NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- February 13, 2003

NORML's Weekly News Bulletin -- February 13, 2003
Posted by CN Staff on February 14, 2003 at 09:30:43 PT
Press Release
Source: NORML
 White House Anti-Drug Ads Foster “Pro-Drug” Beliefs In Teens, Federal Review Finds February 13, 2003 - Washington, DC, USA"Little Evidence" That Post-September 11 Ads Linking Drug Use To Terrorism Are Having Any Favorable Impact On YouthWashington, DC: Federal anti-drug ads released after September 11, 2001 alleging that recreational drug use aids terrorism fail to discourage viewers from trying marijuana and other drugs, and may actually increase use among teens, according to an evaluation released last month by Westat Inc. and the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania for the US National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
The review found "little evidence" that the White House's Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, which recently spent more than than $4 million dollars to air a pair of anti-drug public service announcements (PSAs) during January's Super Bowl broadcast, is having any favorable effects on youth's attitudes toward marijuana or other drugs."There is no statistically significant decline in marijuana use to date, and some evidence for an increase in use from 2000 to 2001," authors determined. "Nor are there improvements in beliefs and attitudes about marijuana use between 2000 and the first half of 2002. Contrarily, there are some unfavorable trends in youth anti-marijuana beliefs."For example, authors noted, "Those who were more exposed to the Campaign (from November 1999 to January 2001) tended to move more markedly in a 'pro-drug' direction as they aged than those who were exposed less."The Westat and Annenberg review is their second straight evaluation criticizing the White House ad campaign. A previous review released last spring reported similar results, which prompted Drug Czar John Walters to modify the ad campaign to focus primarily on marijuana and the alleged link between illicit drugs and terrorism. Last June, Walters promised members of the US Senate that he could turn the ad campaign around by the fall of 2002. "I'm willing to live by the results [of the] fall (2002) and spring (2003)," he said.NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said that despite Walters' promises, the White House ad campaign continues to have the opposite effect on teens than the one lawmakers intended. "This is a colossal waste of taxpayer's dollars," Stroup said, noting that the ad campaign costs an estimated $195 million per year. "The more often teens see these ads, the less likely they are to say no to marijuana and other drugs. Clearly, teens are dismissing these ads and their message as nothing more than government propaganda."He added, "NORML believes there is nothing to be gained by exaggerating marijuana's harmfulness. On the contrary, by overstating marijuana's potential harm, our policy-makers undermine their credibility, and their ability to effectively educate the public of the legitimate harms associated with more dangerous drugs."For more information, please contact either Keith Stroup or Paul Armentano of NORML at (202) 483-5500. The Westat and Annenberg report, "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: Fifth Semi-Annual Report of Findings," is available online -- Love Getting Really Smashed . . . and Twins! House Launches Super Bowl Anti-Drug Ads Smoke And Mirrors Cloud 2003 White House Anti-Drug Budget February 13, 2003 - Washington, DC, USAWashington, DC: Revised budget numbers released this week for the Bush Administration's 2003 "National Drug Control Strategy" are not what they seem, according to an analysis by Common Sense for Drug Policy and the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). Both groups note that this year's budget deliberately conceals billions of dollars in law enforcement spending, while inflating expenditures on treatment services.In 2002, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced, "The Administration will develop a new methodology for reporting the drug budget." As a result of this restructuring, this year's reported total budgetary expenditures total less than $12 billion dollars – far less than last year's record $19.2 billion budget. Nevertheless, ONDCP annual spending and priorities are little different than in years past."An analysis of the new budget numbers revealed that by hiding the costs of incarceration, military activities and other known costs of the drug war, the Office of National Drug Policy Control was able to bring their enforcement to treatment levels more into line with public sentiment," the DPA. The DPA further found that the ONDCP is inflating their spending on drug treatment programs by including funding for alcohol treatment, "which by law is specifically excluded from their scope of responsibilities."Among drug-war related costs dropped from this year's budget is approximately $3 billion in funding associated with the incarceration of federal drug prisoners. The ONDCP claims that these costs have been excluded from the budget "based on the criterion that they are associated with the secondary consequences of the government's primary drug law enforcement and investigative activities."NORML Foundation Executive Director Allen St. Pierre accused the White House of "hiding the ball" when it came to estimating the true cost of the government's war on drugs. "The ONDCP recognizes that they no longer enjoy the public’s trust and are incapable of crafting a functional drug policy that Americans support," he said. "As a result, they are now trying to conceal from taxpayers the true financial burden of their failed policies."For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre or Paul Armentano of The NORML Foundation at (202) 483-8751. An analysis of the ONDCP budget by Common Sense for Drug Policy -- -- is available online.DL: To Extend Drug Treatment, Target Traffickers Saturday Kicks Off First Ever National Medical Marijuana Week February 13, 2003 - Oakland, CA, USAOakland, CA: Drug law reformers across the nation will hold a "National Day of Action" in support of medical marijuana law reform on Saturday, February 15. Educational and direct action events to raise awareness of the use of marijuana as a medicine will continue all week, including nationwide protests on Tuesday, February 18, at regional Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) offices.For more information on "Medical Marijuana Week" and events, please visit the Americans for Safe Access -- -- (ASA) website.DL: Marijuana Awareness Week Pot Activists Plan Week of Events NORML Foundation (DC)Published: February 13, 2003 Copyright: 2003 NORML Contact: norml Website:'s Weekly News Bulletin - Feb. 6, 2003 -- NORML Archives
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on February 14, 2003 at 23:00:22 PT:
Deep Spirit & Great Heart
"What is it about marijuana that, on the one hand, serves up so much fear and anger among its denouncers, the proponents of reefer madness, and on the other hand, so much passion, commitment among its users?"Louis Silverstein,Ph.D. Dept. of Liberal Education, Columbia College Chicago, talks about his new book: 
Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living In Marijuana Consciousness destruction or ego transcendence, that is the question.
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Comment #1 posted by lag on February 14, 2003 at 15:21:44 PT
damn...our government must be learning something 
...from the entertainment industry. The same industry that is trying to tell Stan Lee that Spiderman made no profits, even though it was the highest grossing movie last year.I guess it's true that numbers don't lie...just the people that put them together.Ugh!
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