Higher Ground has created a new ad to support legalization reform efforts across the country. “Cannabis Clicker” will air in the five States with recreational legalization ballots: California, Maine, Nevada, Arizona and Massachusetts. The ad will also run in States with medical marijuana votes – including Oklahoma, Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana. All told, nine states will be voting on ballot initiatives related to legalizing and regulating cannabis on November 8th.
“We wanted to use the old reefer madness propaganda as part of our ad,” noted Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Stusser, “and juxtapose it with what’s really going on.” The ad, titled “Cannabis Clicker,” shows side-by-side living rooms, one playing anti-drug commercials and films from a now by-gone era, while the set in the modern living room plays news stories about legalization from the past few years. “Sometimes it’s best just to let the story tell itself,” Stusser notes. “Teen drug use has actually gone down since legalization, massive taxes have been raised, there has been no increase in traffic fatalities – and the sky has not fallen.”
The Cannabis Clicker ad uses clips from the original Reefer Madness movie, the infamous “Your Brain on Drugs” PSA, as well as modern day news clips featuring studies and research related to the legalization of marijuana.
Based out of Seattle, where recreational marijuana was legalized in 2012, Higher Ground is attempting to “Elevate the Dialogue” and broaden the movement nationally. While legal in Washington, Colorado, Alaska and Oregon, the use, sale or distribution of cannabis is still a felony at the federal level, and over 700,000 Americans are arrested every year for marijuana-related offenses. The parody ad has been provided to all the pro-legalization campaigns, and is being used both on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and VIMEO) as well as paid television in selected markets in California and Nevada.
About the AuthorMichael is a journalist and filmmaker. His award-winning documentary, Sleeping with Siri is playing film festivals across the country. Stusser runs TechTimeout campaigns in high schools across the country, asking teenagers to give up their digital devices (for a little while) in order to find balance, and perhaps even make eye-contact with their parents.
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By Zoe — 6 years ago
It’s hard to even keep up with the number of major newspapers FINALLY coming around to support the legalization of marijuana. Here’s a brief list. Don’t blink…or you’ll miss (yet) another….
By Michael A. Stusser — 5 years ago
Passing the dutchie to the right this time.
The idea of Higher Ground is to “elevate the dialogue,” and thus it’s important to remain open-minded to individuals and organizations on all sides of the marijuana-legalization conversation. With that in mind, let’s light the peace pipe and reach the roach across the aisle.
WHAT WOULD JESUS DOO-BIE? Strongly opposing marijuana legislation are activists Alan Gordon and Anne Armstrong, who made headlines by bum-rushing a press conference supporting a new state legalization bill in Rhode Island. The duo aren’t against the notion of legal weed, but instead believe that taxing the plant is against the teachings of the Bible, and Satanic for putting money over patients’ rights. They take issue with the language of the law, claiming medical use of cannabis (which they believe is the Biblical plant called “kaneh-bos”) outweighs any laws, restrictions, or taxes.
“ ‘Marihuana’ is a slang term popularized by William Randolph Hearst in his ‘yellow journalism’ Reefer Madness-type propaganda,” Armstrong told Marijuana.com. “To pass laws about ‘cannabis,’ the plant specified in the Bible as essential to the Holy Anointing Oil, as ‘marijuana’ is as offensive to me as would be a law referring to ‘Equal Pay for Bimbos.’ ”
Gordon and Armstrong will be planting fields of the sacred herb in National Parks this summer, and dedicating them to religious freedom.
CHRONIC KILLS New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is claiming that ganja is responsible for the murders, mayhem, and overall rise in crime in the Big Apple for the first three months of this year.
“In this city, people are killing each other over marijuana more so than anything we had to deal with in the ’80s and ’90s with heroin and cocaine,” Bratton stated. While murders in NYC have increased 17 percent from last year, whether pot is to blame is somewhat questionable. The overall crime rate in New York City is actually down: felony assaults have decreased 18 percent, robberies 22 percent, and crime on subways more than 25 percent.
Compare that to the largest cities that have legalized weed: In Denver, homicides are down 24 percent, but in Seattle they’ve soared—from 23 to 26. And the biggest fact-check of all: In 1990 there were 2,245 murders in New York. Last year? 383. While I’m attempting to be objective, it seems as though the marijuana plant’s not killing anyone.
SHERIFFS SUE While the Evergreen State skates, for some reason Colorado’s getting picked on, and has already been sued by neighboring states Nebraska and Oklahoma for its dope-smokin’ ways. Now a group of sheriffs from Kansas and Nebraska, and even inside Colorado, are piling on, and also filing suit.
“When these Colorado Sheriffs encounter marijuana while performing their duties,” the new lawsuit states, “each is placed in the position of having to choose between violating his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and violating his oath to uphold the Colorado Constitution.”
The reason sheriffs from Kansas and Nebraska submitted the initial lawsuit had to do with the porous borders their states share with Colorado. Apparently, it’s too damn easy for Okies to mosey over to Colorado, pick up that-there marihuana, and cruise back home with the wacky weed to share with friends and family at the annual Toothless BBQ. (Sorry, I’m really trying here, I swear.) In addition to violating federal law, officers state, legalization in Colorado jeopardizes the U.S.’s compliance with international anti-drug treaties.
As the sheriffs put it, departments are “suffering a direct and significant detrimental impact, namely the diversion of limited manpower and resources to arrest and process suspected and convicted felons involved in the increased illegal marijuana trafficking or transportation in their jurisdictions.” Maybe they should consider legalizing it.
Funded by the Florida-based Drug Free America Foundation, the suit goes on to play the Kid Card! “As a result of Amendment 64-related interdiction efforts,” it mopes, “departments have been forced to scale back on drug education and awareness programs in schools.” That hurts. (A related aside: Marijuana sales in Colorado since Jan. 1, 2014 have brought in $15.6 million in excise taxes specifically earmarked and voter-approved solely for public schools, according to the director of the office of capital construction for the state’s Education Department . . . just sayin’.)
LEGALIZE LETTUCE Finally, a pro-life, pro-gun, Tea-Partying Texas Republican has a unique and simple take on the legalization matter: Take every law that prohibits weed off the books. Representative David Simpson of Longview said his bill would increase individual liberties and decrease government control, bedrock values of the conservative movement’s libertarian wing.
“I think we’re at a tipping point,” Simpson said. “I think it’s clear the war on drugs has failed, that the war mentality has eroded individual rights, the sanctity of one’s home, the ability to travel freely with dignity. And at the root of all this is prohibition.”
The bill is as no-nonsense as the man behind it. Rather than add flowery language about taxation and registration, House Bill 2165 simply regulates marijuana . . . as a plant.
“I’m hopeful that if this bill were to pass, we could see hemp cultivated and used as ropes,” noted Simpson. “We can see the marijuana with differing levels of THC used medicinally. I think it’s the right thing to do. It’s the conservative thing to do.”
The bill allows folks to farm it and use it, like tomatoes, coffee, and corn. Untaxed. Deregulated. Done and get ’er done.
This article first appeared in the Seattle Weekly
By Gonzo Man — 6 years ago
Great article from Josh Voorhees, our favorite SLATE contributor
Courtesy of Slate –
An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that the legalization of marijuana is inevitable. We’ll soon find out if they’re right.
Voters in Alaska and possibly Oregon will decide this November whether their states will join Colorado and Washington in legalizing the commercial sale and recreational use of pot. Similar initiatives are at varying stages in more than a half-dozen other states—Nevada, Arizona, and California among them—where advocates are looking toward 2016, when they hope the presidential election will turn out enough liberals to push those efforts across the finish line. All told, more than 1 in 5 Americans live in states where marijuana use has a legitimate chance to become legal between now and when President Obama leaves office.
It’s not just at the ballot box where the pro-pot crowd is putting points on the board. Lawmakers in at least 40 states have eased at least some drug laws since 2009, according to a recent Pew Research Center analysis. According to the Marijuana Policy Project, proposals to treat pot like alcohol have been introduced in 18 states and the District of Columbia this year alone. Meanwhile, 16 states have already decriminalized marijuana, according to the pro-pot group NORML—Maryland will become the 17th in October. In large swaths of the country getting caught with a small amount of weed at a concert is now roughly the same as getting a speeding ticket on the way to the show. While not leading the charge, the Obama administration is allowing states the chance to experiment. The feds have given a qualified greenlight to Colorado and Washington to dabble in recreational weed, and have even taken small steps to encourage banks to do business with those companies involved in the quasi-legal pot trade.
Given this momentum, it’s not difficult to see why 75 percent of Americans—including a majority of both those who support and those who oppose legalization—told Pew pollsters in February that they now believe it’s a matter of when, not if, the nation’s eight-decade-long prohibition of pot ends. The question is: Are they right?
This moment isn’t the first time that the United States appeared on the cusp of legalization. After steep gains in popular support during the early and mid-’70s, support for legalization climbed to 30 percent in 1978, only to plummet back into the teens the following decade as Baby Boomers became parents and Jimmy Carter’s pro-decriminalization administration gave way to Ronald Reagan’s war on drugs. “This was supposed to be inevitable then,” says Kevin Sabet, a legalization opponent and former Obama drug policy adviser who helped found Smart Approaches to Marijuana after leaving the administration. “No one could have predicted that [support]would have been wiped away so quickly.”
The pro-pot crowd isn’t ready to declare victory either. Ethan Nadelmann, who heads the Drug Policy Alliance and has spent decades in the reform trenches, says he’s of two minds when he thinks about the future. “On the one hand we have this extraordinary momentum,” he says. “On the other, public opinion can be fickle and marijuana is not going to legalize itself.”
While such caution is reasonable, it’s obvious that things are different now than they were 40 years ago, when then-record levels of support for legalization were good for little more than a vocal minority. It wasn’t until 2013 that a majority of Americans said for the first time that they supported making it legal to use weed. Support now stands at 54 percent in the most recent Pew poll, 23 points above where the legalization effort stood as recently as 2000 and 13 points higher than in 2010. Even those fickle Baby Boomers are back on board, with 52 percent now in favor—5 points more than that generation’s 1970s-era high. Meanwhile, each passing year brings us an electorate more familiar and less fearful of marijuana.
It’s not just a matter of shifting demographics. There’s also the fact that voters have increasingly gotten an up-close look at state-legal weed in the form of medical marijuana. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia have legalized pot for medicinal purposes to varying degrees since California became the first to do so almost two decades ago. Voters in Florida are set to decide later this year whether they want to join that group, something that would give advocates their first voter-referendum victory in the South. (Florida law requires at least 60 percent support, however, making it a heavier lift than it has been in other states.)
Some pot opponents warn that medical marijuana serves as a Trojan Horse for the larger legalization movement, but that argument relies on Americans believing that the dangers of possibly legalizing recreational weed tomorrow outweigh the benefits of actually prescribing it to cancer patients and others in need today—a viewpoint shared by a diminishing number of Americans. While 54 percent of respondents told Pew they thought “the use of marijuana” should be made legal, things were more complicatedwhen the question changed from a simple yes-or-no to one where people were asked to pick between three choices: 39 percent said that pot “should be legal for personal use”; 44 percent said it “should be legal only for medicinal use”; and 16 percent said it “should not be legal.” Still, the answers to the original question—“Do you think the use of marijuana should be made legal, or not?”—suggests in an all-or-nothing environment, most Americans choose the former.
Regardless, medical marijuana has already served as stepping-stone for states that have or are considering regulating the sale and use of recreational pot. In Colorado, where retail stores opened their doors on New Year’s Day, advocates were able to point to the state’s tightly regulated medical market, approved by voters in 2000, to allay fears that the state couldn’t regulate a marijuana market from scratch. To date, Colorado regulators have delivered on those promises, building a relatively hiccup-free commercial market on the back of the medical marijuana industry. (Things in Washington, where the medical market is unregulated, have proved a good deal more complicated. Residents are still waiting for the first retail stores to open 19 months since the 2012 vote.)
Medical marijuana has become so relatively uncontroversial that late last month the House of Representatives shocked almost everyone when a bipartisan majority voted to block the Drug Enforcement Agency from pursuing medical marijuana operations that are legal under state laws. “Watershed is probably too strong of a word,” says Nadelmann of the unexpected vote for a bill that had repeatedly stalled in the same chamber for the last decade, “but it was pretty close.”
Legalization in theory is different than legalization in practice, and an unforeseen disaster in Colorado or Washington—be it from the production of hash oil or the next time a New York Times columnist overindulges in baked goods—could always affect public opinion. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed his state’s 2012 legalization initiative, for one, has warned his fellow governors to take a wait-and-see approach to their own state’s legalization efforts. But it’s looking increasingly like the voters may not be so patient if given the choice.