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Support Medical Marijuana in Your State | Medical Marijuana Laws

Posted by Jason Draizin on 08/02/2010 in Medical Marijuana Laws

by Evan Nison

Evan is a Director of NY Patients Fist, the Ballot Initiative Coordinator for NORML-NJ, President of Ithaca College's chapter of SSDP, and the deputy field director for the Yes on 19 Campaign.

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 As a longtime cannabis law reform activist, I am often asked what people can do to help support medical marijuana in their own state. And they are often surprised to find out how easy it can be to make a difference in states with and without medical marijuana laws. Here are 5 easy ways to help patients in need get medical marijuana safely and legally.

 

1. Call, email, and write letters to your legislators urging them to support medical marijuana

There are many sites that make emailing and calling legislators extremely easy. NORML has one of my favorites. You can search by zip code or state, if there is something going on in your area it will actually have a pre-written email already drafted for you. If not, it will give you contact information for all of your representatives anyway. It’s as easy as a few clicks and really does make a difference. If you don’t tell your politicians how you feel, they can’t possibly know how to represent you.

 

2. Reach out to the press and spread your message

If you know a medical cannabis patient, or think you have a story that should be known to the world, write a press release or letter to the editor of your local paper about it! The press loves covering medical cannabis issues and is always looking for stories relating to marijuana. The more we give them, the more cannabis will become a mainstream issue. And don’t forget to encourage patients and supporters you know to do the same.

 

3. Start a PAC (Political Action Committee)

A Political Action Committee, or PAC can collect donations and then help finance, or campaign against, politicians. There are a few types of PACs, and for more information you can start your research at the Federal Elections Commission’s website. If you like the idea of starting a PAC but don’t have the time to start one, consider donating to one or contributing directly to supportive legislators. However, if you can, try letting them know that you are donating because they support marijuana reform.

 

4. If you live in a state without medical marijuana laws, ask your representatives to help pass a bill

Here is a link with every state’s legislature systems. Get to know the process a bill takes in your state, and then try to find a sponsor for a bill in both the Assembly (or your states equivalent) and the Senate. If you can only find a sponsor in one of the Houses, that is usually fine. Also, it is best to start with asking your own representative to sponsor the bill, if they say no, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask other supportive legislators to do it.

 

5.  If you live in an area where medical marijuana is legal, help to expand the law

If you live in a medical marijuana state you can always work to expand the current law.  It would involve a similar process to the previous entry (trying to pass a medical marijuana law) except you already have a head start. You can see who supports medical cannabis by looking at the sponsors and co-sponsors of the bill the bill that passed, and ask them to help you expand it.