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August 31, 2004 - The Drug Policy Alliance (US Web)

Drug Reform Advertising Returns to the Subway

Return to Drug War News: Don't Miss Archive

The Drug Policy Alliance has joined three other organizations in again purchasing advertising space on the Washington, DC Metro system for our message of marijuana reform. The ad buy was made possible when a judge ruled in June that the federal ban on public transit ads criticizing drug policy was blatantly unconstitutional.

At issue in the case is the "Istook Amendment," which would have cut off more than $3 billion in federal funding from local transit authorities if they accepted the ads. The amendment is named after Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.), who became enraged at seeing a pro-marijuana ad in a bus shelter.

Last February, the Alliance, Change the Climate, Marijuana Policy Project and the ACLU filed a challenge to the "Istook Amendment," as it is known, after the Metro system rejected its advertisement.

In his June opinion and order, Judge Paul L. Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia affirmed that "there is a clear public interest in preventing the chilling of speech on the basis of viewpoint" and that "the government articulated no legitimate state interest in the suppression of this particular speech other than the fact that it disapproves of the message, an illegitimate and constitutionally impermissible reason."

We are pleased to announce that Metro has accepted our ads [see ads here], which will run for the month of September at the Union Station and Capitol South stops. Both are within blocks of the U.S. Capitol and Rep. Istook's office.

"Istook's ban provides powerful evidence of how scared the federal government is of genuine debate," said Ethan Nadelmann, Alliance Executive Director. "I guess that's no surprise since they're trying to defend a policy that is indefensible."

Copyright ©2004 Drug Policy Alliance.

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