In a society that couldn't hide its celebrity obsession if it tried, opinions of the famous - whether it rock star, movie star or athlete - tend to hold weight in the minds of those who admire these individuals. For better or worse.
This is what makes the newly launched Marijuana Majority a vital component of pushing cannabis legalization forward, and into the mainstream.
Founded by Tom Angell, who until recently was Media Relations Director for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Marijuana Majority is a website and social media movement that aims at compiling the ultimate list of celebrities, scientists, lawmakers, etc., who support an end to our failed war on cannabis.
The goal here is to "help more people understand the simple fact that supporting common sense solutions like regulating marijuana sales and ending marijuana arrests are mainstream positions and that there's no reason those who support reform should be afraid to say so", according to their website.
This is important. People need to understand that if they support the legalization of cannabis, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes, they're in the majority. If they need to be shown celebrities who are also part of the majority to understand that, than so be it.
Since their launch in October, the Marijuana Majority has been a huge success.
According to Tom Angell, who we had the opportunity to talk with, "over a quarter of a million people have visited the site. We've garnered over 25,000 fans on Facebook", he continues, "Facebook analytics tells us that during the week of the November election, our content was seen by 3.5 million people on Facebook alone."
In addition, the group has earned national media attention, becoming a key source for cannabis advocacy.
For Tom Angell, the idea is a few years in the making, though the implementation was quick; "I've known that the movement needs something like Marijuana Majority for a few years now, but it was only this summer that I really started putting some time into making it happen", he goes on, "With the help of a small team of other talented and dedicated activists, we were able to make it happen pretty quickly."
During the summer, Tom's group applied for a "Special Opportunities" grant from the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit, pro-legalization group based in New York City. Latching on to the idea, they "generously gave us the resources we needed to support the initial website launch", which, according to Tom, allowed them to hire web designers/engineers to get the site successfully launched.
Now, just several months later, the Marijuana Majority is up, running, and loaded with potential.
According to Tom, their mission moving forward is clear; "Marijuana Majority exists to help people understand the very simple idea that marijuana reform is a mainstream, majority-support issue and that no one who thinks these laws need to change should be afraid to say so."
In addition to having this message reach the public, one of the primary goals for the Marijuana Majority is getting lawmakers to understand this as well. Tom tells us, "When you sit down in a room with a lawmaker or legislative staffer, many don't need to be convinced on the merits that reform is necessary. Our primary challenge is to help them understand that speaking out in favor of changing the marijuana laws is the politically smart thing to do." Noting recent polling, which shows a majority of Americans to be in support of legalizing cannabis, Tom is correct when he states "polls consistently show that a majority of voters want these laws to changed and will reward --- not punish --- politicians who take action. By shining a spotlight on prominent people who are speaking out for reform and are being praised for it, we aim to encourage even more people to start speaking out."
With this in mind, the Marijuana Majority is as much about reaching out and encouraging celebrities and lawmakers to support reform, as it is compiling a list of those who already do. Tom notes, "Whenever you visit the site, you'll see that we've selected a handful of prominent people who we believe are likely to support changing marijuana laws but just haven't been given the opportunity to say so publicly yet. We've made it easy for you to help "Get Out the Quote" by tweeting pre-written messages to these people with just a couple clicks", Tom continues, noting that, "When you and enough other supporters take action and reach out to these celebrities and elected officials with tweet after tweet about marijuana policy, they are sure to take note."
In addition, they'll soon be urging people to contact their local mayor, "We'll soon be launching a campaign that enlists our online supporters to help get their own mayors on record in favor of changing the marijuana laws. We think mayors are the ideal level of elected official to target: They are accessible enough to their constituents but influential enough to make headlines when they speak out", stated Tom, who continued, "We'll be creating tools and resources that make it easy for people to encourage their mayors to speak out, whether by phone, email, Twitter, talk radio call-ins or at personal appearances."
With a sleek website, a lot of momentum, and a great idea, the Marijuana Majority will continue to grow, and is likely to remain a key component of legalization moving forward.
Get involved, and don't be shy about the fact that if you support legalizing cannabis, you're no longer in the minority.
Source: The Joint Blog