By John Payne
Since it was founded two years ago, Show-Me Cannabis has dramatically advanced the cause of cannabis law reform in Missouri, and I believe that in the foreseeable future, this organization will lead a successful effort to legalize marijuana in this state.
That is a long term undertaking that will require substantial expenditures, which include (but are hardly limited to):
- Advertising across the state to build our base of supporters: We paid $1,500 for 300 ads on the Point in Saint Louis, and nearly 3,000 people signed up for our mobile campaign in response! The mobile campaign has proven to be one of our most effective advocacy tools, and promoting it with media across the state could build an unstoppable juggernaut for reform. We estimate that $25,000 will allow us to get our message to every corner of the state in a variety of media, with a goal of signing up 100,000 new supporters!
- Polling to assess the viability of a legalization campaign: A few months ago, we released polling showing that a majority of Missourians favor legalizing and regulating marijuana like alcohol. That surprised many people, including some very large potential donors, who had previously never considered that Missouri might be ready for such a reform. We have their interest, but they want to know that the poll wasn’t a fluke. That’s why we need to raise money for a new poll by a different firm (Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research) that will — hopefully — confirm that Missouri is ready for legalization. Polling does not come cheap, however, with a full poll conducted by GQRR costing upwards of $35,000.
- Signature Gathering: Once we commit to a legalization campaign, we will need to gather just over 160,000 valid signatures. Hiring a professional signature gathering firm to collect all those signatures will run around $900,000. We will certainly be able to lower that cost somewhat with our committed volunteer signature gatherers, but even so, it will be a costly endeavor.
- Media and Getting Out the Vote: The conventional wisdom holds that an initiative campaign needs to spend $200,000 per congressional district on media and getting out the vote to be successful. (And that figure is without any organized opposition; with organized opposition, we would have to spend the $200,000 per district and match our opponents dollar for dollar.) With eight districts in Missouri, we are looking at $1.6 million dollars to ensure a win.
That’s why I am asking you to make a commitment to cannabis law reform in Missouri by signing up for one of three contribution levels. Those who contribute to organization — whether financially or through time as a volunteer — are its lifeblood, so each level gives contributors ever greater ways of signaling their involvement to others and giving feedback and input on the direction of the organization:
- Show-Me Cannabis Club ($10 a monthor a$100 one-time donation): Gives you access to a monthly webchat with board members, and I will mail you a SMC wristband with a handwritten thank you note.
- Cannabis Freedom Fighter ($20 a monthor a$200 one-time donation): Gives you a monthly webchat and wristband as well as a T-shirt and free admission to an annual strategy session with board members and key legislators in December.
- Cannabis Crusaders ($100 a monthor a$1,000 one-time donation): First and second level incentives as well as free admission to our conferences and post-conference fundraising dinners and an annual contributor and volunteer recognition event.
As I mentioned, supporters can also become part of these groups by contributing their time, for instance, by organizing a town hall or fundraising event.
In the last two years, we have brought decriminalization to the center of Missouri’s largest metropolitan area, created a consistent and recognizable presence in Jefferson City that has brought serious consideration to our ideas, and generated literally hundreds of media stories on an issue that was previously all but ignored.
Together, we have earned a great deal of political momentum, and now is the time to build this organization into one that can shock Missouri’s political establishment and the world by legalizing cannabis in Missouri.Please join us!