While cannabis has been legalized for medical use in a majority of the US and even recreational use in a small but growing number of states, it remains prohibited under Federal law. And because Federal law takes precedence over State law, means that technically, there is no legal difference between using highly potent THC-rich cannabis for recreational use or using medically-prescribed CBD oil for anxiety, pain relief, or substance abuse treatment.
The only practical difference is how different state law enforcement officials choose to enforce the prohibition. In states where cannabis use is still illegal or highly restricted, you are significantly more likely to be charged when found for possession, even for medical cannabis.
If this current situation bothers you, you should consider helping the legalization movement within your own state. Here are a few simple but practical ways you can help the ongoing cannabis legalization efforts in your own backyard.
1.) Stop spreading fake news and pseudoscience
Way too many cannabis proponents spread fake news from questionable sources about the purported effects of cannabis and cannabis products. The fact is, while there are plenty of proven benefits to the controlled use of cannabis, many of the claims circulated on the internet are either unproven at best or outright false at worst.
This has the unfortunate effect of giving cannabis opponents plenty of ammunition for discrediting those who support legalization. Spreading unverified claims also makes it difficult to convince those who are on the fence to take the pro-legalization side.
2.) Learn how to communicate respectfully
As you will have doubtlessly witnessed on Facebook, it’s incredibly hard to find a middle ground on political issues, especially because the abstract no-contact nature of social media makes it too easy to resort to name-calling and insults, even if you normally wouldn’t use that sort of language in person.
Respect and kindness are especially powerful weapons, especially when the other side knows that you made a conscious choice to not stoop to a lower level. While you may not necessarily convert new advocates, you will certainly earn the respect of your opponents, making it much more likely they and their friends will listen to you.
3.) Read up and learn from unsuccessful attempts in other states
Knowing how other legalization efforts got blocked in other states can be important for helping you formulate your own plans for your own efforts. By reading up on them, you can learn what not to do and avoid making the same kinds of mistakes yourself.
4.) Get in touch with like-minded people in your state
Even in conservative states, there are already many pro-cannabis advocates, many of whom are conservatives themselves. While you may not necessarily see eye-to-eye on other issues, try to offer them a chance to prevent a solid front with yourself and other like-minded supporters on this one.
College campuses and social media groups are great places to start networking on pro-cannabis issues. You may be surprised at the types of people you will meet who support full or partial cannabis legalization.
5.) Identify key legislators and write to them
Your state legislators are ultimately the ones who get to decide on what gets legalized in your state. It’s important to let your voice be heard. Let them know that the issue of cannabis legalization is important to you and other people in your state. It won’t be easy nor will it guarantee action. However, contacting legislators is a critical part of any legislative effort.
6.) Contact important community leaders to get their endorsement
Your state representatives and senators, your local clergy, business leaders, retired and active law enforcement professionals, veterans, medical professionals, mental health workers, town and city officials – you’d be surprised that many people in positions that traditionally frowned on cannabis use are actually supportive of it, for much the same reasons you support it yourself.
While many people in these positions oppose legalization, it’s still important that you contact them, and if possible, get their endorsement. For better or worse, these community leaders have much more power and a louder voice than ordinary citizens, and it can be immensely helpful to have a number of them come out in the open and into your side.
With the endorsement of these community leaders, you can make any appeal to your state legislature carry more weight, and you’re going to find that more people will be willing to hear you out.
7.) Be consistent in your lobbying
Put your money where your beliefs are. Spend the time, effort, and the money to make legalization happen. It’s not enough to be vocal about your stand just some of the time. Try to continuously concentrate your efforts in a part of your local pro-cannabis community’s projects that you believe to be truly useful in getting more legislators onboard with legalization.
What other things can you contribute to help legalization in your state? Get in touch and tell us.