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Comcast Censors Medical Marijuana Group

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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 http://www.GraniteStaters.com

Webpage: DrugSense Weekly, Jan. 2, 2004 #331
Pubdate: Fri, 02 Jan 2004
Source: DrugSense Weekly
Section: Feature Article