How to Become a Better Cannabis Activist
March 3rd, 2017
The legal cannabis industry is at somewhat of a crossroads. Despite 29 states approving the use and sale of medical and/or adult use marijuana, the plant remains illegal at the federal level. What’s worse is that President Trump’s pick for Attorney General is staunchly anti-pot, although Trump is extremely pro-business and stated in the past that he would leave it to the states to decide how they want to approach this issue. Fortunately, more and more politicians (both Republican and Democrat), medical professionals, and the general public are beginning to come around on the subject of cannabis.
For those who are interested in becoming a cannabis activist, there has never been a more important time to join this movement. Several states are still working towards legalization and the more folks who are speaking out on marijuana’s place in society, the better. It’s important to note that the legal pot market is not just about catching a buzz – this is a life and death situation for thousands of patients across the country and the world who are not able to safely access this critical medicine. Additionally, states where cannabis is legal have seen an economic boom like no other.
Getting Started as a Marijuana Activist
People entering the world of cannabis activism should begin by educating themselves as much as possible. There is much to learn about marijuana – how the plant grows, the body’s endocannabinoid system, the positive effects of cannabis on patients, which ailments benefit most from the plant’s use, which states allow for the use or sale of medical/adult use, legislator’s stances on the subject, what is happening in states where cannabis isn’t legal yet, strains – the list goes on and on.
Coltyn Turner, a 17 year-old cannabis activist, has experienced the powerful impact this plant can have on patients.
“I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 11. After all of the pharmaceutical medications doctors’ prescribed didn’t work we had no choice but to try cannabis. I’m in remission from my Crohn’s because of the cannabis alone.”
Turner’s family had to uproot from their home and move to Colorado in order to obtain cannabis legally. Turner, along with this family, founded the group Colytn’s Crue, and now travels across the country to speak to legislators and the public about the powers of medical cannabis. He argues that knowledge is key in this fight.
“Find out what cannabis is for yourself, research it and educate yourself, have your own opinion.”
Jennessa Lea suffers from Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a painful condition that can affect the entire body including the joints. The disorder has no know cure.
“Due to reefer madness, I had heard many negative stories about cannabis, from it is a gateway drug, to it causes lung cancer,” Lea explains. “I was happy to find out both of these statements are not true, and cannabis could actually provide relief.
“I started educating myself on the endocannabinoid system, whole plant medicine, fully extracted cannabis oil, and many other things cannabis-related. The information I found said it was an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and analgesia! Say what? I was in!”
Jennessa quickly found herself becoming a powerful advocate for cannabis access.
“This whole experience set a fire in me and on May 6th, 2014 I showed up at the Minnesota State Capitol with my personal testimony in hand. I was determined to share my experience about cannabis and opiates with the legislators who were about to decide the legality of this life saving plant in Minnesota. And I did just that. I have been involved in cannabis activism ever since!”
Ways to Become More Active in the Cannabis Political Scene
There are tons of ways to get involved in your community as a marijuana activist. Check out different opportunities and see which ones may fit best for you and your schedule. Here are just a few of the things you can do to become more active in the pro-cannabis movement.
- Call and write federal and local legislators. Common Cause has a searchable feature that will help you find who your elected officials are and how to contact them
- Attend activist events. There are pro-cannabis groups all over the country, with many holding regular meetings and public events. Check out NORML, Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), or Illegally Healed.
- Write op-ed pieces. Submitting letters to the editor or opinion pieces to local and national newspapers, magazines, or blogs is a great way to inform and influence the general public. Stick to the most important aspects of legalization and how it has affected you.
- Donate to causes. If you can afford to toss a few bills towards legalization and patient access, do it! These organizations need funds in order to sustain and support patient access and legalization across the board. The organizations listed above are wonderful to donate to, and there are dozens of others across the country and the world.
It’s more important than ever for cannabis activists to speak out in support of this medicine. The responsibilities of activists is paramount, as this is a life or death situation for thousands of medical patients. For more tips on marijuana activism, check out the Drug Policy Alliance or NORML for tool-kits and how to get started on your journey.
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