Marijuana Prohibition Video Worthy Of Virality

A few years ago NORML sponsored a contest for the best short video clip in support of cannabis legalization. The time limit for the submitted cartoons and videos was 30 seconds. However, a gentleman submitted a unique and highly allegorical video entitled ‘The Flower’ that ran nearly 3 minutes long, which disqualified it from consideration. Over the ensuing months the artist contacted NORML a number of times with amended versions, never quite right with the narrative or pacing of the story he was trying to tell.

No more.

He’s nailed it and we’re all the better for it.

105 thoughts

  1. The Drug Warriors’ biggest argument against medical marijuana is that it’s only the opening wedge in a movement toward total legalization of drugs. So, supposedly, we have to “nip it in the bud” – in the words of Deputy Barney Fife, the nation’s first Drug Czar.
    What if the Drug Warriors are right?
    What if legalizing medical marijuana turned out to be the first step on a journey that ended in the outright repeal of every drug law? What would America be like?
    Understandably, many Americans fear that with no drug laws, we would have hundreds of thousands of addicts, crack babies, children trying drugs, and other evils. But that’s what we have now.
    Let’s assume the worst
    If all drugs were legal, addicts would no longer pay black-market prices to criminals for drugs of questionable and dangerous origin. They would get drugs produced by legitimate pharmaceutical companies and pay market prices. They would no longer die from buying toxic drugs, and they would no longer have to mug innocent people to support their habits.
    If all drugs were legal, addicts could seek help by going to doctors – no longer afraid of being prosecuted for their medical problems.
    If all drugs were legal, criminal drug dealers would no longer be on our streets. They couldn’t compete with the low, free-market prices for drugs sold at pharmacies.
    If all drugs were legal, criminal drug dealers would no longer prey upon our children – any more than distilleries and breweries try to infiltrate schools to hook kids on alcohol. When I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the worst schools were safer than L.A.’s best schools are today.
    If all drugs were legal, our government would no longer be dispensing propaganda that makes children want to try the forbidden fruit.
    Reducing street violence
    If all drugs were legal, our prisons would be emptied of hundreds of thousands of non-violent people who have never done harm to anyone else. No longer would over-crowded prisons cause truly violent criminals to be free on early release and plea bargains to terrorize the rest of us.
    If all drugs were legal, law-enforcement resources would be available to fight violent crime, instead of being used to chase people who may harm themselves but are no threat to us.
    If all drugs were legal, much of the street violence would end – as it did when Alcohol Prohibition ended – because gangs of thugs would no longer be fighting over drug territories.
    If all drugs were legal, police corruption would diminish, because criminals could no longer use black-market drug money to gain immunity by subverting weak policemen.
    If all drugs were legal, the government could no longer use the Drug War as an excuse to tear up the Bill of Rights and pry into your bank account, strip-search you at an airport, tear your car apart, monitor your e-mail, or seize your property without even charging you with a crime.
    Why do we know this?
    Why do I think America would be like this if all drugs were legal?
    Because that’s the way it was before the drug laws were passed. Yes, there were people whose lives were destroyed by drugs then – just as some people today destroy their lives with drugs, alcohol, financial mistakes, or various character weaknesses – but far fewer people lost their lives to drugs when they were legal.
    And America’s streets were peaceful.
    Has America changed since then? Of course it has. But cause-and-effect relationships don’t change. Force still begets force. Government programs still lead to unintended and destructive consequences.
    Re-legalizing drugs would put a stop to those destructive consequences – end the criminal black market, end the violence, end the incentive to hook children, and end the production of toxic drugs that kill people.
    We have to quit being afraid of the unknown, and instead recognize what we do know – that the Drug War is doing enormous harm to society.
    If we care about our children, if we care about our cities, if we care about our country, we have to end the insane War on Drugs.

  2. The War On Cannabis Consumers.

    I’m One of the Peaceful Flower Smokers!

    Peace 2 U All!

  3. please have this on a commercial . how much money do u guys needs to run this on the air across the united states?

    [Russ responds: Let’s see, three minutes of air time on commercial broadcast networks, and/or basic cable outlets, during times of day that would get significant coverage… hmmm, carry the two and multiply by seven… My rough figures say $32,767,481.51, give or take a mil or two. We’ll gladly take your check or credit card donation toward that goal.

    Assuming they would even carry a NORML commercial, assuming they’d run a three-minute commercial at that, well, the chances winged porcine mammals would emerge from my posterior seems better than getting this on TV.

    However, if it keeps getting passed around and talked about and linked to, it has viral potential and could get mentioned as a story on more progressive-leaning outlets. That’s the real potential – feeding this video from the grassroots up through YouTube and blogs, rather than raining it from the top down through multi-million-dollar ad buys.]

  4. Wow. Good stuff. Seems appropriate enough too to be made into a commercial, and put on rated Teen or higher channels.

  5. OMG..the clip was amazing.everyone tries to make prohobition confusing and hard to understand…but give it a face and show everyone how it is and boom!you get through…

  6. Well done.

    So sad that this is actually the world we live in today. Though for many who have nothing to do with marijuana, I have to wonder when/if they’ll ever recognize our plight, while we continue to live in fear and in hiding.

  7. This video should have a donation fund. They should have people be able to donate, or purchase products from them, such as a shirt with that flower from the video on it.

    I would love to see this video on air.

  8. I just love it!!! Especially the song. I hope this person makes more cartoons. I would love a series.

  9. at first I was unsure. I was thinking, IDK, it seems to promote public intoxication. But then, when they started arresting people it was apparent that any problems which regulation would incur is far more benign than the problems of prohibition. This is very well done and very to the point. In the end I felt like, well yeah, public intoxication might become an issue – but it is far less a problem that the destroying of lives and freedoms.

  10. This NEEDS to go viral, facebook, twitter, email, whatever, do work NORML fans.

    The power of a thought eh?

    Good work artist.

  11. Please! keep this cartoon on here for awhile longer, a couple friends of mine need to see this first & yes, loved it! Major congrats to whoever put this together! Awesome job!!!!!

  12. I really like the style,and the message is definitely spot on, but I’m afraid I may have to be a stick in the mud here and say that this might not be a great reform ad.

    The thing we have to keep in mind is that pretty much the entire drug war is based upon the ignorance and misinformation of the general public, and the fact that all the people who hate hemp convince themselves that those who use hemp are non-individuals, or that users are evil, through all sorts of means (i.e. using derogatory terms of reference like “pot head” or “stoner” or completely off base ones I hear far too often like “addict” or “junkie”.)

    Why I mention all this is because to me this ad does very little to address the misinformation or the detachment/prejudice people have against marijuana users.

    First off, the individuals in the video aren’t real people, which makes it harder for others to relate emotionally to them in order to feel sympathy, concern, or surprise at individuals that use but don’t fit the stereotype.

    Second, the flower used as a metaphor in the video bares too little resemblance to actual hemp in my opinion, seeing as one of the main goals for this movement should be enlightenment, education, and exposure to the realities of hemp in order to dispel the non-facts people hold about it. Unfortunately many prohibitionists who see this will just say “Well it’s cute that they’re just sniffing it, but we know those junkie potheads smoke the stuff and get the smoke and smell everywhere and, like, blow the smoke in babies faces and stuff, and that’s bad!”
    We should be addressing such concerns in the best most succinct way possible, therefore I’d say that a commercial featuring marijuana being vaporized, or eaten, or simply prepared in other ways other than smoking may be far more helpful as many, many people don’t even realize there’s another option other than smoking it!

    On that note, the other advantage real people would have over an ad such as this is that here we can’t portray real hemp users here, or how responsible and successful many of them are, so we do nothing to dispel those stereotypes.

    I’ll probably end up thinking of more stuff I should have pointed out but all in all I’d say the main issue with this ad is that it doesn’t clearly educate regarding the advantages of legalization and the realities of hemp, it doesn’t dispel myths about hemp or stereotypes/prejudices many people hold regarding marijuana users, it doesn’t get people who are scared or never were around marijuana to become more used to seeing it or being around it, and while it briefly portrays the black market that forms, I feel that the issue is that many people won’t understand exactly why a black market arises from criminalization of marijuana (and perhaps drugs in general) all of which I personally believe are key ideas.

    Though I will give the ad credit for conveying the reality that our current legal drugs are worse, more harmful alternatives and for making the subject appropriate for most audiences.

  13. @Zuke – I agree with everything you are saying, a connection of general compassion will be the winning ticket in some cases, but human interest pieces aren’t going to suede the typical ‘on-the-fence’ person. i think we just aren’t to that level yet; basic factual information still needs to be spread in order for legalization to even be considered in most people’s minds. i’m not sure what the average person feels about marijuana, whether disgust or apathy (if it IS positive, hell, let the majority speak!), but the information presented in this manner makes it more palatable to those who may feel more strongly against legalization for whatever reason.
    as you said, it may be that they are against the people who use it, or it may be economics, or it may be just old propaganda that is confusing to someone who is uneducated about this issue. but i think this presents the most viable information in the most widely acceptable and effective manner.
    we can bring out the big guns (fostering empathy) after this is an acceptable possibility in the common mind.

  14. Less violence, Gangs,and everything. Alcohol is a lot worse we should banned that instead. Let the flower power on

  15. People say drugs rip families apart but what about all the families that have been ripped apart because of our government and their wacky ways. If we legalize pot we rebuild a lot of those families torn buy our system and clean up a lot of prison space hell we might not even have to build another prison

  16. I posted this on Facebook and it spawned a week long debate. The anti cannabis argument presented was nothing more than the same old reefer madness.

  17. it’s brilliant!

    effortlessly reveals the oppressive cruelty & injustice of this inherently corrupt & violent and utterly asinine War on Drugs BOONDOGGLE.

    i hope this video goes viral
    in fact, let’s do it…
    share ‘The Flower’ – pass it around!

  18. drug ‘abuse’ – in contrast to harmless recreational/medicinal ‘use’ – is a complex social issue that should be dealt with socioLOGICALLY – not criminally. substance ‘abuse’ – from alcohol to zoloft, from junkfood to pills, it’s all in there – is a MEDICAL condition, which is best left in the capable & caring hands of doctors, nurses and social works – not the DEA.

  19. this was honestly the best video i have seen in a long time. it is perfect description of how they took something good and organic and tried to make it dirty

  20. Good vid! I would have liked it even more if they could have shown how prohibition effected this country economically too. I’ve just recently noted the timing of the Great Depression, and the prohibition of marijuana (Hemp). It makes me wish that the internet had been invented and used widely back in the early 1900’s! Then no amount of yellow journalism could have made illegalizing “Hemp” look like a desirable policy! For those of you who have never seen it, check out “The Marijuana trick” on youtube (

  21. Russ, you responded to @painfully-stressed by saying it would cost 32 million plus in fees to put this on broadcast tv — but it can be put on community television for free. Arrangements just need to be made with Haik (the creator). How about initiating a call to all NORML members to put work with their local community TV stations to get this seen by a larger audience, and then NORML takes care of the copyright business with Haik.

    Frankly, I think this video should be nominated for an academy award.

  22. LMAO, so funny and to the point, I loved it!! Send a copy to every representative, IF they still represent the people.

  23. Wow, whoever put this together is *brilliant*! Thanks for bringing this video to our attention, it’s one of the most impressive on the subject I’ve seen — and, thankfully, just in time for Prop 19.

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