The Hightower Report

The Government's Sick War on Marijuana; and Pumping Out More Advertising


THE GOVERNMENT'S SICK WAR ON MARIJUANA

Excuse me for a moment while I vent about the mind-boggling stupidity of the autocratic, bureaucratic, right-wing, Neanderthal numskulls who keep pushing an insane, inane, and inhumane holy war against marijuana – which is, after all, a weed.

The most embarrassing thing for these holy warriors is that the weed is winning! They've been at this war since 1937, spending billions and billions of our tax dollars, militarizing our borders, and stomping on our Bill of Rights. They've used phone taps, garbage searches, jackbooted raids, and draconian prison terms to ... well, to do what? To nab peaceful, mellow tokers who aren't bothering anyone, that's what.

Despite 60 years of spending our money, they've failed: 85% of Americans say marijuana is easy to obtain today, a third of our population says they've tried it, nearly 15 million people partake of it at least monthly – and more high school students now smoke marijuana than cigarettes!

Meanwhile, the holy warriors have become more fanatical and thuggish than ever. A marijuana arrest is made every 41 seconds in America – nine out of 10 of them for mere possession. In 2004, 772,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana charges – more than for all violent crimes combined.

Even sicker, the sanctimonious weed warriors have made it a crime for thousands of seriously sick people to get the medical benefits of using small amounts of doctor-prescribed marijuana. Weirdly, our doctors can prescribe cocaine for patients – but not marijuana. Worse, drug thugs from the DEA and FBI bust down the doors of these patients, seize their dosages ... and haul them to jail.

For information and action to stop this absurd war, call the Marijuana Policy Project: 202/462-5747.


PUMPING OUT MORE ADS

Corporate advertisers are concerned. Not concerned that they've so inundated our brains with so many ads that we now automatically tune them out. No, no, they're concerned that there are now certain moments in our lives when we hear no ads at all.

For example, pumping gas. We stand there with our hand on the hose while the tank is filling, and what are we doing? Probably thinking about our plans for the weekend, or thinking about how the greedheads of Big Oil are laughing at us as we pump out more windfall profits for them, or maybe not thinking at all – just letting our frazzled minds float for a few precious minutes.

What a waste, say advertisers, who've calculated that the average time spent pumping gas is four minutes. Multiply that by the millions of us who pump gas, then multiply that by two eyes and two ears for each gas pumper, and – well, the ad guys smell opportunity.

Sure enough, an outfit called Gas Station TV is leaping into this four-minute void in our lives. It's installing TV sets in the gas pumps of Murphy Oil, which runs the filling stations at Wal-Mart stores. ABC television will provide special programming for the four-minute pumping segment – and ABC will also sell the ads that'll be spaced into each segment. Already, such outfits as Pepsi, Goodyear, and Allstate have signed up.

Great. Now, instead of four minutes of blessed silence, we get to spend the time hearing a sales spiel from an insurance company.

By the way, you won't be able to switch off the TV, so they've got you captured. Not to worry though, the CEO of Gas Station TV says, "We will not overadvertise."

Hey, Knucklehead – the very presence of TV ads in a gas pump is overadvertising! And lest you think that these four minutes will be the only intrusion into your few moments of solitude, another company is installing TVs in supermarket checkout aisles.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

war on drugs, medical

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