Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jan 2004
Source: DrugSense Weekly
Section: Feature Article


By Marijuana Policy Project

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE -- Comcast Cable has censored Granite Staters for 
Medical Marijuana (GSMM), prohibiting the group from purchasing airtime on 
the company's cable system in New Hampshire, according to GSMM Campaign 
Coordinator Aaron Houston.  Houston approached Comcast last month, asking 
to buy airtime for a television commercial, but he was denied without 
receiving any written material detailing the company's reasoning.

When a Comcast representative informed Houston on December 1 of the 
company's denial, the representative noted that officials in Comcast's 
legal department had not viewed a specific television spot from GSMM, but 
the officials had denied the group based on its message about medical 
marijuana.  After receiving a written request from Houston seeking an 
explanation, the representative said reasons for the denial would be sent 
to GSMM in writing. Then, on December 16, the same representative told 
Houston in a telephone call that Comcast's legal department "doesn't issue 
written explanations."

"They denied us based solely on who we are," Houston said. "Comcast Cable 
is infringing on our right to speak to 21 million subscribers, even though 
84% of likely voters in the upcoming election agree with our point of view. 
We think voters who have a vital role in picking the Democratic Party's 
nominee believe this is a serious and relevant issue."

Interestingly, Comcast recently struck a deal with the Partnership for a 
Drug-Free America (PDFA). In October 2003, Comcast announced a three-year 
advertising pledge, valued at $50 million, allowing PDFA to increase 
exposure for anti-drug advertising on Comcast's cable systems in 35 
states.  The deal constituted "the largest single upfront commitment of 
advertising from a major media company to The Partnership in the 
organization's history," according to a PDFA news release.

Houston commented, "Comcast pledged $50 million dollars to the war on 
drugs, yet they have censored us from raising a critical question about 
this policy: If we're going to have a drug war, can we at least take sick 
and dying people off the battlefield?"

Based in Manchester, New Hampshire, Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana 
is a grassroots coalition of patients and activists. GSMM is organizing 
during the New Hampshire presidential primary campaign to raise awareness 
of the need for federal action to protect medical marijuana patients. For 
further information, please see 
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