NORML’S Ad Contest Winners, Ready To Launch On Cable TV

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.”
Amen, Brother.
Extraordinary times beget extraordinary courage and commitment. Together with NORML, you can end Marijuana Prohibition. Please help.

0 thoughts

  1. I’m going to donate and buy some NORML gear as soon as I can find a job. I’m just a lowly college student with no money but I will help as soon as I can. Keep up the good work everyone!

  2. You should look into advertising on I really think this is the future of Television and you’d be reaching a core audience of young people who only use the internet for their entertainment needs.

  3. Just my 2 cents,I see that you have a goal of 20K but I think by the time you reach that it will be summer. I don’t know about everyone else but I watch a lot less tv when the weather is nice.I think if you could start the ads ASAP before people get spring fever. Thanks

  4. Hopefully the advertising will create a snowball effect on the reform movement. Let us know when,and where, the ads will run. LEGALIZE

  5. to poster #2… norml doesn’t really need to convince young people, so that’s a bad idea.

  6. Perhaps I missed it, but did anyone say when, where and on what channels those winning ads are ACTUALLY going to be aired??? I am behind this cause as much as anyone, and HAVE donated, but at some point talk must become action…

  7. I believe that reaching the 30-50 year olds would be more important in this fight then reaching young kids who already support marijuana reform. It lets them know that this is serious. You need to create talk, controversy thus free media and possibly enough spark for change.

  8. we just need that one state that ends prohibition, then more will follow. come on people, you can feel it, this IS our time!!!

  9. not to burst the bubble here, but what good is a TV ad that will be censored, removed, blocked, or refused by people who don’t agree with those who are pro-pot? I can tell you the TV stations here would refuse ten million just because they don’t want marijuana in the open.

  10. Hulu is definitely a way to reach and impact more people. Though I’m not sure the advertising costs on their “network” are within NORML’s means. It would be especially useful for getting the Gen Y range who are more than likely to miss an advertisement through normal advertising. (Or even some of us old timers who use a DVR and the like.)
    Useful commentary. Thank you norml.lee

  11. I’m glad to have been a supporter and someone who has donated to the cause these past few months. I will continue to donate as much as I can ASAP.

  12. I believe the tv networks and stations norml will be targeting will work great. I think using hulu to target young people wouldn’t help the cause much, because plenty young people are already pro-pot. There are many more older people that need convincing to help end prohibition, so advertisement’s on espn, news networks, etc are the best bet.

  13. We also need to target the food channel with ads haha, that’s the channel the potential stoners are probably watching the most.

  14. “Every generation thinks they invented sex” I don’t know if Mark Twain said that but it sounds like him. In 2009 marijuana is no longer a generation-gap issue. A few fun facts for kids, ugly reality for the rest of us.
    All those 20 yr olds you see on the videos of WOODSTOCK 1969 are now in their 60’s.
    If ” Dazed and Confused” is your favorite movie and “That 70’s Show” is your favorite TV show, your probably between the ages of 45 – 55.

  15. In the last 2 weeks a nutcase shot and killed a minister in church. In Alabama a creep committed suicide and took nine innocents with him ( by shooting them). A day or two ago some hood shot and killed four police officers. This kind of thing happens every day in the U.S. and yet the NRA does not flood the airwaves with logical or even emotional reasons to carry an anti-people weapon. No instead they monolithically vote against anyone who doesn’t tow their line. For them it’s a promise not a threat.
    This is why our government falls over itself to “protect” your right to punch holes in living bodies and at the same time “protect” you from that very ” dangerously addictive, even deadly, gateway, drug” marijuana.

  16. When I get some more money I will probably donate 10-20 bucks for the cause. However, when are you guys planning on running the ads and on what channels? Let us know because I really would love to see them on TV.
    Also what the other person said, Internet advertising, whether it be banners or videos on Hulu or streaming sites is also a very good idea.
    And to the person who said all networks will refuse to air the commercial. I bet Comedy Central wouldn’t, hell, G4 is having a 420 programming block all April 20th. It could happen.

  17. I anxiously await seeing my first end prohibition ad! I think once people start seeing them it WILL have a snow ball effect, more people will donate and legalization will happen! People believe in television so once it becomes accepted there it will become accepted everywhere and our fight will be over!

  18. Not sure if this is the answer to the questions of what channels the ads will appear on but go to:
    Is Marijuana Prohibition America’s ‘Berlin Wall’?
    March 1st, 2009 By: Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director
    Cable Cannabis Blitz-
    33,000, 30-second TV ads, broadcast 6AM-Midnight on cable packages during programming from ESPN, CNN, CNBC, Weather Channel, MSNBC, MTV, VH-1, BET, Animal Planet, E!, Bravo and 10 other major cable programmers for the cost of…$2,750…or approximately 8 cents/per ad! This ad package will reach an estimated 1.6 million households in 187 markets
    Women and Weed-
    Approximately 1,500, 30-second TV ads, targeting women’s programming (Oxygen, Soap, Lifetime, Style, WE, etc…) for $1,200. This ad package will reach an estimated 27.5 million households in 90 major markets. What is the cost per ad in this package?
    Men and Marijuana-
    Approximately 2,600, 30-second TV ads, 27.5 million households targeting men’s programming (Comedy Central, ESPN, Speed, Versus, Sci-Fi, Golf Channel, etc…) for $4,900, which boils down to $1.88/per ad.

  19. I gave at the door the first time around, and I will give the same again. If ever marijuana was more in the news — 13 legal medical states and growing,, Obama stopping medical raids, the new California Bill to legalize, on and on, — the time is ripe for change.
    California seems like a perfect start. But… how serious are people taking this that can change the laws? A joke from San Francisco. Really?
    TV support legitimizing cannabis as medicine and a safe alternative, could gain a larger mainstream. In other words it helps people come out. I would be surprised if NORML ads will be allowed to be run? The government has lied about pot, duh!
    Yet I’m sure this propaganda has some pot smokers scared. They don’t know about NORML and probably think they are doing something bad. So they are afraid to send money or could care less.
    But if you have a clue about cannabis as medicine, hemp industrial, seed oil, etc., hopefully you come to this site. Give now if you want legal cannabis movement to overwhelm outdated laws. Imagine if NORML TV ads also asked for donations? They could get many more who feel safe and relieved that they are not outcasts because they smoke cannabis. And this is helping our brothers!

  20. I believe Norml should use the ad money to target specific states and bills. Since Norml’s funds are limited, I feel they would be spent more wisely on getting marijuana legal in one state first, rather than tring nationally. Concentrate on California and Bill AB 390 or Oregon, Colorado; states most likly to legalize.

  21. I joined NORML, bought myself a “Freedom is NORML” shirt from the guys over at CafePress that I’m going to sport around my campus on 4/20, and donated $20 to the ad campaign today. Once I get my job back (or if the internship I applied for decides not to drug test me weekly) over the summer, I’ll be putting more in towards the cause.

  22. To me it seems entirely unacceptable
    to keep Cannabis illegal. We are
    only providing money to drug cartels via
    this policy, and filling our prison
    with, for the most part, non-violent drug
    offenders. One can say, but its “immoral”
    to use this substance. What is “immoral”
    anyhow. To me, using a gun or any of those human
    inventions based on violence is immoral.
    When a simple plant is used and extorted
    not only by the gov, and police, and the
    prison system that to me is “immoral”.

  23. from
    Cable Cannabis Blitz – 33,000, 30-second TV ads, broadcast 6AM-Midnight on cable packages during programming from ESPN, CNN, CNBC, Weather Channel, MSNBC, MTV, VH-1, BET, Animal Planet, E!, Bravo and 10 other major cable programmers. This ad package will reach an estimated 1.6 million households in 187 markets.
    Women and Weed – Approximately 1,500, 30-second TV ads, targeting women’s programming (Oxygen, Soap, Lifetime, Style, WE, etc.). This ad package will reach an estimated 27.5 million households in 90 major markets.
    Men and Marijuana – Approximately 2,600, 30-second TV ads, 27.5 million households targeting men’s programming (Comedy Central, ESPN, Speed, Versus, Sci-Fi, Golf Channel, etc…)

  24. I donated $35 yesterday and hope these ads get aired soon however I would like to see the amount donated so far to be updated once a day if not every hr. just so we know where we stand.
    The main reason is purely psycological.. most people dont like to be the first ones to donate in fact uite the opposite is true as people love to be one of the last few so that they can feel like they were the ones who got the job done…

    Americans will never conform to or respect a law born of racism, perpetuated by greed and supported by lies.
    Cherokee Fred Hussein Jesus

  26. It is very important for the movement to get these ads on tv as soon as possible. Since november it has been almost weekly good news. Every time I check, another state is introducing a bill to legalize medical marijuana or decriminalize recreational use. There is a lot of momentum building in our favor RIGHT NOW. We need to show people that this is a legitimate, mainstream cause that actually can succeed. Americans need to know that if they take action now, marijuana will be legal in their lifetime.
    Let’s give the movement even more publicity by getting it onto the airwaves. Unfortunately, a lot of pot smoking is out-of-sight, which also keeps it out of mind for many people. Putting it on television will keep the spotlight on marijuana, which is ALWAYS a good thing. The more people hear about it, the more normal it becomes. Plus, our side has logic and science to back us up.

  27. I’m with Da Vinci here. Let’s concentrate mostly on Bill AB 390 before attempting a national ad campaign. Run these ads furiously in California and MAKE SURE WE GET THAT BILL PASSED! This alone will cause a huge momentum shift, much more than national ads could ever cause.
    I don’t live in California, but I know that once one state shows that marijuana can be used responsibly and safely in society, there won’t be much of an argument that prohibitionists can make against legalizing it, ESPECIALLY if it helps with the economic situation. The biggest factor right now is the economy, and if it really does lift California enough in this recession, other states will be quick to do the same.
    I say not to bother with a national ad campaign until after Bill AB 390 is passed.

  28. Wait a minute, hasn’t the Norml position for years been that all those ONDCP ads didn’t deter pot use. My favorite was the one with the talking dog, got to get some the stuff that chick smoked. Point is instead of a bunch of cable ads preaching to the choir we could have a fun contest nominating the Drug War Criminal of the Year, or maybe we could call it the Bob Barr award.
    People on this page nominate members of Congress ( you know the guys who write the laws) and then vote 2 Drug War Criminal of the Year, in the spirit of bipartisinship one Democrat and one Republican would each be chosen. (inspired by Iowa’s own Senators Grassley and Harkin) Norml could then put all it’s energies into defeating the 2 winners re-election bids. If we were successfull how many members of Congress would fall over themselves to be tough on Pot.

  29. #27 Justice, I said that on comment #22. Geez …
    There are things happening in this country that are really beyond our grasp and available knowledge at this point in time. The oligarchy’s are shaking in their boots actually and it’s my belief that change, in all areas, will transpire quickly once true momentum catches a tail wind.
    NORML is doing a superb job, as best as can be expected at this point in time. Just wait until the adrenaline kicks in because people are starting to realize lies have abounded over prohibition.
    And there will always be those who bought the lies hook-line-and-sinker.
    Once the ball gets rolling and cannabis is truly restored in our society then we’re not done, we’ll need to intelligently shift some of our focus towards Re-Educating the easily led.

  30. i think airing tv commercials would really take a snowball effect because ive never heard about norml untill i saw their winning ad on you tube then i decided to check out their website i did make a donation so i hope its lagit look foward to seeing you on tv
    stop prohabition. see you on the natinal lawn in dc on 420

  31. I can smell the winds of change blowing… An admitted former pothead is in the White House (not Bill “I didn’t inhale” Clinton), 2 states are considering legalizing it, and we’re going to have TV ads on cable TV.
    This ad campaign will get people thinking “Hmmm, this stuff is on TV, maybe it’s not so bad after all”. And that’s the people who don’t smoke!
    Best wishes to NORML and this ad campaign. I’d donate if I had any money.

  32. Imagine …
    Imagine if 20 MILLION + regular recreational Marijuana users each decided to donate $10 to the pro-Marijuana cause of their choice, how much longer do you think prohibition would last?
    How many television ads would this amount of money buy? I’m willing to open my pocketbook and give a little of my “recreation” money to hasten the end of prohibition. I’ll not buy that next ounce of Trainwreck and give the money to NORML just to see that this happens. I’ll let NORML speak to millions of television viewers on my behalf.

  33. Some people say that pot is illegal, because of the children. But, wouldn’t having the state regulate and put age limits on it be a more effective way of keeping it out of their hands? As far as the effects, of alcohol, compared to marijuana, go, a good test, of that, might be to give a man one beer at a time, make him drive a car and take the P.S.A.T.s, then give him one hit of pot at a time, and make him do the same thing. But, statistics show that the number of alcohol related deaths, compared to the number to pot related deaths are something like a billion to none. So, I mean, the results are, already, in!

  34. I have donated a few times now but do you have to wait until the entire $20,000 has been raised to get this thing started!? I think the sooner the better to get some adds airing NOW.
    I got a bogus letter from William H. Hanes (director Florida office of drug control) on Governor Crist’s behalf, vomiting anti marijuana propaganda. Florida really needs support!

  35. Peaple wont to change the law but every one is so afaid that speaking up will get them busted… We need the air time to let the masses know that they are not alone. There is a way… NORML

  36. – – Aside from the Grand Prize Winning, “Yes We Can” video,
    I like the song-based ads best,
    and believe that music makes the message much more MEMORABLE.
    * * * MATH for STONERS * * *
    (…Seven-point-Six Billion Dollars spent on people just smoking some pot…)
    NORML Ad Contest WINNING video , (SHORTENED VERSION), by Nice Peter (pshukoff):
    (51sec, LYRICS for this version begin at THIRD section: *** )

    NORML Ad Contest video, (FULL-VERSION), by Nice Peter (pshukoff):
    (NOT ENTERED, but viewable HERE, 1m 38sec)

    Full NORML 2008 PSA Video-Song Lyrics By Peter Shukoff, aka Nice Peter
    My next door neighbor, Jim the barber, got arrested in Nineteen Eighty-Nine.
    He got caught with one pound of grass, and he did two years of hard time.
    He was released,
    He lost his shop, with a felony on his record.
    Now he lives on the streets in West Chicago,
    That’s the last that I heard, don’t you think it’s absurd?
    We gotta to stand together,
    (There’s a million “Jims” in jail for weed).
    Stand together,
    (Well I thought this was the Land of the Free).
    I know what you’re thinkin’,
    That we’ve got bigger fish to fry,
    Let me break down the MATH for you guys…
    There were Seven-Hundred Sixty-Five Thousand marijuana arrests in Two Thousand and Seven.
    That’s not for dealers and kingpins, no, that’s just for simple possesion.
    Multiply that by average cost of each arrest, and what have you got?
    Seven-point-Six Billion Dollars spent on people just smoking some pot.
    That’s enough money to buy health-insurance for every child that needs it,
    That’s enough cash to adopt every stray dog, and enough let over to feed it,
    Mister Obama, I kinda wrote this song for you.
    You got my vote for change, now let’s see what you can do.

  37. We are the MAJORITY! There are 20 Million regular cannabis users, and I would believe that is a very low estimation.
    If each of the 20 Million donated $10, how soon would Marijuana be legalized?
    In this Nation, and in this economy, money talks.

  38. I was born in the summer of love August, 1967. I am a product of that era and stand for the movement of peace, and prosperity, self exporation, and freedom. For at least 18 years we have seen adds against marijuana and switching it us is a good thing. We will feel some heat from the right wing so called ritchous folk. I am a christian and feel that in order to be christian you must accept all. Telling people they will go to hell for this or that is up to god and not me. I say it is time to run the pro marijuana adds.

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