Despite growing support for marijuana reform, the United States continues to waste billions of dollars enforcing federal prohibition with marijuana arrest rates accounting for as much as 42% of all drug charges. 87% of those arrests were for possession alone and have always fallen disproportionately on the shoulders of minorities; black people are between 3.7 and 30 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana use despite similar trends in consumption compared to white people according to the American Civil Liberties Union.
But it’s not just minorities who suffer at the hands of the drug war. Families who need medical cannabis have been flocking to 420-friendly states in a desperate attempt to successfully medicate their children. Aptly dubbed “Marijuana Refugees”, these families are forced to leave behind everything they know – friends, family, careers – just to gain access to medical marijuana without risking legal repercussions.
What’s most touching about these families is that they all came from the same basic scenario: they’re desperate parents who are willing to do anything to protect the health and well-being of their children. The fact that they were forced to leave their lives behind to do so proves that we’re a long way from where we need to be.
Though some parts of the nation have granted its citizens freedom to consume cannabis, the law does little to protect others from the unfair consequences of the failed War on Drugs. Families will still be forced to flee to medical marijuana-friendly states to medicate their children, minorities will still be more vulnerable to drug war enforcement and taxpayers will continue to foot the bill for enforcing the illegal status of a freaking plant.
But YOU can help. Push marijuana reform forward by following a few simple steps:
Step One: Find Your Voice
There are many reasons people avoid voicing their opinion about cannabis use – conflicts regarding work, family or social circles and concern over legal repercussions are common reasons people avoid admitting support. But the more people that admit to both using and supporting the movement, the more normalized it will become and the easier it will be to bust the stoner stereotype once and for all.
Step Two: Share What You’ve Learned
School House Rock! was right: knowledge is power. That’s why it’s important to share what you’ve learned about marijuana in public forums like social media sites and discussion boards to inform those who may otherwise be ignorant about the benefits of marijuana reform and to rally support in the process.
To spread information, share interesting articles on social media, post insightful comments in discussion threads and drop credible research material whenever you get a chance. Most importantly, don’t badmouth those with differing opinions – nothing stops someone from listening like needless name-calling and accusations, so keep it civil (and on point) if you want to get others to come to our side.
Step Three: Attend Events and Rallies
As the numbers of attendees at marijuana rallies and events increases, it will become much harder to deny the impact marijuana has on society. By gathering en masse to promote fair marijuana laws, politicians will be forced to address the impact marijuana has on society. Lies and propaganda will become more easily dissolved and the truth about the therapeutic benefits of cannabis will become all the more apparent – because we demand nothing less than the truth!
Don’t forget to get behind some of the larger organizations in the industry who are fighting everyday to continue marijuana reform and support the overall legalization of the plant. Groups like NORML, Marijuana Policy Project and Women Grow are doing BIG things around the country, so do your research and join the cause.
Step Four: Vote!!!
Last but not least, get out there and vote! There is likely marijuana on the ballot in your state so vote in favor of cannabis reform and encourage your neighbors to do the same.
In terms of national reform, vote for representatives with the same positive stance on marijuana reform as you. Pay special attention to each candidate’s past and current stance on reform and avoid voting for those who notoriously flip-flop on the issue as their position might change once in office.
Although this action may seem small, pro-marijuana votes add up and could effectively change the landscape of the industry not only in your home state, but across the country as well.
As marijuana reform continues, it’s important that we band together to see that the path it takes is one that works for us all. Don’t sit idly back, puffing on your favorite strain while others struggle for their freedom. Take action now so we can all join in on a massive smoke sesh later!
What are you doing to contribute to the marijuana movement?