Just Say Now Campaign Aims To End Marijuana Prohibition


Graphic: Just Say Now

​​The mainstreaming of marijuana means that it is no longer considered a “right” or “left” issue. Pot legalization is now receiving support from across the political spectrum. 

And that’s a good thing, according to Jane Hamsher, founder and publisher of leading progressive blog Firedoglake.com.
“It is very important to us that this is not viewed as a partisan issue, because we don’t think that it is,” Hamsher said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters.
“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,” Hamsher said. “We’re delighted about organizing legalization supporters and getting them to the polls on Election Day.”

Photo: SPAN
Jane Hamsher, Firedoglake: “We believe that marijuana should be taxed and regulated at the state level in the same way that alcohol is”

According to Hamsher, most politicians would like to have a sane conversation about drug policy, but are afraid to. 

To help start that long-delayed conversation, Firedoglake is joining with Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) to launch the Just Say Now campaign to end marijuana prohibition.
​”We believe that marijuana should be taxed and regulated at the state level in the same way that alcohol is, putting money that is going into the pockets of the drug cartels into the American economy,” Hamsher said.
“Americans consume 113 billion dollars’ worth of marijuana each year, and the U.S. government estimates that 50 percent of it is coming from foreign sources,” Hamsher said. “The money that is going to wage a pointless and failed War On Drugs has many better uses.”
Hamsher said the Just Say Now campaign (which she said was named in ironic tribute to Nancy Reagan’s infamously ineffective “Just Say No” campaign of the 1980s) is launching a petition to President Obama today, asking him to put an end to the war on marijuana:
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.
The war on marijuana is a failure. 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.
It’s time to end the war on marijuana.
The petition will be promoted on the Just Say Now website, in addition to being circulated virtually by Firedoglake to those on its email list and its readers.

Photo: SSDP
Aaron Houston, SSDP: “This is really going to be a force in changing marijuana laws”

​SSDP will be doing the same thing physically through their chapters at university campuses across the country, according to Executive Director Aaron Houston.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be woirking with Firedoglake, a stalwart in the online organizing community,” Houston said Tuesday. “This is really going to be a force in changing marijuana laws.”
Marijuana is not quite the taboo subject it was just a few years ago, according to Houston.
“People from all over the political spectrum are beginning to talk about this issue, and are talking about it in a very serious way,” Houston said. “I served as as marijuana lobbyist on the Hill for seven years, and finally people are beginning to believe it is safe to talk about this issue.”
According to Houston, which political party will benefit from the “marijuana vote” has yet to be determined, and the outcome depends on the parties themselves.
“If the Republicans are smart enough to pick it up, it’s going to be good for them,” Houston said “If the Democrats are smart enough to pick it up, it’ll be good for them.”
“It’s a win-win-win political issue, and it’s probably the biggest sleeper issue out there,” Houston said.

Photo: Just Say Now
You know you gotta have one! I ordered mine today. Get ’em at the Just Say Now online store.

​The campaign aims to organize support from across the political spectrum for ending marijuana prohibition in the United States. It will combine the online organizing efforts of Firedoglake, which has 100,000 readers a day, with the grassroots organizing acumen of SSDP, which has chapters at 150 campuses.
“It is very important to us that this is not viewed as a partisan issue, because we don’t think that it is,” Hamsher said in a Tuesday conference call with the press. 
According to Hamsher, the campaign will work to turn out voters supporting marijuana initiatives on this year’s ballot in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon, and South Dakota.
Beyond 2010, Just Say Now
will work to get marijuana initiatives on the ballot in multiple states in 2012, with an emphasis on presidential battleground states, with the goal of encouraging a national conversation about marijuana policy during the next election.
Just Say Now will be launching an online phone banking effort in the coming weeks. Using the phone bank, people can call and help identify supporters in states where marijuana legislation appears on the ballot this year: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and South Dakota.
More about these initiatives can be found here on the Just Say Now website.
The information gathered through phone calls will be used to help turn out voters in these five states on Election Day in November.
The Just Say Now campaign advisory board is made up of people from across the ideological spectrum who share the goal of a more sane and rational marijuana policy, with an emphasis on those with experience in law enforcement and the justice system.
“In order to encourage the national conversation, we will be booking our advisory board members for media appearances as well as working with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) to make their national network of law enforcement speakers available for media and speaking engagements,” Hamsher said.
You can do your part to support legalization through Just Say Now by making a donation here, and buying Just Say Now logo items in the online store. (Those t-shirts rock, man; I’m ordering one today!)
All proceeds will be used to support campaign organizing efforts on campuses and online to end marijuana prohibition.