I’ll be on CNN in the 7pm ET hour talking about the Just Say Now campaign with Jessica Yellin — jh

In April we held a contest to name our campaign to end marijuana prohibition.  There were over 800 entries, with 15,000 people voting.  The winner  is CBl2 for her entry,  Just Say Now:

  • First place, CBL2:  Just Say Now
  • Second place, Molly J:  Campaign for Sensible Cannabis Reform
  • Third Place, Kelly Canfield:  Prohibition:  Stupid Then, Stupid Now

Today we’re proud to launch both the campaign and the official site:  JustSayNow.com.  It’s an archive of information on ending marijuana prohibition, a place where people can learn about ongoing efforts across the country. It has opportunities for getting involved, the latest news, and a really cool store.

We’re really excited to be joining together with Students for Sensible Drug Policy on this campaign.  The Executive Director of SSDP is Aaron Houston, who has been working on drug policy for years.  SSDP has chapters on 150 campuses across the country.  It is going to be a very interesting experiment to join FDL’s online organizing abilities with SSDP’s grassroots organizing strength.

Young votes are the key to ending prohibition.  There has been tremendous concern that Obama’s 2008 surge voters will just stay home in 2010, but as Ryan Grim reports in the Huffington Post this morning, recent polling indicates that young people are much more interested in voting if marijuana legalization is on the ballot:

Surge voters, single women under 40 and Hispanics all told America Votes pollsters that if a legalization measure were on the Colorado ballot, they’d be more likely to come out to vote. Forty-five percent of surge voters and 47 percent of single women said they’d be more interested in voting if the question was on the ballot. Most of these were energetic, with 36 and 30 percent, respectively, saying they’d be “much more interested” in coming out to vote.

While these have been key constituencies for Democrats in the past, as Russ Belville notes today, the Dems shouldn’t be counting their chickens. With Jerry Brown, Barbara Boxer, Barack Obama and Diane “Reefer Madness” Feinstein all opposed to marijuana legalization, that leaves the door open for the GOP to revitalize their “pale, stale and male” image by rallying around the issue:

If marijuana legalization in California passes by a wide margin and sees support from the women, minorities, and young people the GOP desperately needs to rebuild their party, how long before they begin framing the War on Drugs as the “big government”, “nanny state”, and “federal overreach” that it is? They’ve got revered conservative figures like William Buckley and Milton Friedman they can quote to bolster their position. They can easily point to the Democratic Congresses of the 1980s that created the mandatory minimums and the last three Democratic presidents who supported decriminalization and inhaled or didn’t inhale yet arrests kept increasing (at the greatest rate under Clinton, they’ll note).

It’s hard to see how the GOP quells the war between the social conservatives and the libertarians which would certainly erupt if they suddenly endorsed legalization. But with Ron Paul and Gary Johnson both considering 2012 presidential runs, and both strongly in favor of legalization, they are clearly eyeing young voters. A recent Rasmussen poll (yes, I know, Rasmussen) has Ron Paul 42-41 in a head-to-head matchup with Obama, with Ron Paul getting 41% of the 18-29 vote and Obama getting 42%. That same age group voted for Obama over McCain, 68% to 30%.

Those numbers would give anybody pause, but especially when you consider that marijuana legalization isn’t just some item on a long list of priorities for Obama voters. In three separate rounds of user voting on the official Obama Transition Team’s Web site, questions regarding marijuana were the top-voted questions by millions of his supporters after the 2008 election.

Congratulations to our contest winners. In addition to the prizes we announced earlier (a DVD of < High: The True Tale of American Marijuana and a copy of Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink), they will also get complimentary SWAG from our Just Say Now store.

We’ll be writing more about the campaign in the days to come, so stay tuned.  In the meantime, check out the Just Say Now website and let us know what you think.