By John Payne
It means that there are thousands of people out there eager to sign and support an initiative petition to legalize cannabis in Missouri.
However, as much as I hate to disappoint anyone, you can’t sign it just yet. We still have a great deal of work to do before we are ready to start gathering signatures, but rest assured that we continue to quietly prepare that.
Most of our newsletter articles in the past few months have focused on legislative activities because with Missouri’s brief legislative session, those stories develop and evolve very quickly. But, as the legislature has been enjoying their spring break this week, I thought it would be a good opportunity to update you on the initiative.
First, we don’t know precisely when we will start circulating the petition, as a number of factors are outside our direct control, but the goal is to submit a final version of our initiative as soon as possible after the legislative session concludes in late May. That will allow us to adapt our language to any new laws passed this session.
Furthermore, many people believe that all that you need to do to run a successful initiative campaign is file the initiative and start gathering signatures. True, that is all that is legally required, but an initiative campaign is a massive undertaking with a multitude of moving parts. If any of those parts malfunctions, the whole apparatus can break down.
That’s why we are assembling those parts now, so that when we launch, it will run smoothly and efficiently. In that spirit, here are a some of the more important tasks we have been working on mostly in the background for the past few months:
- Finding the right political consultants and signature gathering firm to manage the campaign. These people live and breathe campaigns, so the right teams can grind out even a tough campaign for a win. However, the wrong choice can lead to failure, even if the campaign is well-funded. That is what we saw with the early voting initiative last year, which failed to qualify for the ballot despite spending $700,000 on signatures.
- Polling research not only to help guide revisions to our current initiative but also to teach us what messages Missourians find most persuasive on this issue.
- Building a coalition that transcends political party, ideology, region of the state, age, or any of the other typical fault lines, so that we can successfully communicate with voters of all stripes as the election approaches.
Each of these tasks are absolutely necessary to our success in November of 2016, and none of them are possible without financial support from people like you. And, as the initiative campaign turns more intense later this year and into 2016, it will also consume vastly more resources.
To be successful, the campaign will likely need to spend upwards of $5 million between now and Election Day 2016, with roughly a million going towards collecting signatures and the rest spent on communicating our message with the public. That is no small sum, and that is why we must start building our war chest now!
Please make a contribution of $10, $25, $50, or even $100 today!Or, if you are able to make a reasonable monthly pledge of $10, $25, or $50, that will amplify your impact over the long haul of the campaign.
I know that when dealing with numbers like $5 million it seems hard to imagine how your contribution of $10 or $25 can make a difference, but even small things can have huge cascading effects.
For example, a domino can knock over another domino roughly one and a half times its size. So, if you start with a domino that is only five millimeters tall and place it next to 29 dominoes, each one and a half times larger than the last, that tiny domino could knock over the Empire State Building. (To see a demonstration of this effect at work, check out this video here.)
Similarly, the more supporters contribute even a relatively small amount like $5, the more momentum it shows that we have, and that encourages other people to give larger amounts. That keeps the cycle spinning and gives the organization the resources we need to consign cannabis prohibition to the dustbin of history, where it rightfully belongs.
I contribute $50 each month, but I will be adding an extra $50 this month to help seed our initiative campaign. I sincerely hope that you will join me by making a $10, $25, or $50 contribution or a monthly pledge now. If you would like to use PayPal, you can send a contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org, and our BitCoin information is accessible here.