Mason Tvert

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Indiana: Marijuana Legalization Ad Pulled At Alcohol-Soaked NASCAR Race

Alcohol vs Marijuana gif

Video ad on jumbotron at event sponsored by MillerCoors and Crown Royal informed fans that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior

Media company that solicited the ad from the Marijuana Policy Project, approved the ad content, and accepted payment for the ad is dropping it after receiving pressure from an organization that claims marijuana is not less harmful than alcohol

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A video ad that began airing Friday on a jumbotron outside the NASCAR Brickyard 400 is scheduled to be pulled at the insistence of an extremist anti-drug group, because it highlights the fact that marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol. The company dropping the ad, Grazie Media, solicited the ad from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), approved its content, and accepted payment for it.

The decision to pull the ad was announced in a press release distributed by Save Our Society From Drugs, which states the organization opposes the ad because of its message that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior.

"We find it odd that this company is willing to run ads at an alcohol-fueled event, yet unwilling to run an ad that simply highlights the ways in which marijuana is less harmful than alcohol," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Indiana: Marijuana Legalization Ad to Air at NASCAR Brickyard 400 This Weekend

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Video on jumbotron will inform fans that marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol; ad reminiscent of a beer commercial characterizes marijuana as a 'new beer' with 'no calories,' 'no hangovers,' and 'no violence' associated with its use

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

NASCAR fans attending this weekend's Brickyard 400 races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will be greeted by a video ad in support of making marijuana legal for adults. The ad, produced by the Marijuana Policy Project, is scheduled to air dozens of times from Friday through Sunday on the jumbotron at the entrance of the speedway, which will be "the epicenter of American stock car racing and North American sports car racing" this weekend, according to the event's website.

The ad, which is reminiscent of a beer commercial, highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol by characterizing marijuana a "new 'beer'" that is less harmful to the consumer and to society. It points out that marijuana has no calories, does not produce hangovers because it is less toxic, and does not contribute to the violent and reckless behavior frequently linked to alcohol use.

"Our goal is to make this weekend's event as educational as it will be enjoyable," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. "We simply want those adults who will be enjoying a beer or two at the race this weekend to think about the fact that marijuana is an objectively less harmful product.

U.S.: Conference of Mayors Tells Feds to Respect Local Marijuana Laws

SeattleMayorMikeMcGinnOnLegalMarijuana

Bipartisan Resolution Urges Obama to Stop Medical Marijuana Crackdown

Polls Show Majority Voter Support for Letting States Set Their Own Policies

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United States Conference of Mayors on Monday unanimously passed a resolution criticizing the failure of marijuana prohibition and urging the federal government to respect the ability of states and cities to implement policies like marijuana legalization and medical marijuana without interference.

"In November, voters in my city and state strongly approved a ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana," said Mayor Steve Hogan of Aurora, Colorado. "The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference.

"Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people," Mayor Hogan said.

Despite campaign pledges that "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue," President Obama's administration shuttered more state-legal medical marijuana providers in one term than were closed by federal authorities during the two terms of George W. Bush's presidency.

Texas: Group Hosts Conference Aimed Towards Ending Marijuana Prohibition

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, held its first ever conference in downtown Fort Worth over the weekend. DFW NORML shared the message that criminal penalties should be removed for private possession and use of cannabis by adults.

"We want to minimize abuse and prevent its availability to kids by implementing age controls," said attorney Keith Stroup, who founded NORML back in 1970, reports CBS DFW. Stroup was one of many speakers at the event which also featured local attorneys, activists, law enforcement officials and former California Superior Court Judge Jim Gray.

Speakers discussed the failure of the Drug War, the cost benefits of cannabis legalization, and the need for allowing compassionate care with medical marijuana.

"The idea that marijuana is a Schedule I drug, that it has no medicinal use, is ludicrous," said Judge Gray, citing drugs like Marinol, a synthetic form of THC created by the pharmaceutical industry and classified as a Schedule III drug, available by prescription.

Gray, who served on the Orange County Superior Court from 1989 to 2009 and spent most of his career dealing with drug-related issues, says he's never used an illegal drug. But he's an outspoken critic of the War On Drugs, and was also the Vice Presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party in the 2012 election.

Texas: Activists Say Lone Star State Moving Towards Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Optimism is a good thing, don't you think? Some activists say FBI crime statistics will help move Texas closer to legalizing marijuana.

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) points to new crime stats showing African Americans, while only making up about 12 percent of Texas' population, are arrested far more often than whites for marijuana possession, reports CBS DFW.

"There is no logical reason why law enforcement officials should be spending their time arresting and prosecuting adults simply for possessing a product that is objectively less harmful than alcohol," Tvert said.

"It is the 15th highest arrest rate and right now, black Americans are being arrested at more than twice the rate as white," Tvert said. "Communities of color are really facing the most enforcement despite the fact that they use marijuana at the same rate as whites."

Marijuana prohibition costs U.S. taxpayers $41.8 billion per year, according to the MPP. Tvert said law enforcement needs to prioritize its crime-fighting efforts.

"We are spending our law enforcement resources arresting adults for marijuana, when we could be using those resources to address serious crime," he said.

Colorado: Governor Signs Legislation Establishing Legal Marijuana Market For Adults

WelcomeToColoradoMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper on Tuesday signed historic measures to implement marijuana legalization, establishing the Mile High State as the first legal, regulated and taxed marijuana market for adults since the United Nations Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs took effect in 1961.

Hickenlooper vocally opposed cannabis legalization last fall when Amendment 64 was on the ballot, saying "Colorado is known for many great things; marijuana should not be one of them." But he signed the bills that will start development of a regulatory framework for the legal marijuana industry, as well as for the cultivation, distribution and processing of industrial hemp, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.

"Recreational marijuana really is new territory," Hickenlooper said at Tuesday's signing ceremony. He called the bills "common sense," despite his vocal opposition in the past to legalization, reports Kristin Wyatt of The Associated Press.

The governor's chief legal counsel, Jack Finlaw, said although the Hickenlooper administration was opposed to marijuana legalization, "the will of the voters needed to be implemented."

Colorado: Recreational marijuana measure to be put to voters

By Keith Coffman

There is a truth that must be heard! (Reuters) - Colorado voters will be asked to decide whether to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in a November ballot measure, setting up a potential showdown with the federal government over America's most commonly used illicit drug.

The measure, which would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults, is one of two that will go to voters in November after a Washington state initiative to legalize pot earned enough signatures last month to qualify for the ballot there.

"This could be a watershed year in the decades-long struggle to end marijuana prohibition in this country," Art Way, Colorado manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement. The Alliance supports the initiative.

"Marijuana prohibition is counterproductive to the health and public safety of our communities. It fuels a massive, increasingly brutal underground economy, wastes billions of dollars in scarce law enforcement resources, and makes criminals out of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens."

Colorado is one of 16 states and the nation's capital that already allow marijuana use for medical purposes even as cannabis remains classified as an illegal narcotic under federal law - and public opinion is sharply divided on the merits of full legalization.

United States: Marijuana legalization: Read eight initiatives filed for 2012 Colorado ballot consideration

By Michael Roberts, Westword

There is a truth that must be heard! Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente has been talking about a 2012 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana for adult use here since at least this November 2009 post.

But his effort to accomplish this feat is one step closer to reality now that he's submitted eight variations on a legalization measure to the state's title-setting review board. Read them below.

"They all have the same basic framework," says Vicente about the documents, which were filed last week. "Essentially, what we're looking to do is regulate marijuana sales in a similar way that alcohol is regulated statewide. That way, adults 21 and over can purchase marijuana in regulated, state-licensed businesses where they have to show an ID before it can be purchased."

Among the main selling points, he continues, is that "it would free up law enforcement resources for far more important purposes -- and it would also produce a fair amount of tax revenue for the state."

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