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California federal prosecutors turning their attention to marijuana advertising

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Flashing back to 1990, I first took out a subscription to High Times  magazine in protest over a Louisiana federal prosecutor’s subpoenaing the magazine’s advertiser records — as reported by Index on Censorship — in an apparent effort to clamp down on hydroponic sellers and customers, and various other suspected marijuana-related vendors.  I wrote to then-attorney general Dick Thornburgh about my protest, and cc’d it to High Times; I received a reply from neither. I read each issue, and perhaps the most beneficial article was the one on then-NORML national director Don Fiedler, whom I discuss here.

I met Don Fiedler at Earth Day, soon after reading a High Times interview with him. We broke bread together a few months later, and I asked him for some tips on transitioning into criminal defense from my corporate law firm job doing corporate litigation and regulatory work for financial institutions and transportation companies. We discussed the public defender option, and less than a year later, I joined the Maryland Public Defender’s Office. Don sponsored me for membership in the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. In short, the Louisiana federal prosecutor’s subpoena to High Times ended up spurring me on to subscribe to High Times, to leave a corporate law firm to become a public defender lawyer, and to finally find a way to marry my passion for civil liberties with my daily work life, to this very day.

Now it turns out this week that federal prosecutors in California are turning their attention to advertising for state-legal medical marijuana. Hopefully that step will encourage all the more people to stand up and let their voices be effectively heard for legalizing marijuana.

ADDENDUM: Thanks to the listserv member who provided a link to the news about the feds’ focus on advertising about marijuana. 

See Jacob Sullum’s Reason piece on Obama’s approach to drugs.