Here we offer six different ways to help contribute to the effort for marijuana legalization.
While support for nationwide marijuana legalization is now higher than it’s ever been, cannabis remains illegal and classified among the most restricted substances under United States federal law.
Over the past two decades, changing social attitudes regarding marijuana have led to a wave of cannabis reform across the country, and today three-fifths of U.S. states have legalized marijuana in some capacity.
The long-shared exaggerations about marijuana’s dangers and inaccurate stereotypes of cannabis consumers are being abandoned. More people now acknowledge the substance’s potential therapeutic benefits and accept cannabis as a morally acceptable activity for adults.
Despite the evolving social attitudes regarding marijuana, there is still a lot of work to do with millions of people in the U.S. still unable to access legal marijuana. Here are six different ways you can help speed up the movement toward legalization where you live.
Educate Yourself on How and Why Marijuana Became Federally Illegal
Before fighting for legalization, it is important to fully understand when and why cannabis became illegal in the U.S. in the first place. Knowing the history of prohibition and how it was largely based on fear and bias rather than facts will better equip you to make a case for legalization.
It is hard to imagine that at one point cannabis was freely cultivated and used in the U.S. While many may assume that cannabis was made illegal through a process that involved scientific, medical, and government hearings, the reality is a different story.
You can learn more about why marijuana is federally illegal and how cannabis legalization has gradually returned to more than half of U.S. states HERE. Stay up on the latest cannabis legalization efforts through our Medical Marijuana, Inc. news page.
Connect with Activist Organizations
Understand that there is no need to fight for marijuana legalization on your own. Organizations and advocates are already working to get cannabis reform in your state and elsewhere.
Connect with active cannabis policy reform groups, such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Students for Sensitive Drug Policy (SSDP).
Many of these organizations have local chapters, allowing you to mobilize with like-minded cannabis advocates nearby. You can also sign up for their newsletters to keep up with campaign activities. Participating in these activist organizations utilize the “power in numbers” approach to bring people together so that cannabis reform can be tackled in a uniformed effort.
Vote for Cannabis-Friendly Lawmakers and Measures
Your vote is your voice on marijuana policy. Getting out to vote for cannabis measures and policymakers that support cannabis reform is perhaps the most effective way to promote marijuana legalization.
Your local, state and federal lawmakers will play the biggest role in whether cannabis laws change where you live.
Historically, Democrats and independents have been more open to legalization and lenient marijuana laws. However, in recent years more Republicans have begun to express support for cannabis reform.
The only way to change government is to change the people sent there. If you oppose your representative’s judgment on marijuana, you can vote for someone else.
Reach Out to Your Elected Officials
It’s important that you share your support for marijuana legalization with the elected lawmakers who are in a position to change policy. The more that officials connect with constituents who care about a particular issue, the more they tend to prioritize and care about supporting policies around that issue.
Make calls or send letters and emails to your representatives, depending on the types of reforms you’re interested in pushing.
If you’re interested in helping support the passing of a local decriminalization ordinance or for local law enforcement to not prioritize possession, reach out to your community leaders and members of your local government, including your city council and mayor. To help change state marijuana legislation, reach out to your elected state reps and governor. You can also contact your U.S. senators and representative to urge them to remove marijuana from the schedule of controlled substances.
Help Educate Your Friends, Family, and Community
You can help further change social attitudes regarding marijuana by reaching out to your friends, family, and community members.
People are more open to learning about issues when someone they know, trust, and care about addresses them. Sit down with your loved ones and neighbors and talk about why cannabis legalization matters to you.
You can also write letters to your local newspaper and share your thoughts through your social media channels.
Educating those around you on the importance of marijuana reform will indirectly support policy changes by encouraging more to vote for cannabis legislation and support cannabis-friendly policymakers.