Metro Must Accept Pro-Marijuana Ads

Metro Must Accept Pro-Marijuana Ads
Posted by CN Staff on January 27, 2005 at 22:19:20 PT
By Jim McElhatton, The Washington Times
Source: Washington Times
Metro officials must accept advertising that promotes the legalization of marijuana now that the Justice Department has opted not to defend the transit agency's ban on such ads.   Justice officials had until Wednesday to appeal a federal court decision that struck down a law recently passed in Congress stating that transit agencies would lose federal funding if they accepted ads advocating the legalization or medical use of such illicit drugs.
Metro has yet to receive pro-marijuana ads since the Justice Department's decision, but a spokesman said the agency would not reject such ads unless they "showcased profanity."   "The transit agency is not in the business of picking and choosing what can and cannot go up," Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.   The government "does not have a viable argument to advance in the statute's defense," acting Solicitor General Paul D. Clement said in a letter to Senate attorneys last month that explained his decision.   He said the law also could have banned transit agencies from posting ads with anti-drug messages and other public service announcements.   U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook, Oklahoma Republican, pushed for the law last year after Metro ran a series of ads by Change the Climate Inc., a Boston group that promotes the legalization of marijuana.   One ad touting marijuana legalization showed a young couple embracing, with the caption "Enjoy Better Sex!"   Mr. Istook had no comment Wednesday on the Justice Department's decision, a spokeswoman said.   D.C. Council member Jim Graham, who serves on the board of directors for Metro, said he agreed with the Justice Department's decision, though he did not care for the marijuana ads.   "I think that any decision that favors the First Amendment right to freedom of expression is a good one," said Mr. Graham, Ward 1 Democrat. "Some of these ads are hard to swallow, but what we're talking about is freedom of expression. And sometimes we just have to gulp."   The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the federal government last year when Metro rejected a Change the Climate ad with the headline "Marijuana Laws Waste Billions of Taxpayer Dollars to Lock Up Non-Violent Americans."   Metro officials cited the new federal law when rejecting the ad, saying the cash-strapped agency could not risk losing $170 million in federal subsidies.   Joseph White, executive director for Change the Climate, said the group has not ruled out another round of pro-marijuana ads for the Metro system.   "I expect that we will be launching a campaign when we decide where that would be most effective," he said. "It's a little too early to say right now."   ACLU officials were surprised yesterday but lauded the Justice Department's decision.   "It's very unusual," said Graham Boyd, director of the group's drug law reform project. "I think it is a surprisingly frank admission that the First Amendment requires an evenhanded treatment."   Anti-drug advocates were disappointed by the decision not to defend the case.   "It's very distressing news that it appears we're not fighting back on this," said Joyce Nalepka, president of the District-based Drug-Free Kids. "Washington, D.C., really needs to make a statement. There must be a way to stop these ads."   Source: Washington Times (DC)Author: Jim McElhatton, The Washington TimesPublished: January 27, 2005Copyright: 2005 News World Communications, Inc. Website: letters washingtontimes.comRelated Articles & Web Sites:ACLU The Climate Ads Loses Justice Department Support Department Refuses to Defend Congress Display Marijuana Policy Ads in D.C.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on January 28, 2005 at 07:06:26 PT
Excerpt from The Washington Post
Proposal In House Would Kill D.C. PanelBy Spencer S. Hsu, Washington Post Staff WriterFriday, January 28, 2005; Page B01 Norton greeted the proposed change as a boon. The District subcommittee predates the arrival of home rule in 1971. In recent years, the city has chafed as Congress has tried to undo the city's gun control laws and blocked its efforts to legalize marijuana for medical purposes and to prevent the spread of HIV by distributing free needles to drug addicts.Complete Article:
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Comment #7 posted by jose melendez on January 28, 2005 at 07:01:11 PT
Had Enough
Here is everything I can find on Washington, D.C.'s Initiative 59. United States District Judge Richard W. Roberts granted* plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment, and agreed that the Barr Amendment does not prevent the Board from computing and certifying the results of the referendum on Initiative 59. Judge Roberts ruled that the Defendant (District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics) is authorized to tabulate, announce and verify the results of the November 3, 1998 election on Initiative S9 (sic, should read Initiative 59). I know it was asked here in this forum whether medical marijuana is therefore legal in Washinton, D.C., and have been unable to determine this.* - - -See also:Election Results November 3, 1998 (scroll down to Washington, D.C.) I-59 -- The Washington D.C. Medical Marijuana Initiative District of Columbia 
BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND ETHICS --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
ELECTION RESULTS INITIATIVE MEASURE #59 "Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1998" The totals on this page are the complete election results which include Absentee and Special Ballots tabulated on Monday, September 20, 1999. Tuesday, September 21, 1999; Page A01Results Are Out: Marijuana Initiative Passes
Hill Republicans, Who Blocked D.C. Vote Tally, Vow Measure Won't Become Law Marijuana Vote Results Kept Secret D.C. Vote Disappears Washington, D.C., Votes For Medical Marijuana Use DEFENDANT BOARD OF ELECTIONS AND ETHICS’ RESPONSE TO PLAINTIFFS’MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENThttp:// Court Orders DC Medical Marijuana Vote Count Released 
And The Initiative Wins With 69%!
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Comment #6 posted by billos on January 28, 2005 at 06:09:01 PT
....Hey Istook....
put this in your pipe and smoke it. Moron.
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Comment #5 posted by Had Enough on January 28, 2005 at 05:06:21 PT
Making Statements
Washington, D.C., really needs to make a statement. There must be a way to stop these ads."I thought that DC already made a statement with a referendum a few years back, them came a lawmaker who had the results sealed.I’ve Had Enough, I’m sure you have too.
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Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on January 28, 2005 at 04:59:46 PT:
Oh, and Joyce?
I know you're reading this. Just as your friends in the ONDCP and the (ahem!)...'Justice'...Department do.There *is* a way to 'stop the ads' eliminating the necessity for them. And WE WON'T STOP until that happens.It must be very aggravating to know that this website outshines yours by at least a factor of 100,000 in numbers of daily hits. No exaggeration; look here for the stats: . The flat red line (how appropriate; 'flatline', get it?) is your site compared to this one. I know it must sting that since (Republican!) Maryland Governor Ehrlich passed the MMJ user's protections (and *very pointedly* wouldn't see you at the signing ceremony) you've been effectively sidelined. Maybe Mr. Istook would be willing to share his plate of crow? He should have plenty piled up right now.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on January 28, 2005 at 04:21:55 PT:
"Ketchup for your crow, Mr. Istook?"
Or maybe you'd prefer some A1? Better that than what would have happened in some countries I've lived in for trampling upon people's rights. There would have been protests in the streets, the cabinet forced to resign and a coalition government formed...and the perp would have been *lucky* to see the inside of a jail cell. Istook and cronies have no idea of how sweet they have it. Americans will put up with just about anything, anymore...
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on January 28, 2005 at 03:33:33 PT
What a Fanatic!!!
So, even after the court ruling, Joyce thinks that the Drug War trumps the US Constitution.
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Comment #1 posted by Ron Bennett on January 28, 2005 at 01:19:39 PT
Wonder how much it costs to advertise ...
I'm curious how much it costs to advertise on the back of a bus there? Perhaps I should call and find out LOL!Even better would be to buy an "ad wrap" (most of a bus painted/covered with an ad) - be cool to see a commuter bus driving around D.C. totally covered in pot leafs ...Ron
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