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Just Say Now Launches GOTV Effort to Make 2012 the Year We Legalize Marijuana

8:17 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

11:46am: Huuuge thank you to the nearly 100 people who have brought us almost halfway to our goal in just our first day! Please help us turn out as many voters as possible on Election Day in support of marijuana reforms across the country.

In less than 60 days, we will have the chance to make history.

With marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot in an unprecedented 3 states, this November could be a turning point that begins a national wave of reform. To get there, we need to raise at least $5,000 over the next week to set up our phone bank, identify supporters, register voters, promote these initiatives and get folks to the polls on Election Day.

Remember, Just Say Now is a 100% grassroots-powered campaign, so we’re counting on you. Can you please chip in $20+ to help us raise at least $5,000 to make 2012 the year we legalize marijuana?

Donate $20+ to Just Say Now’s Get Out the Vote campaign and help us reach our $5,000 goal to build support for marijuana reform initiatives before Election Day.

Just Say Now played an important role in the 2010 election, launching over 30,000 calls to voters in support of marijuana reforms in various states. We hope to smash our record this year, but our ability to make an impact hinges on our capacity to contact prospective voters.

Our straightforward 5-step plan is designed to push support for these initiatives over the top and drive voters to the polls- but the more help we get from activists like you, the more we can do. Here’s what Just Say Now plans to do from now until Election Day:

Step 1: Raise at least $5,000 to set up our phone bank, identify supporters, register voters and run advertisements in support of these initiatives.

Step 2: Drive volunteers to our phone bank to call hundreds of thousands of voters across CO, WA, OR, AR and MA in support of ballot initiatives there.

Step 3: Provide strategic support to the campaigns to give them the best chance possible to pass these initiatives.

Step 4: Educate everyone on when, where and how to vote for these initiatives, and make sure they do so on Election Day.

Step 5: Analyze lessons-learned and prepare to support the next round of marijuana reforms taking root across the US.

It’s time to finally begin to end the war on marijuana and bring sensible reform to our nation’s racist, oppressive drug laws. Can you help us achieve this historic victory by donating $20+ to our Get Out the Vote efforts for marijuana reform initiatives nationwide?

HELP MAKE HISTORY: Donate $20+ to support Just Say Now’s GOTV efforts to legalize marijuana in 2012.

I can’t stress the monumental opportunity we have before us with 3 marijuana legalization initiatives on the ballot in Colorado, Washington and Oregon during a general election, when turnout is at its highest.

But even though we have the advantage of multiple ballot initiatives and strong, well-organized state campaigns, we still have quite the uphill battle before us. For example, Colorado’s Amendment 64 enjoys a 9-point lead over the opposition in the polls, but is still hovering just under 50% support overall. The polls are very, very close there and in other states, and could easily break either way, which is why your active participation in our campaign matters so much this year.

It’s our job to make sure eligible supporters in these states are registered to vote and know when, where, how and why to vote for these initiatives. If we can hit our fundraising goal of $5,000, we can start to turn out the vote for marijuana right away.

Click here to donate $20 or more to turn out voters in support of marijuana legalization this year.

LIVESTREAM: Medical Marijuana Rally Outside Obama’s Oakland Fundraiser

8:22 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

Free live streaming by Ustream

Today at 12pm Pacific, medical marijuana patients, caregivers and supporters will gather outside a fundraiser for President Obama at Oakland’s Fox Theater to protest the administration’s multi-agency war on pot.

Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, one of the nation’s largest medical marijuana dispensaries (serving thousands of patients) is one of the organizations calling for this action. Harborside has been a prime target of the Obama administration’s war on medical marijuana, and just this month, the federal government threatened to seize their property “under federal laws prohibiting the distribution of marijuana.”

If you’re in the Oakland area, please head down and show your support, or you can make a last-minute contribution to help Just Say Now target supporters in the area with Facebook ads, urging them to attend. As Jane wrote, “…we firmly believe that elections are the time when candidates are the most responsive to the needs of the constituents whose votes they hope to woo,” and with only a few months until November, this an excellent opportunity for the marijuana community to express those needs.

From Harborside Health Center’s action alert:

Dear Harborside Supporter,

Our Time is NOW! A Call to Action:

Watch Steve DeAngelo’s Call to Action

Last October CA’s four US Attorney’s announced a crackdown on medical cannabis, saying they would target organizations using medical cannabis as a shield for criminal activity and profiteering. But the list of those actually targeted reads like an honor role of the most legitimate and legally compliant medical cannabis providers in the state.

On July 9th, Harborside Health Center was added to that list, when federal agents taped a notice of property forfeiture to our front doors. This action was a major escalation by US Attorney Melinda Haag, who previously had said she would focus enforcement actions on dispensaries that too close to schools, or out of compliance with state law

Ms. Haag failed to cite even one specific act of wrongdoing on the part of Harborside. The only reason she gave for moving against us is that we are too large. But the reason we have become so large is because we have provided patients with the very highest level of care, and have meticulously obeyed state law and local regulations.

Help stop the Federal attacks on the medical cannabis community!

Join us
MONDAY, JULY 23 at 12:00pm
Oakland City Hall
1 Frank H Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

Please tweet using hashtag #SaveHarborside

TGIF: A Strong Week for Firedoglake Activism

10:55 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

When you’re this deep in the trenches, everything seems like an uphill battle. Rarely, it seems, do we see justice truly served or fairness truly honored.

But (!) this past week was different. FDL activists saw some inspiring progress on a variety of campaigns, and since it’s Friday and we could all probably use a little pick-me-up, I thought I’d share our week with you.

What’s important to keep in mind here is that Firedoglake activists played an important role in each of the following. Great job, everyone!

Last Friday, we found out that AARP dropped it’s falsely-limited survey on the future of Social Security and Medicare benefits in favor of a more open-ended survey. Our campaign of over 20,000 activists including over 9,000 AARP members, from FDL, CREDO Mobile, the National Organization for Women and Social Security Works were able to pressure the nation’s largest elderly advocate to drop this effort to use their members as human shields for future support of benefit cuts.

The New York State Assembly voted to pass medical marijuana legislation 90-50 after Just Say Now activists launched hundreds of calls alongside activists from CCPR/NYCA and NORML in support.

Then, this past Wednesday, we learned that the Rhode Island General Assembly had approved marijuana decriminalization for the state and Gov. Chafee signed it, after our Just Say Now campaign launched dozens of calls to his office in support.

After Just Say Now activists called city officials in February to oppose efforts to block it from the ballot for the 2nd time, the MI State Supreme Court ruled that Detroit voters would decide on marijuana decriminalization in August.

Finally, we also learned this week that Rep. Dennis Kucinich is leading a group of 26 members of Congress in writing a letter demanding the White House release what we’ve called the Execution Memos, or the legal justification behind the ‘secret kill list’ and the authority to murder anyone suspected of ‘terrorism’ – including American citizens – anywhere in the world without due process or judicial review. This follows pressure applied by over 22,000 FDL activists, who have been for months demanding this legal rationale be made public by the administration.

They’re small victories, and they are certainly to be shared with the other activists and organizations rallying behind them, but they are victories nonetheless.

If you’re feeling generous on this Friday afternoon, consider chipping in $5 to help Firedoglake continue our advocacy on issues from marijuana to Social Security and beyond.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Should Investigate the DEA’s 4/20 Civil Rights Violations

9:29 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

“I didn’t care if I died – I was completely insane.”

That’s what 23-year-old Daniel Chong told reporters after he was abandoned in his cell for 5 days after a 4/20 Drug Enforcement Agency raid at UC San Diego. Handcuffed, alone and forgotten in a windowless, 5×10′ room without food or water, Daniel began to hallucinate, was forced to drink his own urine, and even tried to commit suicide by eating the lenses of his glasses.

Daniel was nearly tortured to death for attending a 4/20 party, and while this is an extreme case, it’s not the first time the DEA has trampled our civil rights and unnecessarily put lives at risk.

The House Oversight Committee is already considering an investigation and we want to join the call for justice by demanding the Senate Judiciary Committee launch one as well – but we need your help.

Can you sign our petition to Judiciary Committee chairman Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) demanding an investigation into the DEA’s abuse of Daniel Chong?

Click here to sign:

Daniel’s story once again highlights the destructive, regressive drug war as it’s being waged by the DEA. It is a symbol of how the war on drugs itself – meant to protect us from the “dangers” of drugs – is often more harmful to the public.

The bottom line is that if such authority can result in abuses as hideous as these, then the responsible agencies deserve intense scrutiny by our elected officials.

Please join our call for a Senate investigation into the DEA’s detention of Daniel Chong.

Oaksterdam Update: Richard Lee Calling it Quits?

11:50 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

Following the raid on Oaksterdam University earlier this week, in which federal agents from the IRS and DEA seized bank accounts, plants, computers and records from the industry training center, founder and Prop 19 sponsor Richard Lee announced today that he will be leaving the business.

The government has yet to release the justification for this raid, but the damage is already done. The unbearable legal and financial burdens have forced Lee to step down, silencing an important voice in the movement; and the total lack of transparency will likely cast a chill over others in the medical marijuana industry as well.

It’s important to note that these raids – which candidate Obama repeatedly opposed – do not only intimidate. They also crush businesses and investors operating in a perfectly legal state and local environment, and sever a patient’s safe access to medicine – either driving them into the black market, forcing them to tolerate the dangerous and uncomfortable side-effects of pharmaceutical drugs, or leaving them to suffer.

These actions make it difficult for states to continue to pass medical marijuana laws. Some governors are blocking important medical marijuana reforms out of fear of federal retribution, and the window of opportunity for this state-by-state approach may be closing.

But simply rescheduling marijuana, which currently stands as a Schedule I drug alongside heroin and ecstasy, would allow doctors in any state to prescribe medical marijuana to patients. Governors from VT, RI and WA have already signaled their support for rescheduling to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.

However, President Obama can reschedule medical marijuana right now with an executive order – no congressional approval needed. On his own, President Obama could end the war on patients in this country, save untold law enforcement resources, and maybe even convince young voters, a few of his erstwhile 2008 supporters, that he might not be totally awful on marijuana.

Both President Obama and AG Holder have deeply confused the public, local governments, and law enforcement on their stance on medical marijuana – claiming to let states self regulate while allowing these disastrous federal raids to continue. It’s time for President Obama to take real action if he wants the trust and support of the marijuana reform community.

Sign our petition urging President Obama to immediately reschedule medical marijuana and end the war on patients and caregivers.

Top 10 Firedoglake Blog Posts of 2010

7:48 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

UPDATE: Be sure to check out the top 10 myFDL diaries of 2010!

2010 gave us a lot to write about here at Firedoglake. From passing student loan reform, to covering the BP oil disaster, to elevating the national conversation around marijuana policy, FDL bloggers and diarists came through with amazing reporting and analysis on the wide variety of issues facing the country.

Here’s a round-up of the top 10 blog posts at Firedoglake in 2010 (based on pageviews) — feel free to share your favorite FDL posts from last year in the comments!

10. “New Harris Poll Finds Nearly One Fourth of Republicans Believe Obama May Be the Antichrist” by Blue Texan

On the day President Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act of 2010 into law, a Harris Poll attempted to find exactly what portion of Americans held extreme views about the President by asking, among other things, if they believed he was a socialist and if he was born in the United States– loaded questions that were certain to produce some wacky results. And, unsurprisingly, they did: the Harris Poll found that 67% of Republicans believed Obama to be a socialist, 45% believed he was not born in the US and thefore ineligible to hold the office of the President, and 38% believed he was “doing many of the things that Hitler did.”

9. “Reddit Won’t Run Any Display Ads for Marijuana Legalization” by Michael Whitney

Many people across the country believed that 2010 was the year they would finally see the tides begin to turn on our costly, failed drug war. One obstacle we  faced during the course of our Just Say Now campaign to legalize marijuana was the censorship of our online ads. Both Facebook and Reddit refused to run ads depicting marijuana leafs because marijuana is illegal, a stance that made it virtually impossible to advocate for the legalization of marijuana. In August, Condé Nast (which owns Reddit) prohibited the social news site from running Just Say Now ads depicting marijuana, despite the fact that many Reddit users were writing about the various legalization initiatives and even doing small-scale organizing around the issue on their own. In response, Reddit staffers chose to go around Condé Nast and run our ads for free!

8. “The MEANEST TOWN IN AMERICA: Fake Prom for Lesbian Student?” by Lisa Derrick

Last spring, a federal judge in Mississippi ruled that Constance McMillen, a gay high school student attending Itawamba Agricultural High School, had her rights violated after being barred from attending her prom in a tuxedo with her girlfriend. In response, angry, homophobic parents at her school planned a secret, private prom and invited all of Constance’s classmates to attend — except, of course, for Constance and her girlfriend, who unknowingly showed up at the prom’s original location, only to find that no one else was there.

via Morrison World News

7. “Assange Accuser Worked with US-Funded, CIA-Tied Anti-Castro Group” by Kirk James Murphy, MD

Many people held suspicions about the rape charges leveled at Wikileaks founder Julian Assange after his organization leaked thousands of confidential Iraq War documents to the press. Assange’s chief accuser in Sweden was Anna Ardin — an accomplished anti-communist activist with ties to all sorts of questionable characters involved in the US interventions in Latin America, including convicted terrorist and former-CIA agent Luis Posada Carriles. Ardin’s connections to US foreign policy interests brought her accusations into question, especially since evidence suggests she threw a party for Assange after the alleged ‘crime,’ only to report it to authorities once the US political class started clamoring for his head.

6. “Where’s Constance? Photos from a Private Prom” by Lisa Derrick

In this follow-up post from Lisa on the story of Constance McMillen, we are treated to photos and Facebook comments from students and parents involved in the “private, no-gays prom.” It turned out that the parents who organized the secret prom had sought to exclude students with learning disabilities from attending as well. As Constance told the Advocate, “[The students with learning disabilities] had the time of their lives [...] That’s the one good thing that come out of this, [these kids] didn’t have to worry about people making fun of them [at their prom].”

5. “Once, Twice, Three Times a Lady of the Night: DC Cops Can Arrest You for Carrying More Than Two Condoms” by Lisa Derrick

Last summer, Washington, DC cops proclaimed their authority to arrest anyone in the ‘Prostitution Free Zone’ found to be carrying two or more condoms on their person — a truly counterproductive policy in a city facing the highest HIV/AIDS infection rates in the country (aound 3-5%). Lisa points out how the Center for Disease Control puts the threshold for severe epidemics at a mere 1%, and wonders how, if at all, this policy helps.

via DailyMe

4. “FCC Commissioners Copps, Clyburn Strongly Support Open Internet” by David Dayen

When Google and Verizon announced a joint policy to kill net neutrality at the height of the open internet debate in August, FCC Commissioners Michael Copps and Mignon Clyburn let loose with harsh criticisms of their proposal at a public hearing in Minnesota. According to Copps, the deal “would eliminate any openness provisions over wireless, which is where all Internet applications are going.” Copps and Clyburn were joined by Minnesota Senator Al Franken, who noted that “we can’t let companies write the rules that we the people are supposed to follow. Because if that happens those rules will be written only to protect corporations.”

3. “Yes on Prop 19 Winning 52%-36%; Majority Supports Legalizing Marijuana” by Jon Walker

Four months before the deciding vote, California’s Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana enjoyed overwhelming support from the public. A PPP poll showed that voters supported the measure by an astounding 52% to 36%. Surprisingly, the poll found African Americans to be the largest bloc of supporters for marijuana legalization – a finding in conflict with earlier polling results that showed African Americans supporting legalization on-or-below average with the rest of the country. Jon also noted the significance of a Rasmussen poll that had, for the first time in the firm’s history, showed a plurality supporting marijuana legalization among American adults: 43% support to 42% oppose – a significant change from results released about one year earlier that found support at only 41%, with 49% opposed. Most importantly, the Rasmussen poll showed that an unprecedented 65% of American adults believed that marijuana would be legalized in the near future.

2. “Fact Sheet: The Truth About the Health Care Bill” by Jane Hamsher

We spent more than a year writing about health care reform and it’s various, complex parts. From the individual mandate that forced Americans to purchase private insurance or face fines from the IRS, to the absence of drug reimportation controls that would make prescription drugs affordable to consumers in the US, there was a LOT of spin and misinformation swirling around the bill. Just a few days before the House vote, we put together a fact sheet called “The Truth About the Health Care Bill” that debunked the various myths surrounding the bill’s provisions. It was wildly popular at the time and continues to serve as an important resource that sheds light on what this bill actually means to the average American.

1. “Yes on Prop 19: Marijuana Legalization Gets its Number in California” by Michael Whitney

It might seem silly that a simple post announcing a ballot proposition number in California would be the most popular of our work in 2010. But when the announcement came that Californians would be deciding to legalize marijuana via Proposition 19 (incidentally, the same number used for the legalization initiative in 1972), the debate over the war on drugs was reignited and became one of the biggest stories of 2010. Michael’s post was the most highly-trafficked post on FDL in 2010!

Is there a particularly memorable post from 2010 that you think should have made the list? Share it with us in the comments!

And thank you all so much for reading and supporting Firedoglake this past year!

Just Say Now with Joe Rogan!

8:19 am in Just Say Now, Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

Just Say Now w/ Joe Rogan!

We received this picture over the weekend of Just Say Now supporter Alan posing with comedian and UFC host Joe Rogan!

We love getting pictures of you and your JSN gear in action. Don’t forget to send us your photos and check out our Flickr group below to see how others are showing their support.  . . . Read the rest of this entry →

It’s Easy to Spot a Just Say Now Supporter…

2:05 pm in Just Say Now by Brian Sonenstein

I just wanted to share this wonderful picture and brief story I received from one of our Just Say Now supporters today.

From Lynda in PA:

Here’s a photo taken yesterday at the Philadelphia Zoo.

After I walked through the entrance gate, I heard a voice calling, "Miss, miss, does that shirt say what I think?" I turned, she read the shirt, then embraced me. Her colleague ran up and did the same. I posed for pictures with both of them, then they took this shot of me. They now have the website address and may be ordering shirts for themselves. And I got thumbs up and smiles as I walked through the zoo. A great day!

We really love hearing from supporters like Lynda, so don’t be shy!

If you have pictures of your Just Say Now gear in action, send them our way or upload them to our Flickr group. You can also pick up this t-shirt and other really cool items like tote bags, stickers, coffee mugs and more at our brand new campaign store.

Check out these photos submitted to our Just Say Now Flickr page:

VIDEO: Stop the Madness! 80′s Anti-Drug Music Video with Whitney Houston, David Hasselhoff and More

11:39 am in Uncategorized by Brian Sonenstein

Happy Friday!

Here’s a blast from the past: an anti-drug music video from the mid-80′s, featuring New Edition, LaToya Jackson, (a very young) Whitney Houston, Nancy Reagan, David Hasselhoff, and more!

One has to wonder if any of these celebrities have changed their tune 25 years since the making of this video. Maybe, after witnessing two decades of the ‘madness’ that is our failed war on marijuana, they would consider joining our campaign instead…

h/t twolf!