last, you pick the number of years). Personal responsibility is the only thing that we should be required to monitor or keep in check in a free country. Go USA!

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 11:31pm Permalink
M. Namer (not verified)

In reply to by GLKing (not verified)

You said it cost how much to research a drug? 10 billion?? (Indonesian Rupiah perhaps). The largest pharmaceutical company in the world showed profits of $12 billion (Johnson & Johnson) last year. Where do you pull these numbers from and whose this doctor that's apparently the only in the entire world to do a "legitimate" research study that's peer reviewed about marijuana. Proper academic peer reviewed studies about marijuana have been taking place for decades, in almost every "developed" nation in the world. 


Thu, 08/12/2010 - 9:54am Permalink
King Pothead (not verified)


It is laughable that you are trying to draw a connection between marijuana and meth.  And then you have the audacity to do the same between marijuana and LSD.  Nobody is talking about legalizing meth and LSD!  Not seriously anyway.  And it is readily apparent that your personal beliefs and opinions WERE NOT kept out of this.

And you want to ask "what legitimate research and peer review have been done on the medicinal benefits of marijuana?"  Hello!  The government and those nazis over at the DEA won't allow any research.  If the research is lacking, it is only because people like you are against the truth coming out.  If you were looking, you may have noticed the outrage of people with Obama appointing Michele Leonhart as acting director of the DEA (people don't want that anti-science, prohibitionist in that position permanently!).  This is the same woman that kept marijuana research from taking place at the University of Massachusetts by blocking it.  Point is:  how can we ever find the full benefits of marijuana if this outdated government and prohibitionists ignorant of the facts continue to block research?  And believe me, there are plenty of people, groups and organizations willing to pay for this research.  Fortunately, people have woken up to the fact of what an abysmal failure the war on drugs has been and they are looking for better solutions than the status quo that people like you espouse.

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 9:06pm Permalink
divegod (not verified)

In reply to by King Pothead (not verified)

And where is the wisdom in forcing Grandma and Junior who may be of little means to purchase a plethora of  drugs from Big n Rich Pharma to ease their suffering (physical or otherwise) when they could simply plant some seeds, add water and sun light also provided at no charge from the man upstairs and presto Free Medicine! Big pharma certainly don't want that because sales of their so called Accredited researched drugs approved by the FDA that are killing killing people by the thousands every year, would plummet! And they Need those sales to fend of the millions of law suits due to deadly products they sell, whereas cannabis has killed No One! If States and citizens of them do not stand up for what is right the Federal Government will continue with its War on citizens, destroying lives and families. The prohibition on cannabis in the early stages had nothing to do with public safety, it was solely the desire to deport Mexicans, imprision black people, and remove Hemp as an alternative to paper. These are the facts and they are the proper research before you spew your lies and propaganda like was done in the 20's up to 8/5/10.

The Duke

Thu, 08/05/2010 - 9:47pm Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

In reply to by divegod (not verified)

Dude, the bulk of your comment is right on, but the title you chose is misleading, it implies you agree with GLKing (who is so very lacking in real knowledge about "illicit" drugs that he is ridiculously wrong in his ideas and his conclusions -- methinks he might be a troll). 

Tue, 08/10/2010 - 5:25am Permalink
divegod (not verified)

In reply to by Moonrider (not verified)



     Please except my apologies for the vague concurrence, I was agreeing with Kingpothead, who stated that the other King had certainly not left his feelings out of the post. I thought I had made myself clear by the meat my post and by signing it "The Duke"..... Pothead of course. I thank you for the general compliment, I pride myself in doing all the research necessary to make a logical coherent argument, I wish other would be so kind! It burns me up when others post off the cuff and with feeling, without doing the due diligence. Therefore making themselves out a Troll. Reference ( Bishop Allen of Sacramento, CA) I thank you for the bit of enlightenment in regard to the Meth and LSD legalization efforts, I had no idea since they do not interest me in any way. ( living proof that cannabis is NOT a gateway drug). It is the Prohibition of marijuana that forces citizens to purchase from black market purveyors, who more often than not peddle in other high profit drugs that have a supposed high addiction rate. Simply put it is the Dope Man that provides the Gateway not Cannabis!!!

Many Thanks,


Wed, 08/11/2010 - 11:24pm Permalink
borden (not verified)

In reply to by King Pothead (not verified)

Actually, a lot of us ARE talking about legalizing meth and LSD -- and we're right and we can prove it.

But Prop 19 is about marijuana not those other drugs, so those are other issues.

- Dave

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 12:39am Permalink
tensity1 (not verified)

In reply to by borden (not verified)

And let's not forget that meth is schedule II, able to be prescribed by a doctor, I believe.  Or that many pharmaceuticals are close analogues of cocaine, opium, and amphetamines.

Anyway, if we're really serious as a society about minimizing the harms of drugs (and maximizing benefits), why in the hell would we not want to control and regulate their manufacture and distribution; educate to minimize harm; if needed, assist with treatment in order to have a productive member of society (even if still an addict) as opposed to a sick and/or criminal person draining resources?

We need to get past the hypocritical moralizing and deal with facts and effective solutions.  This should be for all drugs.  Portugal, anyone?  Enough with the demonizing of some people over others because of what they ingest.  If you really care about "the children" and your fellow citizens, then adopt an approach that works, because the fact is that our current policy is effectively a non-solution--a colossal, heart-breaking failure by any measurable standard, decades-long in the making. 

Fri, 08/06/2010 - 5:56am Permalink
Moonrider (not verified)

used to be made in pharmaceutical facilities and were available by prescription.  When the federal government declared them too dangerous and much too widely available in the black market and made them nearly impossible for a doctor to prescribe without running afoul of the law (as is being done with pain meds, currently), they set up the exact conditions which would create clandestine meth labs and a huge black market for the drug.  As the laws began to make the chemicals used to make meth harder and harder to acquire, then meth began to get more and more dangerous (both the clandestine labs and the final product are dangerous).  

So you can blame the government and its stupid policies for the "meth problem".  Without prohibition, none of that would have occurred, the pharmaceutically produced "clean" drug would be available by prescription and there wouldn't be the huge number of meth addicts we currently have in our society.

Prohibition is ALWAYS the problem, never the solution.

Tue, 08/10/2010 - 5:37am Permalink
anonymus (not verified)

Nature’s (legal) cannabinoids

What are cannabinoids? Well, here is where things get interesting. As one learns in biology, the human body has many systems — the circulatory, respiratory, digestive, and nervous systems to name a few. Each system has parts: for example, the nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves. By the late 1980s, science identified a new human system — the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — also referred to as the cannabinoid system. There is a cannabinoid system present in all mammals — to include humans and 15,000 other species. A mammal is any vertebrate animal distinguished by self-regulating body temperature, hair, and milk-producing females — as mammal means "breast" or of the breast.

The ECS has two main parts: cannabinoids, which are chemical neurotransmitters, and two receptors called "CB1" and "CB2." Cannabinoids activate receptors found throughout the body — in all organs, for example. In fact, all systems in our bodies are modulated by the cannabinoid system. This means that as a body system changes, it uses the ECS to do so.

Science and popular search sites like Wikipedia use three classifications of cannabinoids:

  1. Endogenous cannabinoids (also referred to as endocannabinoids), which are produced by the human body
  2. Herbal cannabinoids, the kind found in the cannabis sativa plant
  3. Synthetic cannabinoids, produced and distributed by pharmaceutical companies

The third kind is what I am picking up from the pharmacy — 30 Marinol (Dronabinol) capsules. Marinol is a prescribed cannabinoid from my doctor — and I am going to test it against the herbal cannabinoids I have been baking into my brownies for six years now.

Marinol is a prescribed cannabinoid from my doctor — and I am going to test it against the herbal cannabinoids I have been baking into my brownies for six years now.

The pharmacist hands me a white paper bag containing the Marinol prescribed for my Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Stapled to the top is a typical handout with cautionary medical information. The small amount (150mg) of the synthetic cannabinoid THC costs $370 — or more than $69,000 per ounce!

I sign my name on a distribution sheet and pay my $3 Medicare co-pay. The government, meaning our tax dollars, pays the other $367 for my medicine. Now I am ready to go — but not before my 'synthetic cannabinoid' dealer informs me of possible side effects.

Cannabinoids are clearly medicinal to our bodies. But there is a strange distinction between which cannabinoids are effective and which ones are legal. In the case of my MS, appetite stimulation has not been a problem — which is what the Marinol is usually prescribed for. Marinol simply did not work for me. There are other pharmaceutical cannabinoids — such as Nabilone and Sativex — available in other countries, but they remain expensive and less effective than herbal cannabinoids. Nature created cannabis and the mammalian ECS, not you or me — and it was through the use of herbal cannabinoids that I was able to wean myself from a life of pharma-cocktails and move toward a healthier life. — Just as nature designed.

The Cannabis Papers
   - a citizen's guide to cannabinoids
Tue, 08/10/2010 - 5:46am Permalink
divegod (not verified)

In reply to by anonymus (not verified)

I wanted to thank you for your real life dissertation, on your experience with cannabinoids both Natural (illegal) and Synthetic (legal) brought to you in part by Big Pharma and the FDA at a cost to taxpayer $ 367.00 per fill!!

The writing is on the wall people, read it! I would be willing to bet that this anonymous guinea pig is not the only one dissatisfied with the products provided by big pharma and prescribed by our sheeple doctors who are all profiting from the Prohibition of Cannabis... at great cost to Citizens in every way


Wed, 08/11/2010 - 11:51pm Permalink

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