March 7, 2014 – California NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, has launched an advertising campaign in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s pronouncement on “Meet the Press” that “potheads” are unable to compete in the modern workforce, and that therefore he does not favor marijuana legalization in California.
“The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not twenty-four hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together,” Brown said on the March 2 edition of the NBC program, asking, “How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?”
In response, Bob “Adman” Bowerman of Sacramento NORML has produced a 60-second radio spot, and Cal NORML has produced a print ad / flyer highlighting accomplished people who smoked pot, either in their youth or throughout their lives, who have contributed greatly to our society. Among them are: Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Carl Sagan, Jennifer Aniston and President Barack Obama. The headline asks, “Who says ‘potheads’ aren’t productive?”
The ads conclude, “We need our leaders to face the reality: cannabis consumers are solid citizens and deserve equal rights. Let’s follow Colorado and Washington to legalization in California, and benefit from increased tax revenue and a workforce that’s judged by the quality of their work, not the contents of their urine.”
“Brown is relying on the notion that if we make marijuana legal, more people will smoke it. He assumes people will then all overuse it all their lives and forget to work,” said Cal NORML deputy director Ellen Komp. “He, and others, are forgetting that most who use marijuana recreationally do so mostly in their youth, or responsibly throughout their lives. By keeping it illegal, we are ruining potentially productive lives by arresting users.”
The ads dovetail with Cal NORML’s campaign against unwarranted drug testing in the workplace. “There is no good evidence that drug testing is needed to protect workplace safety or productivity,” says Cal NORML director Dale Gieringer. “Companies that drug test have only a piss-poor workforce.”
Other activist groups have also denounced Brown’s statements. “Governor Brown’s use of the word ‘potheads’ is both humiliating and insulting,” wrote Lanny Swerdlow of the Brownie Mary Democratic Club, who will be tabling at the Democratic Convention in LA this weekend. “His insinuation that marijuana use could lead to the decline of ‘a great state or a great nation’ indicates an acceptance of outmoded and false stereotypes that have been promulgated for the last seventy-seven years by those who have a vested financial self interest in keeping marijuana illegal.”
Supporters who are interested in donating to run the ads in major markets can write here.
LA Times: Why is Gov. Moonbeam so afraid of legalized marijuana?
Governor Brown’s Anti-Pot Remarks Not In Sync With Californians IVN Network, March 13
Lt. Gov. Newsom: It’s time for all of us to step up and lead once again in California just as we did in 1996 with medical marijuana.