As as avid cannabis consumer, I've recently found myself being more and more interested in getting involved in the fight for legal cannabis. What organizations or groups are out there that are already involved in cannabis activism? How can I join in and help make some much needed change in the industry?
— Fight the Power
There is no better time to get involved in cannabis activism than now. Not only is it necessary as this industry hits its stride, but seeing as cannabis is still illegal in most states and on a federal level, there is clearly much work to be done.
One of the great things about our current canna-zeitgeist, though, is that there are no shortage of advocacy groups who focus on a whole myriad of issues within the community. While many cannabis organizations have actually been around for decades, others formed more recently. Regardless, they all can use the support! Here's a beginner's guide to some pro-cannabis activist groups that you may want to get involved with.
Issues they work on: Changing legislation and policy, registering voters, working with politicians
Perhaps the most well-known of cannabis advocacy groups, NORML is the premiere organization when it comes to everything related to the law. If you have any legal questions, NORML is the place to start. On their site alone, you can find the cannabis laws for every state, check out their cannabis research library, and find concrete action steps you can take to help support the legalization movement, both on the federal and state level.
If you're a legal eagle, budding lawyer, or just want to help get legislation changed, then NORML is an excellent group to get started with. Their years of experience ensures that they know what they're talking about, and you can rest assured that they are providing you with the most up-to-date legal information available when it comes to cannabis.
Marijuana Policy Project
Issues they work on: Policy and legal changes specifically related to issues like medical cannabis, decriminalization, legalization, and criminal justice reform
The other big name in the cannabis legislation game is the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). And, one of the great aspects of their organization is that you can be as involved as you'd like. If you're not sure where to start, check out their Take Action page to see the range of areas you can get involved in. Why not begin simply by reaching out to your local representatives on some of these issues? MPP has a free, automated system that helps you contact your state and national representatives to ask them about cannabis-related policies. If you're ready for more, become a dues-paying member of MPP, or contact them to see if any of your professional skills may be useful in various actions the group is taking.
Issues they focus on: Connecting, educating, inspiring, and empowering women to influence and succeed in the cannabis industry
There are also more specialized cannabis groups, like Women Grow, whose main purpose is to help women in the cannabis industry network and support each other. Women Grow offers a membership plan, and by being involved you will have access to other female cannabis professionals who are paving the way in this budding industry. You can get or become a mentor, and have access to summits, workshops, and conferences. While this may not be direct action at its core, any organization that works to promote the success and proliferation of women in any industry is truly doing much needed work.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy
Issues they focus on: Updating campus policy to reflect nationwide legalization efforts, encouraging an open dialogue about students and psychoactive substances, ending the War on Drugs
Still in School? Why not check out Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). Since 1998, the group's main focus has been on dismantling the War on Drugs and replacing it with sensible policy rooted in evidence. Instead of Just Say No, say yes to finding your local chapter of SSDP, or even start your own if there isn't one in your immediate area. The group has a number of campaigns going at any one time, so there is likely a cause or effort that pertains to your interests. College can be a time of personal growth and many students find themselves working hard towards changing the world, so why not change the way the world views cannabis?
Veterans Cannabis Group
Issues they focus on: Supporting and educating veterans about cannabis
There are many specialized groups doing amazing work surrounding cannabis access. One of them is the Veterans Cannabis Group, which does advocacy work for vets. Vets have their own unique issues, struggles, and challenges to deal with, including when it comes to cannabis, as many are at the mercy of the VA, a federal organization, which does not support use of the plant. If you are a vet or somebody who is interested in helping support them, check out VCG to see how you can help. In addition to providing support and resources, they host a monthly call to discuss advocacy and action steps at the local, state, and federal levels.
These are only some of the awesome organizations that are out there doing strong work to change cannabis policy, support marginalized groups, and work towards mass legalization. It also pays to look around your own community to see what local groups are out there stirring up some change!