Leaves of Marijuana

Leaves of Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on October 08, 2003 at 10:32:50 PT
By Christina Hall, Blade Staff Writer
Source: Toledo Blade
The Toledo police vice-narcotics Web page went to pot - literally. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws thought police were turning over a new leaf when it saw the pageís background filled with rows of pot leaves with the letters NORML under each leaf.The Washington-based group, dedicated to reforming marijuana laws, then realized it might have a bigger problem growing: the possible misuse of one of its logos.
"It truly was unique and caught our attention Friday afternoon," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the NORML Foundation. "The irony is just that great."Sgt. Raleigh Schneider of the policeís technical services section, which handles the policeís Web site that includes the Web page in question, was unaware of the background. He didnít know who selected it or why or how long it had been there. However, it was changed yesterday, and authorities are looking into what happened."Weíre trying to be deliberate on how it could have happened - a joke, a hacker, a person or company in charge that is a supporter of NORML," Mr. St. Pierre said.Another thought is that whoever designed the page was looking for a symbol on the Internet that was representative of drugs, one of the main areas the police unit targets.NORML was made aware of the Web page when it received a letter and $5 Friday from a man only known as Steve from Toledo. The writer apologized for not leaving his last name because he was too paranoid.Mr. St. Pierre said NORML contacted its attorneys in Ohio and originally was prepared to ask that the background be changed immediately or to ask the police whether they wanted to get permission to use the image through a contract.Mr. St. Pierre, who has been with NORML for 13 years, said he is unaware of any misuse of the logo by a government agency. While the symbol isnít a registered trademark, he said the police didnít get permission to use the groupís acronym with the marijuana leaf.He wasnít surprised when he learned the background was changed. "Some may think the page is supported by NORML or that NORML is in bed with Toledo police," Mr. St. Pierre said.City Safety Director Joe Walter said neither is true and was pleased to hear that the background was changed to blue and black. "I think itís a more appropriate background. With NORMLís logo, obviously it doesnít work for us," he said.Vice-narcotics Lt. Dan Schultz agreed and said the department will look into what happened to the Web page, which includes information about his unit, what it investigates, and statistics."No matter which side youíre on, youíll find it amusing," said Spiros Cocoves, a Toledo lawyer and member of NORMLís national legal committee.Complete Title: Leaves of Marijuana: Police Probe Alteration To Vice-Narcotics Web PageSource: Toledo Blade, The (OH) Author: Christina Hall, Blade Staff WriterPublished: Tuesday, October 7, 2003Copyright: 2003 The Blade Contact: letters Website: NORML -- NORML Archives
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