By John Payne
Happy New Year to all of Missouri's cannabis law reformers! Last year was the best year for our cause in Missouri's history, and I believe we will make 2015 even better --- and then top that again in 2016.
The Missouri General Assembly begins their 2015 session tomorrow, Wednesday, January 7, and I am extremely excited about our prospects of advancing reforms through the legislature this year. I believe we have a fighting chance at passing both industrial hemp and robust medical cannabis legislation this session.
We pursue those goals as worthy ends in themselves, but they will also build momentum and public support for legalization. Moreover, any reforms passed by the legislature this session will inform the changes we make to subsequent drafts of a 2016 initiative petition, as we want the initiative that we ultimately pursue to mesh with any new cannabis laws in the state.
Of course, in order to pass any reforms through the Missouri legislature, these bill will require substantial support from Republicans, as Republican super-majorities control both the Missouri House and the Senate. Traditionally, Republicans have been more hostile to cannabis law reform than Democrats, but I believe many Republican legislators have begun to remember their party's limited government philosophy and warmed to the issue.
We have made tremendous progress in educating legislators over the last two years, but continued progress will require continued dedication and hard work. In order to win reforms --- whether through the legislature or at the ballot box --- Missourians from across the state must join together to create it!
You can help create that change by contacting your legislators through both email and phone calls, meeting with your legislators in Jefferson City or in their home districts, writing letters to the editor of your local paper, and by encouraging your friends and neighbors to do the same. Some of those tasks can seem overwhelming to people who are new to the legislative process, but we will gladly help guide and coordinate those activities:
- Next week, we will launch our new advocacy pages that will allow you to email your legislators with ease.
- We will notify our mobile subscribers when their legislators are facing important votes and connect your calls directly to their offices. (Subscribe to the mobile campaign by texting "SMC" to 420420!)
- We will help edit letters to the editor and find the best paper in which to publish it. If you are interested in writing a letter to your local paper, contact Director of Research Aaron Malin at Aaron@ShowMeCannabis.com.
- We will be organizing many trips to Jefferson City to talk to legislators face-to-face, and if you are willing to make the trip, please email me, and I am happy to add you to our list! And that goes double if you are a potential medical cannabis patient or farmer interested in cultivating industrial hemp.
But in order to provide those services, we need financial support from people like you! Please consider signing up as a recurring contributor of $20, $10, or even just $5 a month. Even small amounts each month can add up across many contributors and over time.
And, to be successful, we will need the contribution to add up, as I anticipate we will spend upwards of $50,000 during this legislative session.
- $10,000 on coordinating, transporting, and (sometimes) feeding constituents who make the trip to Jefferson City to talk to their legislators.
- $15,000 on advertising on radio and our four billboards located in Kansas City, Saline County, Springfield, and Jefferson City, which will help us to continue building our coalition of supporters across the state.
- $7,500 for access to the software that powers our mobile campaign and letters to legislators.
- $5,000 to edit and coordinate a campaign of letters to the editor.
- $10,000 to continue and expand the spectacular research from Aaron Malin into the lack of oversight and accountability among Missouri's drug task forces.
- $5,000 to finish the overhaul of our website initiated this fall.
That is why we are announcing our Winter Pledge Drive to raise $50,000 over the next month. If you value the work that Show-Me Cannabis performs, I hope you will support that work in whatever way you can.
If you have time, help by communicating with your legislators, writing letters to your local paper, and visiting Jefferson City with us. If you have money, make a contribution of $25 or $50 now or pledge $10 or $20 each month. As in the past, we will count recurring contributions as five times more valuable than a one-time contribution, so a $20 pledge will count as $100 to our goal!
Over the course of the next month (and beyond), we will be sending out many emails detailing all the ways that you can get involved this year. We have before the greatest opportunity to reform Missouri's cannabis laws that any of us have ever seen. I sincerely hope that we will all work together and use every resource at our disposal to take full advantage of that opportunity.
Please do not miss out on it.
Source: Show Me Cannabis