Ready Made Ads for the Legalization Effort

Common Sense For Drug Policy has a large selection of pro-marijuana print ads ready for publishing. These ads cover a broad spectrum of arguments and evidence supporting the legalization effort. If any of you would like to see one of these adds in your local paper I’m sure you could pay them to run it even though they are public service ads.They can be found at. has several radio ads available as public service broadcasts. Gary Johnson the former Governor of New Mexico and The Libertarian candidate for President speaks about medical marijuana. Judge Jim Gray of the California Supreme Court speaks about  how marijuana prohibition does harm to society and individuals. Montel Williams, Angel Raich and Tom Robbins give testimony about medical marijuana. There are a few  other commercials, one about a quiz show, another about government research showing that marijuana does not cause cancer and a woman explaining how she would rather the profits from her marijuana use go to our government instead of organized crime to fund schools and roads. Also featured are a myriad of videos and a television commercial titled (It Shouldn’t be a Crime)  as part of California’s Voter Education Project. and have their own Youtube channel and has audio podcasts available for your mobile devices. While I am sure I have just scratched the surface, of information and ads ready for broadcast or publishing, it is a place to start. I have a few ideas about commercials to put into video format but I am not there yet. These are ready to air products that we could put in front of our opposition now.

As I have discussed before I believe public opinion will play a large part in any consideration of the legalization of marijuana at the Federal level. The easiest and most effective way to accomplish that is through advertising, whether it is word of mouth, publications, people distributing flyers, or commercial advertising using television, internet and radio. Common Sense for Drug Policy and The Marijuana Policy Project run these ads as public service ads (not paid) and I would like to see them run more often and in more locations and seen by more people. The only way to accomplish that is to pay people to run the ads. I am not sure of the rules concerning paid advertisements from non-profit organizations trying to influence legislation, but some of the ads I have seen would be a great way to reach people who would not otherwise look at anything pro-marijuana. Most people don’t change the channel just because they hate the commercials so it would be a way to address people who have no interest in our movement and possibly change some minds. And as I mentioned before, advertising is expensive, but if we really want change, we are going to have to pry our wallets open and pay to have our voice heard. Please give generously and often to get these advertisements in front of the people who are opposed to marijuana or call your local newspaper and have them run it. Public opinion matters. The little bit of advertising I have done has already met resistance, with people refusing to run the ads, and I expect more resistance in the future. There are many who would silence our voice if they can and some even have federal funding, such as So when you call or write your Congressmen and Senators and President, you might ask that they quit funding advertisements in opposition to freedom and stick to honest education about all drugs including alcohol and legalize marijuana.

Randy Johnson

Marijuana Really Is Safer

Marijuana really is safer than alcohol or tobacco in almost all categories. In fact in my opinion marijuana is the safest recreational drug available anywhere. While I do not consider marijuana to be benign, I do believe it is safe to use casually. As with any drug, marijuana should be used in moderation and with caution. Driving or operating machinery should be avoided until a person knows how they are going to react under the influence of marijuana. I would not recommend smoking anything to anyone with respiratory problems although some studys claim marijuana may be beneficial for asthma. I would not recommend marijuana to anyone with psychological problems either.
Just because a substance alters our consciousness is not enough reason to say it is bad or harmful. And just because people use mind altering substances is not in itself irresponsible behavior.
People have been using alcohol for thousands of years, medicinally and for recreation as well, and yet it is tolerated by society to a large degree. While some people abuse alcohol and some are even driven to violence under its use, we as a society have chosen to live with those problems to retain the right to celebrate life with alcohol. It is the catalyst for social interaction for many, just a way to relax after a hard day for many more, it is used for celebration and to drown sorrow. For some it is also a sacrament. Whatever reason we choose to use alcohol, if it is used in moderation and responsibly, it is usually not a problem for the user or society. The same is true for marijuana. People use marijuana as a social catalyst, to relax and to celebrate and for the most part it causes no problems for the user or society.
The high feeling people get with alcohol and marijuana are very similar in that they often feel similar. But the medical or health effects are very different. Alcohol has a diminishing effect on our reaction and coordination, that is why people who overindulged often stumble and fall or slur their speech. When we drink alcohol our bodies process it in our livers where alcohol is metabolized into acetaldehyde which is carcinogenic and toxic. Our livers then convert acetaldehyde into acetate which is harmless at the rate of about 1 drink per hour. If we drink to fast or too much the liver gets behind and acetalehyde builds up in our system and causes damage. Alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant and can shut down the areas of the brian responsible for consciousness and breathing, making passing out and asphyxiation possible. This also makes it possible to overdose and die from excessive consumption. While this is uncommon even among binge drinkers, it does happen. The amount of alcohol needed for a lethal dose could easily be held in one hand. Marijuana on the other hand is not a central nervous system depressant and has no known lethal dose. It might make you pass out if used in excess but you would likely awaken latter feeling fine. Marijuana does not seem to be toxic to humans and the danger of COPD and Cancer have been largely discounted by Dr. Donald Tashkin in a 30 year study of marijuana and tobacco use on pulmonary function at the University of California. A study which indicates marijuana may even have some curative effect on certain types of cancer and tumors. In the same study tobacco was found to increase the chances of cancer and COPD. Marijuana does effect motor skills like alcohol but to a much smaller degree. Marijuana also leaves its user with an acute awareness of this diminished motor control and most marijuana users compensate for this by being more careful and slowing down. While I would not recommend driving under the influence of either drug, people who use alcohol tend to think they can drive just as well and tend to drive faster when under the influence, while people who drive under the influence of marijuana are aware of diminished ability and tend to slow down and be more cautious.
From I found this information
Marijuana – Driving – 4-28-12
(marijuana – driving) “There is considerable evidence from laboratory studies that cannabis (marijuana) impairs reaction time, attention, tracking, hand-eye coordination, and concentration, although not all of these impairments were equally detected by all studies (Couper & Logan, 2004a; Heishman, Stitzer, & Yingling, 1989; Gieringer, 1988; Moskowitz, 1985). In reviewing the literature on marijuana, Smiley (1998) concluded that marijuana impairs performance in divided attention tasks (i.e., a poorer performance on subsidiary tasks). Jones et al. (2003) adds that Smiley’s finding is relevant to the multitasking essence of driving, in particular by making marijuana impaired drivers perhaps less able to handle unexpected events. Interestingly, there is also evidence showing that, unlike alcohol, marijuana enhances rather than mitigates the individual’s perception of impairment (Lamers & Ramaekers, 1999; Robbe & O’Hanlon, 1993; Perez-Reyes, Hicks, Bumberry, Jeffcoat, & Cook, 1988). Robbe and O’Hanlon (1993) reported that in laboratory conditions, drivers under the influence of marijuana were aware of their impairment, which led them to decrease speed, avoid passing other vehicles, and reduce other risk-taking behaviors. Such was not the case with alcohol; for the authors reported that alcohol-impaired drivers were generally not aware of impairment, and therefore did not adjust their driving accordingly.”

Lacey, John H.; Kelley-Baker, Tara; Furr-Holden, Debra; Voas, Robert B.; Romano, Eduardo; Ramirez, Anthony; Brainard, Katharine; Moore, Christine; Torres, Pedro; and Berning, Amy , “2007 National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers,” Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (Calverton, MD: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, December 2009), p. 9.…

(1999 – causes of death – marijuana safety) “Indeed, epidemiological data indicate that in the general population marijuana use is not associated with increased mortality.”

Janet E. Joy, Stanley J. Watson, Jr., and John A Benson, Jr., “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base,” Division of Neuroscience and Behavioral Research, Institute of Medicine (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999), p. 109.

(1998 – causes of death – marijuana safety)
“3. The most obvious concern when dealing with drug safety is the possibility of lethal effects. Can the drug cause death?

“4. Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.

“5. This is a remarkable statement. First, the record on marijuana encompasses 5,000 years of human experience. Second, marijuana is now used daily by enormous numbers of people throughout the world. Estimates suggest that from twenty million to fifty million Americans routinely, albeit illegally, smoke marijuana without the benefit of direct medical supervision. Yet, despite this long history of use and the extraordinarily high numbers of social smokers, there are simply no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death.

“6. By contrast aspirin, a commonly used, over-the-counter medicine, causes hundreds of deaths each year.

“7. Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage fifty percent of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity. A number of researchers have attempted to determine marijuana’s LD-50 rating in test animals, without success. Simply stated, researchers have been unable to give animals enough marijuana to induce death.

“8. At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

“9. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity.”

US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, “In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition” (Docket #86-22), September 6, 1988, p. 56-57.

I really do not want to leave readers with the idea that I believe using marijuana is harmless. Marijuana like any drug should be used in moderation and within age appropriate guidelines. Control the drug, don’t let it control you. When used to the point where it diminishes social interaction or in any way keeps you from meeting your obligations to yourself or others, I would call abuse, and marijuana like any drug can be abused. The key to legalizing marijuana, is accepting the responsibility.

Please call or write to your Congressmen, Senators and President and ask them to end the war against marijuana.
Randy Johnson

Is Marijuana That Bad

The question that troubles me the most about the whole prohibition of marijuana thing is this, what is so terrible about using marijuana that society wants to ruin our lives? I’ve thought long and hard on this issue and I still come up empty-handed. Most of the people who use marijuana are just everyday people. We shop together, we eat together in restaurants, our kids go to school with your kids and some of us attend church. In fact it is very likely that someone you love may use marijuana. We see each other at games and movies and nobody seems to notice. Our lives are intertwined and the same things that are important in your lives are the same things that are important in ours. In essence we are just like the rest of society, struggling to pay our bills, trying to keep up with our children and handle the problems in our lives the best we can. The difference is we choose marijuana over alcohol. Is that really enough of a reason to cause us harm?
Please call your Congressmen, Senators and President and ask them to stop the war against marijuana.
Randy Johnson

My Spice For Life

I’m not trying to escape life or tune out. Marijuana is like a spice for life to me, like salt on beef or sugar in tea. I don’t smoke to become intoxicated, just to get that special feeling and enjoy my day. Not that the day would not be enjoyed anyway, I just like that feeling. I like the taste and the smell, and I like that it doesn’t make me feel bad the next day like alcohol. I also like that it doesn’t affect my reasoning like alcohol. I don’t believe it makes me stupid, although I do stupid things from time to time. The feeling associated with being high on marijuana is very much like the feeling of being high on alcohol. But that is where the similarities end. While I may be a little less coordinated when high, it would be impossible to smoke enough marijuana to prevent me from walking or performing other simple tasks, as long as I remained awake. Marijuana leaves you with a sense of diminished ability which you compensate for by being more careful or working harder. Marijuana is a very distracting drug and I believe that is why it makes us seem forgetful. All the different strains of marijuana produce a slightly different high. Some strains produce more of a body high and some more of a head high, some strains make you sleepy and some invigorate and some incapacitate. I enjoy doing routine tasks when I’m high such as cleaning the garage or working in the yard, camping, fishing, cooking, etc… I have heard several women tell me it makes housecleaning more enjoyable. I have read many reports about the health effects marijuana has on us and several studies have shown that marijuana use does not seem to increase mortality. I understand that is not definitive proof that marijuana is harmless and I am willing to accept that my health may be harmed by future or past use of marijuana. I don’t feel a need for marijuana in my life, I just like it.
My wife and I raised two children who are now honest hardworking men that are self-sufficient; they treat their wives well and are an asset to society. They respect the government, the rule of law and the rights of others. They are generous and helpful to others in need and kind in spirit. They also have accepted Jesus as their personal savior. I couldn’t be more proud of my children and I give all the credit to them. My wife and I tried to instill a strong moral compass in our children by being a good example, but they decided who and what they wanted to be.
I kept my marijuana use a secret from them when they were young because I didn’t want that to be part of their decision on who they wanted to be, but my discontent with America’s drug policies have always been the same. I don’t believe we deserve to have the power of the Federal Government used to try to ruin our lives. Please don’t hate me because I get high. I’m just trying to get through life just like you.
And from all of us that are closet pot smokers. We’re the people you see at soccer games and football games, the same people you see in the restaurants or at the beach, we go to movies and concerts, we fly kites and play with Frisbees. We like bowling and sports and enjoy other activities. Our children go to school with your children and some of us even go to church with you. Please stop the war against people who choose to use marijuana. We are not your enemies, we’re your neighbors, and with 20 million or so of us, it’s very likely that someone you love uses marijuana. Please call or write to your Congressmen, Senators and President and ask them to stop the war on marijuana.
Randy Johnson

Corruption and Lawlessness Are Epidemic

It seems as though corruption and lawlessness are epidemic. One cannot read or watch news on any given day without being confronted with the latest scandal from our governing officials or some supposedly innocent victim of violence either by the hand of our police or some crazed madman. Is it a lack of laws governing such errant behavior or do we as a society just choose not to obey the laws we have. An article at titled (America, The Law-crazed) by John Stossel, claims our prison population has tripled in the last few decades and that America has one of the highest per capita prison populations of any country in the world. Even regimes that Americans associate with being repressive have a lower per capita incarceration rate than America. For example China locks up 121 out of every 100,000 people and Russia 511 out of 100,000 people, while here in America that number is 730 people out of every 100,000 people.
Also in the article, according to the Congressional Research Service we have in excess of 160,000 pages of federal laws and are unable to count the laws currently on the federal books with hundreds of pages added weekly and countless more laws at the state and city levels. Any time a sensational crime is in the news our elected officials jump on it in an attempt to capitalize on the publicity and to appear active in fighting crime by demanding harsher penalties and mandatory minimum sentencing and even creating new laws where the existing laws seemed inadequate for the severity of the crime. We have gotten to the point where anyone could be charged with a crime at any given time. We are all criminals at one time or another whether it is from breaking a leash law or rolling through a stop sign. Yet I still believe most of us have respect for the law and wish to be good citizens and honestly care about truth and justice. But how can a nation that claims to be free continue to lock up such a large portion of its people.
In a fair and just society laws are designed to give guidance and set boundaries for people who have no respect for the rights of others or compassion for their fellow-man and to keep us from endangering or harming others. In essence laws should preserve the rights of the weak and poor from being violated by the rich and powerful. When people fail to consider the rights of others, society must act, not only to protect our rights as individuals, but also the order of society. We just can’t tolerate that the strongest person or the person with the most wealth or power should always get their way. Fairness and justice would be lost in such a society where the elite and powerful rule and laws are written to quell dissent and repress freedom or just to give the elite an advantage over the rest of us or when laws are written to control a certain group of people. Unless the law applies to everyone equally, justice is lost.
Early marijuana laws were passed by states to control a certain group of people. It started in the southern states where the Mexican population was migrating north looking for work and brought marijuana with them. As usual in any society, the new people are not readily accepted, sometimes because their customs seem strange to the native population or because they are of a different race. William Randolph Hurst promoted this racial propaganda campaign against marijuana and Mexicans extensively in his vast network of newspapers, not only using sensationalist stories about the horrors of marijuana to promote his racial hatred of the Mexicans, but also to sell more papers and protect his timber/paper empire from competition with hemp. In 1937 the Dupont Company patented a process to make plastics from oil and gas and a new sulfite/sulfate process for making paper from wood pulp. Also Dupont held a new patent for nylon which could be used as a substitute for cellulose fiber in the making of explosives. Hemp and hempseed oil were set to be major competitors to those processes. In fact Popular Mechanics ran an article in February of 1938 claiming hemp to be the new billion dollar crop but the article was written in the spring of 1937 before marijuana was officially banned by the Marijuana Tax Act. Harry J. Anslinger was instrumental in promoting early federal legislation against marijuana often addressing Congress with sensationalist horror stories from Hursts’ newspapers about crimes committed under the influence of marijuana. The misinformation and racial prejudice that William Randolph Hurst and Harry J. Anslinger promoted to further their agenda endure today in many of the same ways. People of color are still arrested and convicted at a much larger proportion than white people in the war against marijuana while people with money are more likely to be released or receive lighter punishments. Since 1960s and on to today young people have embraced marijuana use and have been met with the same kinds of sensational and often untrue allegations of the dangers of marijuana to justify and continue the war against marijuana. In opposition to current evidence on marijuana use, the Reefer Madness school of thought promoted by Hurst and Anslinger is still prevalent among a large portion of society.
A large percentage of our prison populations are there due to the war against marijuana. Even our President who claimed to be a frequent user of marijuana in his youth, at a 2004 appearance at Northwestern University stated “I think the war on drugs has been a failure, and I think we need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws”. In 2008 Obama told the Medford Tribune in Oregon “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try and circumvent state laws on this issue.” “I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that’s entirely appropriate.” It seems Obama’s previous words were just hollow rhetoric as in 2010 more than 850,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana with 88% being for possession alone. Roughly twice as many people are arrested for marijuana today than in the early 80’s although marijuana use is about the same and medical marijuana distributers are frequent targets of raids and property confiscation. I see no change in Federal policy concerning marijuana or medical marijuana. Regardless of empty rhetoric and broken promises, the war against Americans who use marijuana continues and our prison population keeps growing. Even though President Obama acknowledged that legalization is an entirely legitimate topic for debate, our government refuses to acknowledge current scientific evidence about the legitimacy of medical marijuana or evidence showing that marijuana is safer than alcohol when used recreationally. I just wonder who is pulling the strings in this puppet show.
Call or write your Congressmen and Senators and President Obama and tell them to stop this assault on our freedom. The corruption and lawlessness needs to stop at the top first.
Randy Johnson

To Be Free or Not To Be Free

When we discuss the legalization or even rescheduling of marijuana most people would consider that the only people who would benefit from it would be the marijuana users. However as I read news from many sources I find stories unrelated to the use of marijuana where our government at the national and local level has been increasingly passing laws and ordinances dictating our consumption of other things from cigarettes and alcohol to food items and portion size. I just read at MSN Healthy Living that Mayor Bloomberg is at it again, trying to lock up baby formula to promote breast-feeding. The question we need to ask as a society is “How much control do we want our government to have over us or do we want to control our government”.
Most would say some balance would be best and I agree. We need to, as a society, try to promote a healthy lifestyle because that is best for all of society, not just us as individuals. Laws against underage drinking and smoking are good for society and help to ensure that people reach the age of consent before choosing to consume things that may have serious effects on their health. Honest education about the effects unhealthy habits have on our health would likely reduce a lot of unhealthy habits and lifestyles in adults. But we also need to protect individual choice as that is the essence of our freedom. Our right to choose how we live our lives and what risks are acceptable to us as individuals should not be the decision of a politician or bureaucrat.
Many of the things we aspire to do put us at risk of damage to ourselves from injury or illness, such as riding bicycles or rock climbing or eating fast food or even just too much food. We all take risks every day and the decisions we make when we meet those risks define who we are. That is the essence of our freedom, to decide for ourselves what are acceptable risks for us as individuals. Should we cede those decisions to our government or retain that liberty. My thoughts are that if we allow the war against people who use marijuana and those who provide marijuana for the sick and dying to continue, we have given the government a green light to tell us what can or cannot consume.
As a society we must live with the consequences of our laws good and bad. The downside to prohibition is higher crime rates and diminished respect for the law and a reduction in freedom for all. While prohibition may reduce marijuana use to some degree, it does not eliminate it. Laws governing behavior that people believe are unjust will always be ignored. All that is accomplished is that the behavior is pushed out of sight giving the illusion of compliance. But we must address this as a society and suffer the consequences together good and bad. My vote will be on the side of freedom.
Randy Johnson