In January 2014, America witnessed the hard work of advocacy and democracy when the state of Colorado passed legislation allowing for the use of recreational cannabis. This groundbreaking law led to a ripple effect throughout the nation. States such as Alaska, Maine, Nebraska, and Washington have passed similar laws allowing for the use of marijuana by private individuals. As the movement begins to crescendo to rest of the country, many are asking how they can become an activist for cannabis.
All beginning advocates should start by heavily researching cannabis history, federal and state laws, as well as peer-reviewed medical studies. The Marijuana Policy Project is a great place to start in getting familiar with state legislation and what is happening on a federal level in reference to the legalization of cannabis. Knowing the facts about marijuana use will greatly assist with the next step which is to reach out to state representatives through phone calls and letters. To find state representatives activist should try the find my representative tool on the House of Representative web page. Turning around the opinion and existing legislation of local and state government can be difficult, which is why once a newly inspired activist is ready, they should not hesitate to find like-minded people.
After researching restrictions on marijuana in their area, activists can find groups who can provide them with guidance. Many groups can be located online through websites such as safeacessnow.org or norml.org. Activists may also look at the community board in their local civic center to see if there may be a local meeting not advertised on the internet. If no such group is available, one can be created by reaching out to friends and family who agree with the movement. Once situated within an activist group, many advocates will begin to get involved with the municipal government by attending meetings and events or participating in organized protests and petition campaigns. Being on the front lines of the legalization movement is not for everyone but they can still contribute through other means.
Another great step an activist can take to get involved with legalizing the use of cannabis is by writing op-ed pieces, utilizing social media, and donating. Reaching out to online magazines and local papers with op-ed pieces on the legalization of weed can be a dynamic tool in getting readers to think about their choices during upcoming elections. Similarly, employing personal social media accounts on ranging platforms can help further spread the message. Lastly, donating time, skills, and money to your activist group can be a great way to get the movement pushing forward.
Becoming an activist for the legalization of cannabis can be a difficult path. As more states begin to take strides for legalization, there are many steps citizens can take in order to be involved in the activist movement. With enough engagement and persistence, other states will see the fruits of advocacy labor as has been seen in states such as Colorado, Maine, Washington, and Nebraska.
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