NEW YORK, NY (May 8, 2008) – In an effort to raise money and awareness for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and their political offshoot Smoke The Vote, High Times editor and columnist Bobby Black has launched a pseudo-presidential campaign, and is embarking on a cross-country promotional tour through the nation’s heartland dubbed the “BBD Express Across America,” which includes press conferences and radio interviews in both Denver and Chicago.
Best known for his monthly High Times column “Almost Infamous” and weekly rock show on Sirius radio, Black is a proud pagan and lifelong advocate of personal liberty and responsibility. He claims to be running on the Freak Power Party ticket—a political party created by the late gonzo journalist and Colorado resident Hunter S. Thompson as part of his 1970 bid for the office of Pitkin County sheriff. Black’s platform is based on a political philosophy he calls “liberal-tarianism,” whose main tenets are the strict enforcement of civil rights and separation of church and state, as well as the legalization of gay marriage, prostitution, and drugs—particularly marijuana.
“There are approximately 25 million Americans who smoke marijuana,” says Black. “My goal is to motivate as many of them as possible to make their voices heard by joining NORML, registering to vote, and petitioning their local representatives to support decriminalization legislation. Pot doesn’t ruin lives—pot laws ruin lives, and that needs to change. We all know that nothing gets done in Washington without a lobby—well, NORML is our lobby, and we owe them our support.”
In April, NORML cosponsored two federal bills with Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) that address the criminality of marijuana: the “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults” (H.R. 5843), and the “Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act” (H.R. 5842), both of which are aimed at eliminating federal prosecution of individuals for possession and use of prescribed amounts of cannabis for medicinal or personal use.
“The notion that you lock people up for smoking marijuana is pretty silly,” says Frank.
“I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was an openly-gay Congressman who had the guts to speak out against the injustice of our drug laws and attempt to enact a real change,” observes Black. “There was a time in this country when discrimination against women and African-Americans was widespread, tolerated, even enforced. Thankfully, through the tremendous courage and sacrifices of our great civil rights activists, that time is over. Now the time has come for us to stand up and speak out for America’s other legally persecuted minority groups—particularly homosexuals, pagans and marijuana users. That’s what I’m here to do—I’m putting the ‘pagan’ in propaganda.”
The first press conference will be held at the studios of Marijuana Radio in Denver on Tuesday, May 20th at 4:20 p.m., and will be followed by an interview on marijuanaradio.com and a membership drive for the Front Range chapter of NORML. Attendees who join or make a donation will receive a signed copy of High Times, and a limited-edition “Bobby Black For President” bumper sticker and button. In addition, anyone who joins NORML online between now and Election Day will also receive a campaign sticker. Another 4:20 conference is scheduled for Friday, May 23 at The High Way smoke shop in Chicago, which is sponsored by Illinois NORML and Lokal 420, and also features an appearance by stoner rap group The Individuals.
“It’s 4:20 again in America,” declares Black. “It’s time for us to stop being afraid, to stand together and send a clear message to our elected officials: We smoke, we vote, and we are not criminals.”
For more information about the campaign, conferences, or interview requests, visit myspace.com/bobbyblack, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about NORML, go to norml.org and smokethevote.org.