Partisan deadlock and legislative delays have disenchanted an entire generation toward the lawmaking process—especially when it comes to understanding how to change a local cannabis law. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you might think.
Your Guide For How To Change A Local Cannabis Law
But the situation is entirely different at the local level. In city governments across the United States, cannabis advocates are making a real difference. If you’ve ever wondered how to change a local cannabis law, this guide is for you.
We’ll take a look at many of the actions and paths you can take to change a cannabis law where you live.
Even if you have no experience in politics, our overview will help you figure out how to leave your mark.
Contrary to outdated stereotypes about weed users being apathetic, cannabis advocates are among the most actives citizens in the United States. Fighting for change takes determination and patience.
But at the local level, it’s much easier to make an impact. Here’s how to change a local cannabis law in a city, country, or district where you live.
The first step in changing a local weed law is an obvious one: Do your homework.
Chances are, there are already cannabis advocacy groups near you. They’ve probably taken the initial steps toward enacting change.
But they need your support! Find a way to join and volunteer your time with other people in your community fighting to change cannabis law.
Secondly, you should read up on the current cannabis law in your area. You can access online databases of federal, state, and local cannabis law.
This will give you an idea of pending legislation. It will also allow you to find out what to support and what to fight against.
Now that you’ve got your facts straight, it’s time to take the plunge. Once you’ve identified a specific issue or law, there are several ways to get involved.
Knowing how to change a local cannabis law means knowing what skills you have to offer and how much time and effort you have to commit.
Cannabis law is of course much more complex than simply pro/con, for or against, legal or illegal.
Often, the thing that would make the biggest difference at a local level requires taking a different approach than anticipated.
Maybe you’re passionate about decriminalizing marijuana. If so, try to link up with people working on reforming cannabis law and criminal justice-related issues.
Or perhaps you’re dedicated to improving access to medical cannabis services. Find other patient advocates and caregivers who share your views.
You could also champion the business side of things, and work with people who are trying to make rules, licensing protocols, and tax law more business- and consumer-friendly.
Once you’ve identified a cause that’s close to you and found a way to get involved that fits your strengths and goals, it’s time to find allies to join you.
This is often the hardest part about figuring out how to change a local weed law. Where are the people who could work with you, and how will you find them?
The only thing to do is put yourself out there. Social media can be a great way to get the word out about your activities. But “likes” aren’t votes. You’ve got to go out into the community.
Start by attending local city council meetings. Go to listen at first, and see what issues are under discussion. Take notes, introduce yourself, and seek out people with similar concerns.
Often, city council meetings will allow public input. This is a great time to build support for your cause. You’ll only have a few minutes to speak, so prepare a short, to-the-point statement that explains the issue you want to address.
Don’t forget to make it known that you’re looking for allies and support, and give people a way to contact you.
Once you’ve built a core group of supporters dedicated to changing local cannabis law, make your platform heard.
Attend community meetings and local gatherings. Tell people to spread the word. Issue a press release. Or arrange for a meeting with the editorial board of your local newspaper or media outlet.
Pen an editorial yourself, if you have to. Just amplify your voice any way you can think of.
Finally, use high-impact stories that have already opened hearts and minds to reconsider their stance on marijuana.
Stories about the wide-ranging medical benefits of cannabis, its safety compared to other legal drugs, and the economic benefits of legal cannabis have all persuaded reluctant audiences in the past. Use these powerful narratives to your advantage, too.
Once you’ve made your presence felt and gathered enough momentum raising awareness, it’s time to get serious. And that means actually drafting a legislative initiative or referendum you want to be enacted.
Now is also the time to reach out to all the city council members whose support you think you can win. You’ll need them on your side when it comes to the difficult process of passing a new law.
But it’s also important to connect with city council members who you know will oppose you.
Hear them out, and learn what’s holding them back. Craft your arguments to address their concerns and see what you can do to find a workable compromise.
Or, you could take another approach and become a city council member yourself. Many people have had success getting elected to local office on a pro-cannabis platform.
On the inside, you can enact serious change and rally other council members to your position of legalization, medical access, or whatever weed-related issue you champion.
Get Ready For The Long Haul
The open participation of the democratic process is one of the ideals of the U.S., but it often means that things move at a sluggish pace. And that’s a good thing. It gives you time to build support and write a cannabis law that will be effective and successful.
Knowing how to change a local cannabis law means understanding that patience is a virtue. Know that you’re likely to experience delays, setbacks, and losses.
Local politics moves much faster than at the state and federal level, but changing a local cannabis law can take up to a year or longer.
Just remember that if it weren’t for the determination and commitment of thousands of other cannabis advocates out there, we wouldn’t have the landslide of pro-cannabis legislation we’ve seen in the past few years.
Change is possible. And if you’re fighting for what you believe in, it’s inevitable.
Final Hit: How To Change A Local Cannabis Law
Politics is all about leveraging connections between the people who want change and the people with the power to make it happen.
Whether you become someone with that power or someone who knows how to pull the right levers, making an impact on local cannabis law is well within the realm of possibility.
Here’s a quick synopsis of our guide on how to change a local cannabis law:
- Educate yourself about local weed laws and identify an issue that’s close to you and that you really believe in.
- Get involved with cannabis advocacy groups that are already in your area, and start building a network of support.
- Amplify your message by making your voice heard and getting your vision for a better cannabis future out there for everyone to see.
- Take your proposal to the halls of city government by drafting a ballot initiative or referendum.
- Rally support from elected officials, and work hard to convince those who challenge your views on cannabis. Or, get elected yourself!
- Finally, be patient, and know that the lawmaking process takes time. Hang in there!