Despite everything we know about the therapeutic efficacy of cannabis—along with vehement approval from a growing number of Americans and state legislations—it is still mislabeled as a dangerous Schedule 1 substance at the federal level. Thousands of Americans still lack access to the powerful benefits of this plant and while more and more states vote to legalize the medical or recreational use of cannabis each election cycle the ongoing fight for equitable cannabis still needs our collective support.
Together, we can democratize and decriminalize cannabis. If you live in a state where cannabis remains illegal, here’s exactly how to best advocate for progress.
Contact Your State Legislators
Your voice matters, and telling your local legislators that you say yes to legalized cannabis is the most effective way to create change in your state. According to James Leventis, Verano’s Executive Vice President of Legal, Regulatory and Government Affairs, “what moves the needle with officials is hearing personal stories from individuals. Being passionate and vocal about the injustices plays a key role in your reps’ positioning.”
To find and contact your legislators, use this tool from Congress.gov. Whether you call, email, or schedule an in-person meeting, keep in mind: Your government representatives work for you.
How to Argue in Support of Cannabis (ALT: 8 Tips to Advocating for Cannabis in Your State)
When it comes to advocating for cannabis decriminalization in your state and nationwide, there are a few key details to share to ensure your voice is heard:
- First and foremost, let them know they represent you as a constituent in their state.
- Give them your full name, address, and telephone number so they can officially submit your comments. If you are a doctor, nurse, medical cannabis patient, social justice lawyer, or other relevant expert, tell them. It will lend credibility to your cause.
- Communicate that you are a registered voter who wants them to support full cannabis legalization and all related policies in your state and federally.
- Recognize the dire importance of decriminalization, which could have a sweeping impact on those incarcerated for cannabis-related crimes.
- Include all the ways cannabis has personally benefited you or your loved ones. These personal stories are key—your lawmakers should know how changing cannabis policies for the better would enhance their constituents’ lives.
- Mention the potential positive impact on your local economy, from the potential addition of hundreds of jobs to potential taxes collected from a recreational cannabis program.
- Include (or attach, if emailing) trustworthy research studies and articles that support your position.
- Do not bring up other, unrelated issues you’re concerned about. Those need a separate appointment.
- Thank your legislator in advance for their consideration. Remind them that you’ll keep cannabis legalization in mind at the polls—and then make sure you vote!
Blazing an equitable new trail takes time—especially when we’re up against decades of fear-led prohibition messaging—but Verano is with you in the fight for legalized cannabis at the state and federal levels. When they told us to “just say no,” we refused to listen. Instead, we espouse the proven medical benefits of medical cannabis, affirming that every person deserves safe, convenient access to this plant. We loudly and proudly say yes, and we invite you to join us.