By Show-Me Cannabis Regulation Executive Director John Payne
The wind is finally at our backs. Cannabis law reform is advancing across the country. A federal proposal to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana like alcohol was introduced in the House of Representatives this week. Although similar proposals have been introduced before, this time it is sparking widespread discussion -- both among the general public and the political class.
The momentum appears to be picking up in Missouri even faster. When Show-Me Cannabis was founded in the summer of 2011, this issue barely registered on Missouri's political radar. I will admit that I even had my doubts that we would be able to create serious changes. The 2012 campaign to legalize marijuana in Missouri was not successful in its ultimate goal, but it has opened up the discussion and set the stage for a multitude of smaller reforms across the state that can lead us towards full liberty and justice on this issue.
We have a great deal of momentum, and we want to keep building upon it by launching a full advocacy campaign for Representative Ellinger's decriminalization bill. The board has not had a chance to vote on a particular strategy yet, but here are some of the tactics we will be considering:
- Creating an advocacy page that will allow supporters to choose between several different letters and send them automatically to their state legislators.
- Hiring a firm to call thousands of voters across the state; identifying those who believe that cannabis possession should not be a criminal offense; and connecting them to speak with their legislators.
- Hiring a lobbyist to advance this bill in Jefferson City.
I will have more specifics as to the full cost of the strategy the board chooses, but to fully fund such a campaign, we will need to raise at least $10,000 over the next few months. We can do that, but only with sustained investments from people such as yourself. There are a number of ways that you can advance this reform:
- You can become a recurring contributor. Even just a small amount like $10 -- less than most people spend on a single meal at a restaurant -- can make a big difference in this fight over time.
- You can attend one of our upcoming events, such as the trivia nights in Springfield and Kansas City on March 2nd, Columbia on March 8th, and Saint Louis on April 5th.
- You can make a one-time contribution and give as often as you are able. We understand that not everyone can make a long-term financial commitment, but everyone who believes in this cause should contribute when possible.
I often hear people offer conspiracies as to why marijuana is still illegal. The beer companies spend tons of money opposing it, or the pharmaceutical companies don't want the competition from a medicine that anyone can grow. There may be some truth to these claims, but the biggest reason we are still suffering under cannabis prohibition is that many of those who want to end it do not contribute their time and resources into making that change a reality.
Approximately 20,000 Missourians every year are shackled on for the possession of cannabis. We need each and every one of you to join together to end that tragedy by investing with Show-Me Cannabis today. As the beloved Dr. Seuss character the Lorax says, "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."