With this year’s midterm elections behind us, it’s now time to wait until the measures we voted for become law. While Colorado voters pondered hemp legislation, other states had much bigger nugs to toke – Michigan, for example, joined us in legalization while North Dakota voted to stay away. If you’re not fortunate enough to live in one of 33 states that at least allow medical consumption, here’s the best way to get involved and change that.
Educate yourself on the facts!
It’s been said that education is the premise of progress, and in trying to develop legislation that couldn’t be truer. There are countless studies on cannabis and how it benefits the body, psyche, and economy; and knowing the facts is crucial to persuading citizens and lawmakers who hold a stigma against the plant. Scientific studies are especially compelling because it’s definitive proof – not just anecdotes – to say it helps. The Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research has a ton of studies on the plant, while The National Conference of State Legislators acts as a database that has resources on what the current laws are in each state. Both websites are a great starting point to learn more!
Get involved and advocate
Now that you’ve read up on cannabis, it’s time to advocate for it! There are numerous groups that actively coordinate events and outreach programs, long after election day. Most will even send emails, updating you on their progress or new studies being released. Of course, looking into grassroots organizations within your community would yield better results; they would know the lawmakers to get in contact with, as well as the initiatives that would really help. But great national groups to get involved with include: The National Cannabis Industry Association, The Drug Policy Alliance, and the Marijuana Policy Project. Even if free time is not in abundance in your life, just spreading accurate information to anyone who will listen is a big contribution – things get normalized by getting talked about!
Vote, vote vote!
Lastly, this tip goes without saying: VOTE! True change begins with your surroundings, and voting for local and state politicians who campaign on your interests is key. Out of four states who had medical and/or recreational initiatives on the ballot, three successfully passed, and a number of states voted for pro-cannabis governors, promising to help introduce and advance cannabis bills. These advances would not have been possible without voters who cared. Additionally, the N.O.R.M.L. Organization rolled out the Smoke the Vote initiative this past election cycle, which helped voters determine which candidates and ballot measures advocated cannabis.
Cannabis reform and legalization have come a very long way since our parents’ time; no one could have imagined what the industry would look like today, let alone a decade ago! With your help, along with thousands across the nation, the dream of fair and just cannabis laws can be imagined within our lifetimes.