From Cannabis Prohibition to Revised Current Legislation:
In the last 2 parts of this micco-blog series, Cannabis Prohibition and Legislation, we talked about cannabis’ quite long, and convoluted history in the United States. We also broke down the former/current policies that led to the complete outlaw of cannabis in the 1970’s. The enactment of the Controlled Substances Act during that same year, cannabis was classified as a “Schedule I” type drug alongside cocaine and heroin. Since then, 37 states and four territories have legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes. Out of those 37 states, 18 and two territories have legalized cannabis for all adults 21 years of age and older. We’re also well on our way to decriminalizing cannabis, too! Of the 37 states that have legalized it medically, 32 of them have also removed jail as a penalty for small-possession crimes; this is remarkable progress considering less than half a century ago, Nixon embarked on his famous, “war on drugs” agenda that created nonsensical bias and fear among the American populace that only fueled him politically; this led to cannabis inclusion amongst such drugs as cocaine and heroin, illegalizing it federally where it still remains today.
As states begin to revisit or entirely alter their current legislation on cannabis, our federal government is beginning to take notice, too! Even though cannabis is still labeled as a “Schedule I” type drug and is primarily outlawed, cannabis advocates and those in support of its legalization are advancing quickly on Washington in the hopes of ending cannabis prohibition and decriminalizing it completely.
Current Cannabis Advocacy
NCIA: In 2010, the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) was founded in support of legalized trade and also stands as representatives of cannabis’ businesses. Their primary goals, in accordance with their website, states: “NCIA is leading the charge to protect the legal cannabis industry, defend our state laws, and advance federal policy reforms. Successful businesses are joining NCIA every day to become stronger, smarter, and more prosperous by working together to defend and expand the responsible cannabis industry.” The cannabis industry is subjected to constant legal hurdles as it works to grow and define its legitimacy and has been met with resistance by all facets both in the political and business realm; having access to our banking system has been one of the major challenges it has faced. The NCIA is a cannabis advocacy legion that promotes education, responsibility, legitimacy, and community.
(Link to NCIA’s website for more information: https://thecannabisindustry.org/)
NORML: NORML is a digital network of global citizens that advocate putting an end to cannabis prohibition and criminalization. Each state has its own “chapter” or centralized group that meets to educate, empower, and connect its members to elected officials that have the power to reform our current laws! They believe in educating our prospective communities on cannabis prohibition and the science behind it that debunks most of the stigmas we’ve been conditioned to uphold. It also provides tools and resources so that you, an advocate, can navigate the complexities of cannabis laws and reformations, and grow your confidence in promoting awareness.
(Link to NORML’s website for more information: https://norml.org/)
MPP: The Marijuana Policy Project, or MPP, main prerogative is the legalization of cannabis. According to their website, MPP’s directly responsible for passing 14 medical marijuana laws, and have run successful campaigns and various legislative work in 10 out of the 18 states and two territories that have legalized cannabis. While they are heavily reliant on donations from supporters/consumers, with their donations they’ve made impressive headway by advocating legislation and enables the use of cannabis medially, promoting full-inclusion with the drafting of various policies, as well as media and financial sponsorships that promote cannabis education and the need for political reform.
(Link to MPP’s website for more information: https://www.mpp.org/)
How YOU Can Become Involved in Cannabis Advocacy
The best way for anyone to become a cannabis advocate can be summarized into four easy steps! And they are:
- Properly educate yourself: there’s a TON of misinformation out there and unfortunately it’s readily accessible to the public. The first step you should take in becoming an advocate for marijuana is learning how to navigate this misinformative space and increase your collective knowledge on cannabis from reputable sources; the ones provided are a great place to start!
- Spend wisely and consciously: For those of us who are consumers, research your buyers! Purchasing products from small/start-up businesses that are often subjected to the stringent laws surrounding this industry is a great way to support your community.
- Join advocacy groups/organizations: (there are a few listed in the aforementioned text) There are several groups/organizations that promote all aspects of cannabis advocacy; the best way to tune-in is to research cannabis activism locally! NORML provides a great resource on their website that’s dedicated to local support chapters within each state.
- Exercise your political power by voting! It’s extremely important to become engaged politically by voting for your local, state, and even federal (we’ll get there) legislation! Actively engaging with your city/county governments collectively is one of the quickest ways to facilitate change within the cannabis industry.