People wearing Legalize Cannabis t-shirts and holding hands
Creating change is all about education and strength in numbers!

If you are a cannabis consumer, you should also be a cannabis activist. Why? Because cannabis prohibition is extremely harmful, and it affects all of us.

No one should ever have their life ruined because they choose to consume a plant that has been found to be 114 times safer than alcohol. Yet, sadly, it still happens every day in America.

In fact, someone is arrested for cannabis every 25 seconds in the U.S. More people are arrested for cannabis in the United States than for all violent crimes combined.

Cannabis prohibition also disproportionately affects minorities, with African-Americans on average being almost 4 times more likely to be arrested for cannabis (in some areas this number is much higher), despite consumption rates being similar among races.

In addition to losing one's freedom, cannabis prohibition can also result in parents getting their children taken away, losing employment, preventing employment, problems finding housing, and/or problems receiving financial aid in college.

When you look at the evidence, this policy makes zero sense unless you work for an organization that gains financial benefit from prohibition.

If we want to change this public policy, political victories have to be achieved. It's no secret that politics involves large sums of money, yet there are things that people can do to help reform that don't cost any money at all.

Below are some great ideas that don't require anything other than time and desire.

#1) Vote

Voting does not cost a dime, yet it's something that many cannabis consumers fail to do election cycle after election cycle.

Some people may think their vote doesn't matter, but that is not true. Every pro-cannabis vote counts. If everyone took the lazy approach to cannabis voting (which is to not vote at all) there would be zero legal states in America for adult use.

Instead, there are now eight. But there very easily could have been nine had more people voted in Arizona on Election Day 2016.

Arizona Proposition 205, which would have legalized adult use in Arizona, lost by just 67,021 votes. Out of  3,588,466 registered voters in Arizona, 2,533,667 voted, leaving over a million voters that stayed home on Election Day.

Could those voters have made a difference in Arizona? In my opinion, absolutely. Ultimately we will never know, but it couldn't have hurt.

Voting isn't just important when cannabis is specifically on the ballot. Voting for elected officials that support reform is extremely important too.

#2) Contact your elected officials

Whether your elected officials support reform or not, it's important to contact them early and often. In many states, elected officials are the only ones that have the power to change outdated cannabis laws.

In states that have a citizen initiative process, elected officials oversee the process, and equally important, oversee the implementation process for successful initiatives.

Elected officials keep track of how often they are contacted for a particular position. Some are going to be easier to educate on the topic of cannabis than others.

Arm yourself with the facts and educate your federal, state, and local elected officials. Be polite and stay on point. Passion is one thing, over the top rambling is another. Find a balance.

#3) Volunteer in the name of cannabis reform

Volunteering for a cannabis campaign or reform organization is a great way to help the cause in a way that doesn't cost money.

If you don't have money, chances are you do have time and skills, and they can be put to great use by organizations and/or campaigns.

I also urge people to volunteer in their areas outside of the cannabis world. I often drive past streets that have been 'adopted' by cannabis companies and organizations. It makes me smile every time I see a sign like that, and I know I'm not the only one.

The cannabis community is capable of doing amazing things, and volunteering outside of the cannabis world is a great way to highlight that. It has the power to change minds in the community where the volunteering is occurring.

#4) Tell your personal story

People from all generations are finding great benefit from cannabis.

Personal stories are very powerful. If you are reading this, chances are that the cannabis plant has touched your life in a very positive way.

Share the story or stories of how cannabis has helped you. Putting a face to the reform effort is important. Personal connections to cannabis consumers helps change minds.

Putting a face to prohibition is very powerful too. If you have been harmed by prohibition, tell those stories too. It's easy for people to fear something that they don't feel they relate to. When someone finds out that someone they care for has been harmed by prohibition, it usually changes their perspective.

#5) Be a good representative of the cannabis plant

When people think of you and your support for cannabis, do they have a good image in their minds, or one that is less than desirable?

Whether you like it or not, cannabis opponents lump all cannabis consumers into one category, and apply anything and everything related to cannabis consumers to the cannabis plant.

One of the best things you can do to support cannabis reform is be a good person, active in your community, and be a good steward of the cannabis plant. It doesn't cost a dime!

#6) Be present and heard at public hearings and meetings

Public hearings, public meetings, and cannabis forums are held regularly all over America. Knowledgeable cannabis supporters should be at each and every one of them.

Cannabis opponents are often outnumbered at these types of situations, but they are also often given preferential treatment as far as time allotted to speak and provide information.

In non-legal states, these types of public opportunities are vital to reform efforts, as they are often covered by some type of media and usually have people in attendance that are on the fence about cannabis.

In legal states, especially those that just voted to legalize adult-use or medical cannabis use, these meetings are extremely important as they are how the rules will be crafted that will govern cannabis use in those states.

The rule-making process is part of what I refer to as the 'second phase' of reform. Opponents don't give up after Election Day. Instead, they move their fight to the rule-making process. Be present and be heard. It's free!

#7) Spread the word of reform on social media

Social media can be a powerful tool for reform.

For better or worse, more and more people get much of their information from social media these days, including information about cannabis policy.

Spreading the word of reform on social media is one of my favorite ways to help reform efforts in a way that doesn't cost money. Internet access costs money in some instances, but using free WiFi to plug reform on social media is free.

The use of Reddit.com is why Jeff Mizanskey is a free man in Missouri right now, instead of sitting in a jail cell serving a life sentence for cannabis, as he had for over two decades.

Mr. Mizanskey's story went viral with the help of people on Reddit. The increased eyeballs helped put pressure on the state of Missouri to grant Mizanskey a parole hearing, which he was granted.

In Oregon, social media is one of the biggest reasons why anti-cannabis opponent Dwight Holton was denied the Attorney General position, which he would have no doubt used to harm cannabis policy in Oregon if he had succeeded.

Activists led by the late-great Jim Greig and Students for Sensible Drug Policy used social media to make the race a national story -- quite the feat for a primary race in the ho-hum state of Oregon!

Social media helps get the word out, and helps activists organize. If you aren't able to attend an event or participate in a call to action, sharing it on social media potentially puts those efforts in front of people that can do something.

***

When I was pursuing my bachelors degree in public policy, my favorite professor always had a saying, "The two most important things in politics are money, and money.'

Money will always play a very big role when it comes to politics, cannabis politics included. However, that doesn't mean that just because you don't have much money that you can't help.

Above are seven ways that Green Flower encourages people with and without financial means to help end cannabis prohibition. If you have any others to add, by all means please do in the comments so that others can benefit from your knowledge.


Knowledge of Cannabis Fundamentals Is Important for Everybody

The online Cannabis Fundamentals Certificate Program covers everything you need to know about the essentials of cannabis. Cannabis history, science, botany, products, effects, dosing, and much more.

Discover the Benefits with this Free Brochure Download