thing that's easily noticed when working in the cannabis reform
movement is that there's an embedded fear in many individuals when it
comes to standing up for supporting legalization, and working publicly
to get it done. On one hand, it's hard to blame these people: Cannabis
prohibition is a very real, very dangerous beast. The government has
spent a lot of time, and resources, to put this fear into the public.
the other hand, free speech is a constitutional right, and standing up
for what we believe in should be a core principle of being an active
citizen of our great, yet ever-progressing country. It's easy to forget
that in relative terms, we're a young nation, and we have a lot to
improve upon -- we can't let complacency be an enemy.
With the ever-expanding reform movement rapidly crushing the
pillars of prohibition, prohibitionists are sure to up their game. This,
of course, will include more of the usual: Fear-based propaganda,
screams of "what about the children", and more laughable rhetoric.
efforts towards maintaining the status quo of a devastating prohibition
are easily counteracted with facts, science and logical reasoning. The
key to bringing this all together is a public that's vocal and
consistent in their support for reform. If you want legalization to
happen, you're in the majority. It's well beyond time we stop acting
like we're not.
With the public shifting on an
issue that already has a uniquely loyal and ever-expanding base of
support, have no doubt that politicians are deeply re-examining how they
handle the issue of cannabis and its prohibition. As a constituent of
these politicians, now is the time to be forthright in your support.
There's no easier way for a prohibitionist elected official to change
their stance, or for someone on the line to firm up their support, than
to be given the ability to stand behind a mass-call for change from
One of the key actions you
can take to show your support, which has a much greater impact than
people realize, is to look up who your elected officials are, and let
them know just how adamantly you support reform. Do this at all levels
of elected office:
1) Ask your U.S. Senators and Congressmen/women to support a federal change
, and legislation such as the Respect States' And Citizens' Rights Act
, which would codify a state's right to decide their own cannabis policy without federal interference.
Urge them to do research
the medical value of cannabis, making sure to point out that cannabis
is only justified as a schedule 1 drug, according to our Federal
Controlled Substances Act, if it has no known medical value.
Beyond this, point out that cannabis is easier
children to get than alcohol or tobacco, because they're legally
regulated rather than controlled by the black-market (drug dealers don't
typically check I.D). Also let them know your disdain over non-violent
individuals filling our prisons, while serious offenders are let loose
You can find a list of further reasoning to legalize here
2) E-mail, snail-mail or call your state reps. and senator, and ask them if they support legalization. Typically
it won't take long to either get a direct response, or an automated
issue-specific reply - either will let you know their stance (a quick
Google search may also give you your answer). As with any elected
official, if they support legalizing cannabis, thank them profusely.
Elected officials taking a stand is necessary for our movement's
success, and we must be sincerely grateful of the ones who do, and
reaffirm in them that their stance has constituent backing. If they
aren't in support, urge them to change their mind, point out
articulately why an end to adult cannabis prohibition is the proper step
forward, and direct them towards any specific piece of legislation or
initiative that's being worked on, if applicable in your state.
it can be quite clear that you aren't communicating directly with your
elected representative: It's okay, keep pushing your point. Many times
staff members will check and respond to e-mails; it's typically one of
their responsibilities to relay to the official what their constituents
are chattering about. A consistent influx of cannabis-reform-friendly
e-mails is likely to be relayed quite clearly.
you're in a state like Washington or Colorado where the public has
taken a stand and the laws have been reformed, you must not grow
complacent, and must continue a steady dialogue. It'll take some time
for an ideal or even workable legal system to take hold, and there is
much to be improved upon. This will remain a challenge for quite some
time, all the while others will be fighting to reverse back to
3) Contact your city
council members and city manager, and as with the elected officials
mentioned above, express very clearly that you support the legalization
of cannabis - which means safe access for patients and recreational consumers alike - and that you urge them to do the same.
it comes to legalization, city councils have very little legal
authority to bring any meaningful alterations. However, they often
control zoning regulations, which can directly effect safe access to
legal cannabis within the city's boundaries (this can be a major issue,
as we've seen across the country with numerous city-wide moratoriums on
medical access points in state's where they're allowed). A consistent
call from constituents supporting reform may push them away from
attempting to blockade a state change that allows cannabis retail
outlets, and will make it more likely for them to support reasonable
When contacting these politicians, here are a few key points to take into consideration:
informative, but precise. As easy as it may be to write a 5,000 word
essay on why ending cannabis prohibition is the only sensible and
acceptable move forward, it simply won't get read, and is likely to be
tossed or overlooked. Try and stay below 500 words, making sure to
consistently put spaces between lines and paragraphs - don't send them
one big block of text.
Be collegiate in your approach to writing your letter. In other words, write it as if you're being graded, and edit it multiple times (preferably
having someone else look it over as well). You want to assure that your
letter is grammatically correct, flows smoothly, and has no glaring
errors that may take away from the core message you're trying to relay.
consistent, and maintain dialogue. If your elected official supports
legalization, attempt to stay in contact with them: Thank them
occasionally for their support, direct them towards relevant news
articles and potential legislation that you support, etc.. Don't overdo
it to the point of annoyance, but elected officials like hearing from
constituents that they agree with, and that dialogue may come in use in
the future. If they don't support reform, be consistent in urging them
to do so, which includes continual letters, phone calls, etc.. If you
can find an event that they'll be attending, where you can question or
talk with them about it in-person, go for it.
cordial, even with those who have the exact opposite view of your own.
Telling your elected officials that they're idiots for supporting
prohibition (as hard as it is not to) isn't going to win any minds. Make
it clear that you respect their opinion, but feel strongly that
prohibition has failed, and that the public wants a change. Use
statistical evidence, scientific data, etc. to make your point.
it clear, in a polite fashion, that you won't be voting for any elected
official who supports the devastation that this prohibition has caused.
Let them know that if they wish to continue their support of our
current failures, you'll have no choice but to vote for, and work
towards a replacement. This is important, and one of the only ways we'll
get prohibitionist officials to consider taking a softer stance -
putting fear in them that their job is on the line.
all this in mind, it's clear that contacting elected officials is only
one aspect of working towards reform. Attending council and committee
meetings, being at or running protests, working on initiatives or
referendums, etc. are all solid methods of being actively involved. That
stated, contacting your elected officials is vital, often overlooked,
and not unreasonably time-consuming. If you support legalization, you
should make it known.
If you have any
questions, or want someone to look over a letter before it's sent to
check for errors or potentially advise on improvements, feel free to
send an e-mail at anytime to firstname.lastname@example.org
. We'll quickly and happily respond.