Ballot initiatives in Colorado, Washington and Oregon could be the beginning of the end to an important pillar in the war on drugs: the criminalization of marijuana.
Neither candidate for the highest office in the land will discuss a policy favored by a solid majority of the American public — putting them both well outside the confines of popular opinion on the subject. Colorado, a hotly contested swing state and home of the first presidential debate this year, also happens to be home to Amendment 64 which would tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Somehow, neither candidate was asked about or spoke of the initiative while in Colorado, and has barely spoken of it if at all since.
For this and other reasons, many voters feel very left out of this election. Here in America, our choice is between candidates who are committed to talking over us rather than listening, refusing to address the concerns of the average citizen while instead projecting solutions for the ‘problems’ of their big donors on the rest of us. To them, this election is about meeting the needs of those who maintain their power, while finding ways to placate the rest of us just enough to stave off civil unrest – so if we want an end to prohibition, we’ll have to roll up our sleeves and do it ourselves.
Unfortunately, because neither candidate supports marijuana reform, and both oppose it with varying degrees of tenacity, the path forward on drug reform will not mirror that of movements for LGBTQ equality, which were able to rest election year concessions from the president by threatening to withhold their support. To the contrary, growing support among the public for marijuana reforms have been me with relatively no change in courage from the policial classes, which has in-turn forced marijuana reformers to make their appeals directly to voters.
Put simply and without exaggeration, an end to the prohibition of marijuana lays squarely in your hands, regardless of the state in which you reside.
If you live in one of the states bravely seeking to strike down prohibition this year than your mission is clear: you need to get every registered voter you know to cast their vote for reform — friends, family, colleagues. Just Say Now has the information you need to volunteer for the campaigns in these final weeks, whether it be calling neighbors, handing out flyers or sharing info online. If you’d like to volunteer, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you don’t live in these states and want to see marijuana reform in your own community, make no mistake: this is your time to act. If we can break the seal and legalize marijuana in at least one state this year, the impact on the 2014 election could be monumental — it could inspire other states to employ similar models and campaigns to strike down their own prohibitions, and build a challenge to the federal posture on marijuana laws (and other drug laws) that have destroyed lives and communities for over 30 years.
In the past month, Just Say Now has logged over 2,000 calls to voters in Colorado and Oregon, and will continue to push for the end to prohibition featured on several ballots throughout the nation. If we fail in these final weeks to reach out and speak to voters in Colorado, Washington and Oregon, it could be a serious set-back for the movement. This is an all-hands-on-deck moment for the marijuana movement; please help us do more by RSVPing to call voters, or by making a few calls right now in support of legalizing marijuana.