How To Get Involved In Drug Policy & Marijuana Legalization Activism

We are at a critical point in the history of the drug war, the beginning of it’s end, though it is far from over. A great-deal of freedom-loving activists from around the world have contributed to the triumphs of marijuana decriminalization and legalization, but there is still a lot of road to walk. And we need soldiers to walk this road, which is why this guide exists. Keep on reading to find out how you can get started in making a positive change in the world by becoming a drug policy activist.

One sad truth that is often neglected even in the pro-marijuana movement: Freedom-exercising citizens are still seeing jail/prison time for dealing, buying, and using relatively harmless illicit drugs like LSD, magic mushrooms, and MDMA (even when paired with relatively dangerous drugs like cocaine and heroine – which carry the majority of the weight of the damage caused by illicit drugs – the rate at which illicit drugs kill people is shockingly small compared to other more common causes of death like prescription drug abuse, auto accidents, tobacco, alcohol, suicide, and even sexual behavior). Our government is working harder than ever to persecute innocent citizens who choose to indulge in recreational drugs that are far safer than the legal varieties, and marijuana users know this better than anybody else (except for perhaps crack addicts). Drug policy activism begins with marijuana, but it cannot be solely about marijuana. All the hypocrisies, racism, and dangers associated with prohibition apply to the prohibition of any substance in the US Drug War, and we need your help to stop prohibition. Here’s how you can get started in your neighborhood:

1. The most important thing anyone can do to end the drug war is to support the search for truth and the improvement of the education system because truth – like good – will always prevail against lies and ignorance. Those of you that are highly successful/educated (like the late Francis Crick) that use safer drugs need to speak up in support of your drug of choice. It is your body, and in this country you have a God-given right to use it as you will without government intervention. Be honest about your drug use with your family, and stop hiding like a paranoid lazy stoner. We need the geniuses to stand up and start talking. We do tons of damage to our families and our society when we hide our safer-drug use because we openly promote tobacco, alcohol, and the social harms of prohibition while hiding the benefits of an educated and thoughtful drug habit. And if you don’t know the benefits/harms of your drug-of-choice/drug-you-hate, do us all a favor and do some research before you start promoting/denouncing substances, concepts, and policies you don’t understand.

2. Join and financially support an activist organization like NORML, LEAPMPP, or SSDP. Learn about their agenda and other relevant news-items by checking into their blogs on a regular basis. Get involved with the local events they promote. Every head counts at marches, rallies, and protests. If you’re seeking a career in politics, non-profits like these are a great way to get started, so don’t be shy and give somebody a call.

3. If an activist organization doesn’t have a chapter in your area, consider starting a chapter. For college students, the Students for Sensible Drug Policy has infiltrated several campuses around the nation, but there are still many that lack the presence of an on-campus drug policy activism group. For good cops, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is another group that is making waves in the drug war, so consider starting a chapter in your area if it’s missing one. For non-cops and non-students, NORML and MPP are pro-marijuana groups open to everyone, though they also have college-campus chapters.

4. If you get a chance to serve on a jury for a drug-related case, take a stand against the drug war by refusing to find the defendant guilty. An incredible power and responsibility we hold as citizens is jury-duty, and the more often we refuse to convict drug-criminals, the more often we save others like ourselves. We need to show the  judges, the DEA ,and local police forces that we find these laws to be unjust.

5. The pen is mightier than the sword, so a computer with web-access must be mightier than a machine gun. Blog, write, and talk, talk, talk about the incredible failure that is the drug war. Some of your family members and friends may get sick of hearing it, but countless lives have been ruined by this monster and your life (or the life of someone you know) may be next. Write-in to magazines and newspapers to dispute lies and ignorance. Make sure that your friends and family members understand their constitutional rights. Make yourself a beacon of light in a dark world by spreading truth everywhere you go, and if you have any sort of fame or significant presence on the internet, use it to speak out against the drug war. Even if you’re just a drug-addicted, low-life rock-star, someone out there thinks you’re important enough to listen to. At the same time, don’t go barking up the wrong tree. Educate yourself on the issues, drugs, and policies you like or don’t like, and use your natural talents, acquired skills, and positions-of-power to further the cause. In other words, don’t go blogging about this stuff just because I said it’s a good idea (without a steady audience, a blog is like a tree falling in the middle of an uninhabited forest – no one cares); instead, be thoughtful about how you can use your time and effort effectively. So maybe a stand-alone blog isn’t such a great idea for most folks, but you might have hundreds of friends on Facebook or MySpace that would pay attention to your blurbs, click on your links, and take you seriously. However you spread-the-word, just be thoughtful about how you do it, and don’t waste your time talking to walls.

6. Taking the pen-is-mightier-than-the-sword theme in another direction, it is terribly important that you write your senators, congressman, etc. on issues that matter to you. Politicians don’t like to become unpopular, so the more of us that write in, the more likely they’ll think about our desires the next time they legislate.

7. Vote! I think this one is self explanatory.

8. Dress the part. The majority of the public will not take seriously a red-eyed stoner in cargo shorts, a cheap hat, and a t-shirt emblazoned with marijuana leaves. The reality is that looks are not always truth, but people tend to really notice when looks and truth line-up perfectly. If you’re intelligent, lack in laziness, and have something important to say, as an activist, people are much more likely to take you seriously if you show up in a stylish suit despite the substance of your words.

Now, “I’d like to get involved, but I just have no idea how to get started,” is no longer a viable excuse when you think about getting involved in drug policy activism. I’ve given you 8 possibilities, so choose two or three and get started.

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Comments
9 Responses to “How To Get Involved In Drug Policy & Marijuana Legalization Activism”
  1. rhayader27510 says:

    Good piece Danny. One of the issues I’ve had is difficulty choosing between the different reform organizations to support. I always feel like giving my money to one group slights the others, and I’m never quite sure which of the organizations out there will do the most with my donation. Also, beyond one local state senator, I’ve had zero luck getting any positive feedback from politicians, Democrat or Republican. Oh well, at least they know we’re out there, even if they disagree.

    Oh, and thanks for mentioning the very serious criminal sanctions against the use of other psychedelics, most of which have not gained the tacit societal acceptance enjoyed by cannabis. Psychedelics and hallucinogens are quite safe, and are great tools for intense introspection. Their continued derision is a huge blind spot in our society.

  2. Alaskan-Dad says:

    I think that Peyote deserves a mention, as it has been used by Native Americans as a religious sacrament for thousands of years. Peyote is legal in most countries though in the USA where it grows naturally it is illegal!
    Great article, I started a blog last month to help add to the momentum of “Taxation instead of Prohibition”. So add blogging to your list, because MSM is spreading lies to cause FUD we need to get the truth out about the safer nontoxic Medicinal Herb Marijuana, Read this:
    http://alaskanactivism.blogspot.com/2010/06/mmj-ounce-of-prevention-is-worth-pound.html

    • Danny Mendez says:

      I agree. Peyote deserves a mention. I felt like I didn’t hit all the useful/safe-ish psychedelics. I think DMT deserves a mention too, but that one definitely requires some research/guidance (above all other psychedelics) before partaking.

  3. Danielle says:

    I agree about also talking about LSD and magic mushrooms. I’m having trouble getting behind ecstasy though. Experiences shape our views, of course, and the only connection I have had with it is when a young girl took it while we were in middle school, and subsequently went brain dead (not immediately of course). So it may take me, and others, awhile to get behind that one :/

    • rhayader27510 says:

      Like most psychedelics, Ecstasy is actually a very safe substance when used correctly. David Nutt — the professor who got canned from the UK government for approaching the question of the relative dangers of drugs scientifically rather than politically — once wrote a tongue-in-cheek article about a surge in “Equasy” leading to the deaths of many teens. He was talking about horse riding, which causes far more injuries and deaths among teens every year than ecstasy. It was a great demonstration of how statistics and scare tactics can be used convincingly to show evidence of a problem where there is none.

      In general, one should be careful when attributing magical powers to simple substances, a practice sometimes called “voodoo pharmacology” by drug war critics. Any recreational drug is safe when used responsibly, just like alcohol is.

      • Danielle says:

        Yeah. Thanks. I just don’t know much other than what I’ve come across, and the ecstasy death was like a huge thing, even got nationwide attention. Sadly, I guess even for me, someone wary of alcohol in general, is so used to alcohol consumption being seen as normal, that it’s easy to forget, when reading about ecstasy, that alcohol kills people if not used safely as well.

        Also, on the Erowid site, they say that there is a rare 2 in 100,000 chance of dying, and I’m not sure if they mean just RANDOMLY, a lottery chance of doing so, or if they’re inferring that there’s a chance of dying when using lethal amounts/using it when mixed with something more dangerous. That “2 in 100k” chance is what’s freakin me out haha. Like, if you take the correct, safe dosage, of pure ecstasy, if that means you have that random chance.

  4. Peter Guerra says:

    It is time to add the Oathkeepers movement onto the list of MPP NORML LEAP and SSDP. Cast a bigger net , get a bigger net result, you know?

    • Danielle says:

      Oathkeepers? The ones who believe they’ll be put in U.S. concentration camps?

      Casting a wider net is one thing, but associating with groups like that will only hurt. If I was wary on pot legalization, and saw a group like them supported it, I’d see it as a red flag. Get people on our side, but don’t stoop down to the point where a group listed under the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hatewatch” is an ally.

  5. Andrea says:

    Thanks for finally writing about >How To Get Involved In Drug Policy & Marijuana Legalization Activism | The
    Cannabis Post <Liked it!

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    Editor: Joseph Klare (The Pothead Pundit)
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