People often e-mail me, asking, "What can I do to help?" I have not had a very clear answeruntil now, thanks to the prompting of our very own Drug Czar.
Barry McCaffrey announced on June 12, 1998, his plan for drug warriors to dominate the Internet by adding a massive number of web sites, all spewing the party line that "marijuana is not a medicine," "marijuana is more harmful that alcohol or tobacco," "we can have a drug-free America," and "we re doing all this for the children."
One of the federal governments four Internet goals announced by McCaffrey is "Reach target audiences through as many sites as possible." This plan is not just a random trickle in the War on Drugs, but its new Drug War main stream. "As stated in the U.S. 1998 National Drug Control Strategy," McCaffrey said before the United Nations, "our principal drug-control goal is to educate our sixty eight [sic] million children about illegal drugs and enable them to reject such drugs."
The four avenues McCaffrey outlined: advertising (spending $1 billion in tax dollars on ads over the next five years), making nice with the entertainment media "Involve industry leaders and creators of entertainment programming," "build and maintain ongoing relationships with regional, national, and international media developing the news," and the Internet.
How many sites could "as many sites as possible" be? Lets consider the potential. With sites selling for, say, $100 per year and the federal government spending $17 billion a year on drug control, thats a potential 170 million sites. If the states throw in their 17 billion Drug War dollars, thats 340 million sites. This is the extreme, of course. Most of the $34 billion gets spent on locking people up, and theyre not about to stop doing that. But even if they spend only $1 billion on it, as they are with the advertising prong of the agenda, thats still 10 million sites. Imagine looking up "MEDICAL MARIJUANA" or "DRUGS" on the Internet and having to wade through the static of 10 million deceptive sites.
We must respond (and the word is respondwere not starting this) with as many separate sites about drug reform as possible.
If you want to do something, please start a separate homepage devoted to drug reform. Whether your personal cause is medical marijuana, the reform of marijuana laws, or bringing peace to the entire War on Drugs, please establish a separate site based on your beliefs. Start with your personal statement on the subject. Then link to all the drug reform sites you find to be truthful and informative.
This is not a battle of us vs. them. It is a battle of truth vs. lies.
(McCaffreys complete Internet plan follows this letter. His full speech is at: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/news/speeches/ungass2.html )
Other important activities, I think, include writing letters to editors, educating reporters who repeat Drug War propaganda verbatim (most can be reached by phone), and calling into radio and television talk shows.
Communicating with people one-on-one, the people with whom we share our lives, is essential. Once one sees the lightthat the biggest problem is prohibition, not drugsits hard to turn back. We need more lights lit, and thats best done one at a time.
Finally, if you can afford it, donate money. McCaffrey testified before Congress on June 18, 1998: "There is a carefully camouflaged, exorbitantly funded, well-heeled elitist group whose ultimate goal is to legalize drug use in the United States."
The drug reform movement, and the medical marijuana moment in particular, is horrendously underfunded. Unlike the federal government that has unlimited funding and no workable ideas, the reform movement has lots of workable ideas, but little funding to implement them. Every dollar donated to a drug reform group or to a defense fund is an investment in our freedom. I know that sounds like a U.S. Savings Bonds commercial, but its true. We sometimes forget what freedom costs. Thomas Jefferson laid it out at the close of the Declaration of Independence: "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor."
Who can follow Jefferson?
Take good care.
MCCAFREYS "INTERNET" PLANS, JUNE 12, 1998, BEFORE THE UNITED NATION:
During the past five years, the use of Internet and other new interactive media has grown at a tremendous rate. For many of us, the Internet has become an important source of information and entertainment. It can be an effective way to reach target audiences, and information retrieval by users can be measured in unprecedented ways. It also provides a powerful tool for coordinating activity and building collaboration. As many as eighty million Americans are likely to be "on line" by the end of this year; approximately half will use the Internet daily. Similarly, more than a third of adolescents currently use on-line services while 90 percent will have Internet access through schools by 1999. ONDCP's has four principles for dealing with interactive media.
Generate Web information with which young people will interact. Recognize that young people use the Internet as a "social medium." Offer transactional opportunities to users who are frequently in the "action mode" when on-line. Reach target audiences through as many sites as possible. Extend the reach of the campaign beyond advertising by integrating mainstream youth Web sites and other digital media such as CD-ROM.
Full speech at: