Today is National Voter Registration Day!
It seems it should go without saying. The right to vote (which isn't really a right, so much as a privilege) is our voice in a representative democracy. In case you've missed it, there have been voter suppression laws passed across the country this year in an effort to marginalize certain voices. Keeping in mind that the those who benefit from the status quo are trying to suppress your vote, exercising your ability to vote is more important than ever!
I recently started a political action committee with my good friend Sam Chapman, called Oregonians for Law Reform. Part of what we do, aside from raising money for advertising, is lobby politicians on issues such as marijuana law reform. Speaking with politicians, you'd be amazed at how many of them agree with our issue. They agree that marijuana prohibition has done nothing to deter use, been a complete waste of resources, and has actually led to a distrust and disrespect for law enforcement.
One of the things that makes politicians wary of coming out and endorsing our issue is that they need to know that they will be supported for the stances they take. Last May in Oregon, we proved with the Ellen Rosenblum victory that medical marijuana supporters are active, and that we vote. There is no doubt that her victory has helped other politicians in Oregon begin to understand the support that can be generated by marijuana law reformers. We have seen a host of mainstream endorsements in favor of Measure 80 recently; such as Co-Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee Peter Buckley, former Secretary of State Bill Bradbury, and Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard. Of course, two of those endorsements come from politicians currently out of office, or on their way out.
While speaking to a local politician recently, he told me, "Marijuana legalization is inevitable, it's not a matter of if, but when...". I couldn't manage to get an endorsement out of him, but I think I managed to get a little insight in that moment. Politicians as brilliant as President Obama (and this local politician), understand the lunacy of marijuana prohibition. What they don't understand is why enough voters (and policy reformers) haven't made the political field surrounding this issue a little easier to play on.
If we want to start to see the wave of endorsements from elected officials, we have to flex our political muscle. The only way to do that is to get registered to vote. Ultimately, that is the only way to hold politicians accountable.
So please, no matter where you live, take five minutes and get registered to vote. If you are a cannabis consumer who doesn't vote, you are part of the reason we still live under prohibition. Until enough voters begin to speak up and speak out how horrible prohibition is, politicians will continue to act like marijuana is hardly worth their time.
Will you help out the movement by registering 5 friends to vote today?? National Voter Registration Day is a day of empowerment! Go to http://NationalVoterRegistrationDay.com for more information about how to register people in your area.
If you're from Oregon, thanks to some forward looking politicians like Jefferson Smith, registering to vote and updating your information is just a few clicks away! Go to http://OregonVotes.org to make sure your voter information is updated, or to register for the first time.