On June 28th, 2001 Jeff and Tracy published the following full-page ad in Portland, Oregon’s alternative news-weekly, Willamette Week. They subsequently published the same ad in Seattle’s The Stranger and San Francisco’s Bay Guardian. They were the first mainstream couple to come out publicly boldly identifying themselves as cannabis consumers.
We’re Jeff and Tracy
We’re Your Good Neighbors
We Smoke Pot
The United States government acknowledges that over 70 million American adults have smoked pot. That’s one in three of your neighborhood doctors, grocers, college professors, police officers, computer programmers, postal carriers, engineers, business executives, and spiritual leaders. These pot smokers are your elected officials. They are your dearest friends. They are your family members.
Yet, contemporary Drug War advertising, which you fund with your tax dollars, insists that we are a threat to society.
We decided to run our own spot on the radio. We wrote the script which you see in the frame below. We shopped it around. On the Portland FM dial we were refused by KUFO, KNRK, and KGON. In Seattle we were refused by KISW. In Bend we were refused by KXIX. (The latter station proclaims 4:20 to be “the happiest moment on Earth.” Go figure.)
KUFO countered with an offer to sell us a booth at their upcoming Rockfest. They changed their mind when we accepted.
This is the station that carries the Howard Stern show. They were afraid our message would “frighten mothers. ” Amazing.
Station by station, rock radio refused us, and it became clear that we faced opposition on two fronts. The Drug War and Censorship were allied.
We next contacted Obie Media, Inc., which handles the Tri-Met advertising account. We offered to buy banners on city buses and MAX rail cars. These vehicles are owned and operated by the government. Surely, we thought, the government isn’t allowed to censor this message. Yet we were refused. Obie Media cited vague Tri-Met policies. We asked them to put us in touch with the people at Tri-Met who administer these policies, but Obie has not provided us with any contact information.
So we figured, what the heck. Third down. Throw deep. The full page “open letter” in the daily newspaper is a time honored American tradition. We will purchase a full page advertisement in the Sunday Oregonian, write an open letter to the good people of Oregon, and tell our story. We naively thought that,
of all the media, the city newspaper remained a bastion of free speech, and would give us our voice. Instead we were told: “We have reviewed your ad copy and find it unsuitable for publication in The Oregonian.”
Radio, public transportation, and now the press. Every one of these media accept money from the O.N.D.C.P., from the Partnership for a Drug Free America, and from similar organizations that support and promote the Drug War.
We applaud Willamette Week’s dedication to the American spirit. Thank you for printing our message.
Once upon a time, in 1773, a few brave patriots painted their faces, converged upon Griffen’s Wharf, and hurled 342 crates of British tea into Boston Harbor. Paul Revere was there. Samuel Adams organized it. John Hancock was a tea smuggler, and actively supported it. Today, we venerate these men as heroes. They all broke the law, because the law was absurd, and deserved to be broken.
We passionately appeal to courageous Americans everywhere. Stand with us. Be seen and heard. It may be frightening to stare down the barrel of the largest and best equipped police force in American history, but it must be done. Peacefully. Respectfully. Do it for your friends. Do it for your family. Do it for freedom.
We’re Jeff and Tracy. We’re your good neighbors, and we smoke pot. We’d love to hear from you.
Who Do You Love…Who Smokes Pot?