A few Thank Yous are in order…
by George Rohrbacher, NORML Board of Directors
NORML is the world’s oldest and most well-known marijuana law reform organization, a grassroots driven, non-profit providing credible and verifiable information needed by reformers, patients and consumers.
NORML is funded by thousands of small contributions from thousands of Big people.
The Genesis of this year’s ad contest
A year ago January, the very first NORML Internet ad ever created (above), resurfaced by chance on the Internet, and within a week, NORML gained tens of thousands of new friends on FaceBook!
About the same time, it became apparent on my calculator that by late 2008, America would make its 20-millionth marijuana arrest! If there was ever a number that screamed, “Enough!!”, 20-million marijuana arrests was it!!
As we designed a contest to publicize the 20-millionth marijuana arrest, many different volunteers shouldered the wheel to help us make this thing happen. NORML’s lead off contest graphic, “Marijuana Gothic”, featuring Sam Caldwell, the First Federal Marijuana Arrest, was work donated to NORML by the artist, as were all the primary graphics used throughout the rest of the NORML’s Ad Contest Campaign.
Next, I set out to raise the money to make the contest happen, the prize money that would inspire competition and quality, and the funding required to build the web capacity for NORML to even host the contest. First in was one of my oldest closest friends, a fellow farmer, who donated $3,000 to build NORML’s web hosting capacity. Next to donate, was my 85-year-old mother-in-law, who donated $5,000 for cash prizes for the video artists. Other friends and family kicked in the seed money to make the contest happen, and after much work by staff, NORML’s website finally posted the NORML Ad Contest in mid-summer. And then, we waited for the first entries to start coming in.
By mid-October, the economic events and the historic Presidential Election sucked the oxygen out of all other political discussions. NORML decided to extend our contest deadlines and expand our topic to include anything our incoming President needed to know about Pot, including the 20-million marijuana arrests. By the time our contest closed the in mid-January, well over a hundred high quality entries came in!!!
When we posted the top-25 entries on NORML’s website, the ads got over 350,000 views, and more than 6,000 people viewed the ads and then voted to help pick our winners.
Record-low advertising rates on cable TV gave us an unexpected opportunity for a national NORML Ad campaign, using our winning ads. When the contest winners were posted just a few weeks ago, almost $7,000 in contributions to run NORML ads on cable TV poured in within the first 48 hours, and mostly $10 and $20 at a time! About $11,000 is our total now.
Yes We Cannabis!
One of those contributions, for a $1,000 to help run the winning NORML ads on cable TV/Internet, came from an ordinary working person from the Pacific Northwest, who said in a note attached to the donation: “If every ‘closet cannabis user’ donated…the laws would be changed…I hope I can be an encouragement to others…WE are the stakeholders.”
Extraordinary times beget extraordinary courage and commitment. Together with NORML, you can end Marijuana Prohibition. Please help.