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Freedom Fighters of the Month - Mark Greer and Matt Elrod

Freedom Fighters of the Month - Mark Greer and Matt Elrod

Source: High Times (US)
Pubdate: Sep, 2000
Copyright: 2000 Trans-High Corporation, redistributed by MAP by permission

Author: Steven Wishnia

The top site bookmarked on my Web browser at HIGH TIMES is, the
DrugSense/Media Awareness Project's collection of over 37,000 drug- related
news articles. 

The MAP Inc Website is the most-surfed drug-policy site in the nation,
averaging over 70,000 hits a day last March and getting over 100,000 one
day April. 

According to a comparison, the DrugSense/MAP Websites are
more popular then those of the Drug Czar's Office, Partnership for a
Drug-Free America, CASA and DARE combined.  Last April, almost 8,000 other
sites had links to MAP.  Aside from news clips, which are also accessible on
lists "asset forfeiture" to "raves," the site offers guides to writing
letters to the editor, and contains links to over 75 pot and hemp sites, 83
general drug-policy reform sites and 20 prohibitionist groups. 

The site is the brainchild of Mark Greer, 52, a former computer salesmen
from Southern California.  Greer discovered the Internet in 1993, and hooked
up with the Drug Reform Coordination Network.  They originally collected
articles to help people write anti-Drug War letters to the editor.  But
Greer soon realized that the articles were worth archiving.  Today.  he says,
MAP has 400 to 500 "newshawks," almost all volunteers, sending in about
1,000 articles a month from the US, Canada, Western Europe and Australia. 
He's now trying to arrange translations of stories from Colombia and Mexico. 

Greer split from DRCNet in late 1994, establishing DrugSense as an umbrella
group to encompass other activities, primarily helping less technical
activists get access to the Web.  Webmaster Matt Elrod came aboard in 1995. 

Elrod is also Webmaster for Kevin Zeese's Common Sense for Drug Policy, and
has done computer work for the November Coalition, the Drug Policy
Foundation and the Vancouver Compassion Club, as well as offering free
"hand-holding and technical support" to scores of' other groups.  Sometimes,
he confesses, he feels "a bit of an armchair activist," working out of a
log house on B.C.'s [Vancouver] Island, a long way from the drug raids in the
ghettos or the Skid Row of Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. 

Still.  he contends, the Net is an invaluable information resource for
activists.  "We've won the internet battle, because we're not limited to
soundbites," he says, "in any debate, the prohibitionists are pounded into
the dust."

Greer echoed that theme at last May's DPF conference, noting that while MAP
offers links to prohibitionist Websites, the likes of DARE and the PDFA
don't reciprocate.  "Our secret weapon is accuracy," he said.  "We link to
them --- they don't link to us,"

"Out in the streets, I'd just be another body," Elrod concludes.  "We all
have to do our part, and this is the best way I can."