Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, and other famous comedians are backing a new campaign hoping to encourage voters to show their support for federal cannabis legalization.
Several massive adult-use and medical cannabis corporations, including industry giants Canopy Growth, Curaleaf Holdings, Cronos Group, and PharmaCann, have banded together with the US Cannabis Council to launch the new “Cannabis In Common” campaign. The campaign has set up a website allowing voters to easily send letters to their elected officials demanding support for several federal marijuana reform bills currently being debated in Congress.
“We just feel there’s a larger, untapped group of individuals that we would love to see weigh in,” explained Steve Hawkins, CEO of the US Cannabis Council, to the Associated Press.
To help advocate for the campaign, the coalition drafted comedians like Sarah Silverman, Seth Rogen, and Jessimae Peluso to help publicize their efforts. “Americans can’t agree on anything, can we? Is it ‘gif’ or ‘jiff’? Are hotdogs sandwiches? Is wrestling a sport?” Silverman quipped in an animated video, according to Marijuana Moment. “Fortunately, there’s at least one thing most Americans have in common: more than two-thirds of us agree cannabis should be legalized, and we have a real shot at getting federal legalization done now if we speak up.”
As a comedian, cannabis advocate, and weed business owner, Rogen is also well suited to campaign for legalization. “With the Senate about to consider a landmark bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level and wipe cannabis convictions from thousands of people’s records, their silence could end up being the difference,” he said in his video. “But here’s the thing about elected officials: they actually spend most of their time worrying about getting reelected. So when their inboxes and their phone lines are blowing up with constituents all rallying behind something specific, that is when things actually start to happen.”
Despite a common goal of federal legalization, several powerful cannabis advocacy groups, including NORML and the Drug Policy Alliance, are not backing the campaign. These groups have cited concerns over the fact that the effort is driven by large businesses standing to make huge profits from federal legalization, and instead prefer to focus on individual initiatives that would best address the damages inflicted by the War on Drugs.
“For us, it’s not just about getting federal legalization over the finish line,” said Maritza Perez, Director of the Office of National Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, to the Associated Press. “We have a very specific constituency that we are fighting for, and that’s people who have been impacted by prohibition.”
For the first time in US history, Congress is gearing up to debate three separate federal legalization bills. Last year, the House of Representatives voted to approve the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act, which would federally deschedule cannabis and implement comprehensive restorative justice programs. House Democrats have reintroduced the bill this year, and House Republicans are ready to drop their own, slightly more conservative cannabis reform bill.
And in the Senate, Chuck Schumer is spearheading another progressive legalization measure, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act. Unfortunately, President Biden continues to oppose full federal legalization, and may well choose to veto one of these bills if it passes. But as the Cannabis In Common campaign points out, that veto would go against the wishes of the majority of people who elected him to office.