Yesterday, FDL announced online and on CNN that we’re joining with Students for Sensible Drug Policy to launch the Just Say Now Campaign to end marijuana prohibition.

The objectives of the campaign are:

  • Organize transpartisan support for ending marijuana prohibition across the country by combining the online organizing efforts of Firedoglake, which has 100,000 readers a day, with the grassroots organizing abilities of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, with chapters at 150 campuses across the country.
  • Turn out voters to support marijuana initiatives on the 2010 ballot in Arizona, Oregon, California, Colorado and South Dakota.
  • Work to get marijuana initiatives on the ballot in multiple states in 2012, with an emphasis on presidential battleground states, to encourage a national conversation about marijuana policy during the next election.
  • Inform the conversation around ending prohibition and educate the public about the true state of our antiquated drug policy
  • Encourage government at all levels to adopt more sane, pragmatic and reasonable policy regarding marijuana.

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 American economy. Americans consume 113 billion dollars worth of marijuana each year, and the US government estimates that 50% of it is coming from foreign sources. The money that is going to wage a pointless and failed war on drugs has many better uses.

With that in mind, the Just Say Now campaign 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.

In addition to being promoted on the Just Say Now website, the petition will be circulated virtually by Firedoglake to those on its email list as well as its readers, and Students for Sensible Drug Policy will be doing the same thing physically through their chapters at 150 campuses across the country.

People can learn more on the Just Say Now Campaign website, which will serve as an archive of information on ending marijuana prohibition. It’s a place where people can learn about ongoing efforts across the country, opportunities for getting involved, and the latest news.

We will also be launching an online phone banking effort in the coming weeks, where people can call and help identify supporters in states where marijuana legislation is going to be on the ballot in 2010: Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and South Dakota. More about these initiatives can be found here on the Just Say Now Website.

The information gathered will be used to help turn out voters in these states in the November election.

The Just Say Now campaign advisory board is comprised of people 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.

To learn more information, or to schedule a booking in your area go to the Media page of the Just Say Now website.

You can make a donation to the campaign here, and purchase Just Say Now logo items in the store. All proceeds will be used to support campaign organizing efforts on campuses and online to end marijuana prohibition.

Advisory Board Members
Bruce Fein

Bruce Fein was Associate Deputy Attorney General and General Counsel to the Federal Communications Commission under President Reagan and is the author of The American Empire: Before the Fall. He writes weekly columns for The Washington Times and Politico.com, and is frequently quoted in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Newsweek, and other major national publications.

Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald was a constitutional law and civil rights litigator and is currently a contributing writer at Salon.com. He has also contributed to other newspapers and political news magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The American Conservative, The National Interest, and In These Times. He is the author of two New York Times bestselling books: How Would a Patriot Act (a critique of Bush executive power theories) and A Tragic Legacy (examining the Bush legacy). In 2008, he authored a study, commissioned by the Cato Institute, on the implications of Portugal’s 2001 law decriminalizing all drugs. He writes a regular column at Salon.com.

Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher is the founder and publisher of Firedoglake.com, a leading progressive blog. Her work has also appeared on The Daily Beast, The Huffington Post, AlterNet, The Nation, and The American Prospect. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, Al Jazeera, PBS, and the BBC. She is the author of the best-selling book Killer Instinct, and she has produced such films “Natural Born Killers” and “Permanent Midnight.”

Aaron Houston

Aaron Houston is the executive director of Students for Sensible Drug Policy. His notoriety in DC can be measured by his many television appearances, including a universally coveted guest spot on “The Colbert Report.” In addition to his work in drug policy, Aaron has experience in student organizing, serving as the executive director for the Colorado Student Association in Denver.

Neill Franklin

Neill Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a 33-year police veteran who led multi-jurisdictional anti-narcotics task forces for the Maryland State Police and ran training for the Baltimore Police Department. After seeing several of his law enforcement friends killed in the line of fire while enforcing drug policies, Neill knew that he needed to work to change these laws that cause so much harm but do nothing to reduce drug use.

Michael Ostrolenk

Michael co-founded and is National Director of the Liberty Coalition, a transpartisan coalition of groups working to protect civil liberties, privacy and human autonomy (2005- present). He is presently the coalition coordinator and public policy counsel for the Campaign for Liberty working on transparency and open government issues. He also sits on the Steering Committee for Openthegovernment.org. Michael is the Executive Director of the Transpartisan Center in Washington DC. He served as President of Reuniting America (2007-2008) as well as Co-Director (2006-2007). He is also a founding member of the Integral Institute.He has written for a wide variety of publications ranging from USA Today to The American Conservative Magazine and speaks frequently about health-care and national security related issues.

Eric Sterling

Eric E. Sterling is the President of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, a private non-profit educational organization that helps educate the nation about criminal justice problems. He helped found a number of drug policy organizations, including the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative, the Voluntary Committee of Lawyers, and Forfeiture Endangers American Rights. As a former Assistant Counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee (1979-1989), Mr. Sterling was responsible for writing federal drug laws.  He has debated U.S. Senator Joseph Biden, Jr.(D-DE), then-chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee; former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese III; and other officials about the “War on Drugs.” In 1999 he was honored with the Justice Gerald LeDain Award for Achievement in the Field of Law by the Drug Policy Foundation. Mr. Sterling has also served as an adjunct lecturer on criminal justice, sociology, and drug policy at George Washington University and American University.

Danny Goldberg

Danny Goldberg is president of Gold Village Entertainment, a management company in the music business whose clients include Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, The Cranberries, The Hives, Peaches and Tom Morello. He is author of the books Bumping Into Geniuses and How The Left Lost Teen Spirit, and serves on the Boards of The Nation Institute, Brave New Films, the ACLU Foundation of Southern California, Americans for Peace Now, and is Chair of the Board of the American Symphony Orchestra.

Bill Adler

Bill Adler has devoted the last 25 years to a career in hiphop during which he’s worked as a journalist, critic, publicist, biographer, archivist, label executive, curator, editor, film documentarian, and teacher. As Director of Publicity for Rush Artist Management and Def Jam Recordings he worked with Kurtis Blow, Whodini, Run-DMC, Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde, the Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Slick Rick, Public Enemy, Eric B & Rakim, Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince, Big Daddy Kane, EPMD, Stetsasonic, De La Soul, the Jungle Brothers, 3rd Bass, and others.

Dr. Joe McSherry

Joseph McSherry, MD, PhD, is a professor and neurologist at the University of Vermont, College of Medicine. Dr. McSherry has advocated for and served on various advisory panels to the Vermont Legislature regarding Medical Cannabis since 1980. He also serves as the specialty representative for Neurology/Neurosurgery in the Vermont Medical Society. He has lectured on Cannabis and Pain and Cannabis and Cancer at the College of Medicine and commented on journal articles on marijuana, including a 2005 article on applications for Parkinson’s disease in the journal Neurology. He has also advocated for Medical Cannabis for the New Hampshire Legislature and the Iowa Board of Pharmacy. His friends at Just Say Now simply call him “Dr. Joe.”
Scott Morgan

Scott Morgan is associate editor of StoptheDrugWar.org, one of the web’s leading resources for drug policy reform advocacy. Scott serves as the primary contributor to the organization’s popular Speakeasy Blog and his analysis of marijuana and other drug policy issues has been cited in many of the internet’s most popular websites. Scott is also associate director of Flex Your Rights, where he develops and produces innovative know-your-rights educational media. In this capacity, he served as the co-writer and co-executive producer of the highly-acclaimed new film, “10 Rules for Dealing with Police.”

Norm Stamper

Norm Stamper, Ph.D., was a police officer for 34 years. He served as chief of the Seattle Police Department from 1994 to 2000. “The major police corruption scandals of the last several decades have had their roots in drug enforcement.” As a cop dedicated to protect and serve, Norm believes the war on drugs has done exactly the opposite for people. He explains that statement in his new book, Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Exposé of the Dark Side of American Policing.