Throughout history, grassroots organizations have played a significant role in progressing social and cultural thought by speaking out against political issues. Entire movements have been birthed from the humble but powerful gathering of like-minded individuals with a single focus to positively effect the future.
Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), an international organization ran by students from around the world, has a lofty goal to end cannabis prohibition and the War on Drugs. The grassroots organization serves as a platform that allows high school and college students to participate in hands-on, political activism surrounding the legalization of cannabis. The group is involved in many faucets of marijuana policy reform at a national and local level including decriminalization, medical marijuana, marijuana legalization and regulation.
The group recently traveled to D.C. to meet with elected officials to urge their support for an important piece of federal marijuana legislation called the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act (H.R. 1523). If passed, the bill would create an exemption in the Controlled Substances Act for anyone acting in compliance with state marijuana laws, meaning if an individual is following state law, he or she would not be prosecuted and imprisoned by the federal government. This legislation is of a paramount importance to the marijuana community as the number of medical and recreational marijuana states continually grow, and dispensaries and grow facilities within these states continue to get raided at a federal and state level, despite following the state law.
The November election will determine much of what each state’s laws and regulations will entail moving forward. Because of this, chapters of the SSDP throughout the United States have united to create a phone banking campaign in which student club members from different regions are reaching out to voters in Alaska, Oregon, Florida and Washington, D.C. to promote recreational and medical marijuana ballot measures within their districts.
The SSDP has also starting canvassing campuses in Florida to spread awareness about Amendment 2 for medical marijuana, in Washington D.C. for Initiative 71 for recreational marijuana legalization and in Oregon on Measure 91 for recreational marijuana legalization.
These grassroots efforts to influence the future of cannabis legislation may have a major impact on how younger voters choose to vote. Surveys have already shown that millennials, adults ages 18 to 29, overwhelmingly support legal cannabis, making the idea of a recreational market in a few new states seem much more likely. With advocates, patients, collectives and organizations continuing to fight the good fight, marijuana policies around the globe are sure to shift.
How are you helping to change cannabis legislation? Let us know how you’re making a difference in the comments.