Cannabis liberty denied free speech.

A month ago, the US Supreme Court declared that corporations are essentially people and have the free speech rights of persons, especially to influence elections with vast amounts of money. During this time actual people supporting the end of the prohibition and persecution of cannabis have seen their free speech rights denied.

  • A NORML ad on the economic benefits of cannabis prohibition repeal and taxation was rejected by CBS corporation. Check out the ad here. Decide for yourself if it is immoral.
  • A YouTube event to allow participants a chance to ask President Obama a question via video was censored. Video inquiries regarding the end of cannabis prohibition were the most common, yet they were ignored by YouTube. The free speech was trounced of all those submitting questions about marijuana. The President was denied the opportunity to even learn of the true interests of the audience addressing him.

Paul Armentano covered the CBS ad rejection in an AlterNet article. CBS and/or the ad buyer, Neutron media suggested the ad was rejected on “moral” issues. Armentano points out that unjust cannabis prohibition laws have resulted in 20 million needless arrests since 1965.

  • Each arrest is a soul-killing, criminal record-establishing, family-smashing, career-destroying, big-government travesty. The prohibition of marijuana and the legal persecution and incarceration of those breaking this unjust law ranks high among America’s worst, least effective and most destructive policies. For a citizen’s group like NORML seeking to right this wrong to be denied the opportunity to buy ad space from a company supported, in great part, by alcohol ads, is ludicrous. The claim that it was doing so on “moral” grounds, is particularly nauseating.

Even more troubling than this rejection by old media such as CBS was the stab in the back reformers took from new media resource, YouTube. Unable to communicate the benefits of ending cannabis prohibition to the president directly, patriots have been effective at using Web-based events to bring this vital issue to Barack Obama’s attention.

In the YouTube question opportunities, people could make short YouTube videos addressing the president. Many did, with the largest number of questions again asking the president to end cannabis prohibition. President Obama, as it turned out, never got any such questions nor was made aware of their rank as question number 1. Instead, YouTube organizers took it upon themselves deny their participant’s free speech by ignoring such questions, along with hiding this #1 audience interest from the Chief Executive. WTF?

YouTube’s owner, Google, if it participated in such censoring, violated its own basic creed, To Do No Evil. The censoring of people speaking knowledge to power by YouTube was a corporate action of true social evil. Such actions delay the day the bloated cancer of America’s war on its own people, marijuana consumers, comes to an end.

Interesting news reactions to new federal medical marijuana policy.

The Obama administration’s new guidelines discouraging federal prosecution of marijuana in states where it is medically legal was widely reported this week by the major networks. This writer, while using the treadmill of course, was able to catch the NBC, CBS and ABC coverage between 5:30 and 6pm Monday evening.

The news of the new federal policy is one of the biggest events in the last several decades of drug policy reform and important actual news to tens of millions of Americans. But this switch in medical marijuana policy was not the first story at either network. CBS lead off its newscast with, again, coverage of the Balloon Boy hoax, which, by this time, was over 72 hours old.

The second CBS story finally got to the new policy sent by the Obama justice department to prosecutors across the country and to the head of the DEA, essentially telling them not to waste resources on prosecuting medical cannabis where it is state legal.

All three of the traditional networks played the story cautiously. Prohibitionists were interviewed for their reactions and allowed to recite their tired talking points. The LA City Attorney Cooley was given face time to call alarm about the high number of dispensaries in LA. He did not mention that the crime rate is down.

Surprisingly, by far the most intelligent reporting on cannabis issues is this week coming from Fox Business News. As flagged by Norml’s Radical Russ, the Fox stories have been matter-of-fact, adult and intelligent. Tuesday’s interview with Denver hedge fund manager and cannabis seed developer Ben Holmes was as positive and intelligent as the Colorado cannabis entrepreneur himself. It was followed Wednesday with a prohibitionist LA official.

The next day, ONDCP Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske showed himself to be a dullard. The Fox Business news team seemed exasperated in trying to pull any intelligent responses to the changes underway on the ground in California and other states with medical exemptions. On hearing the L word, legalization, the drug czar lapsed into his lame, “legalization is not in our vocabulary” rant.

A surprising discussion was found, oddly, on the CNN show of drug war reactionary, Lou Dobbs.  His panel addressing the new medical marijuana guidelines included Clinton Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, Cato Institute scholar Tim Lynch and from LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, ex-cop and criminal justice professor Peter Moskos. Moskos did an excellent job explaining the LEAP position.

McCaffrey fumed, then blatantly lied when he said providers and consumers of medical cannabis had never been targeted by the Feds. Over a decade ago, McCaffrey himself (along with, regrettably, Rahm Emanuel) threated physicians in California with even mentioning medical uses of cannabis to patients, after California voters demanded change in 1996’s Proposition 215. This was too much for Cato Institute scholar Tim Lynch who pointed out that McCaffrey’s anti free speech actions had ended in a circuit court ruling against him. It was good to see such assertive and competent anti-prohibitionists pitted against the sputtering drug war lies of years gone by.