Let’s Strive to End Marijuana Prohibition: Deschedule Cannabis, Congress!

Jan 7, 2021 | Featured, News

Let’s Strive to End Marijuana Prohibition: Deschedule Cannabis, Congress!

Jan 7, 2021

Need Inspiration? 

Find out WHY descheduling marijuana is so important

Your Members of Congress (MoC) work for you, so don’t be afraid to call and give them direction. (Your taxes pay for their wages and excellent healthcare!)

Simple Tips to Make Impactful Phone Calls 

  • You have two senators and one representative. To find out who they are and how to contact them, use Google, text your zip code to 520-200-2223, or find the entire slate from your Senator down to your City Councilmember; ContactingCongress.org is a comprehensive resource.
  • When you call, they will probably ask you for your Zipcode and possibly your address, so be ready to give those. Elected officials are only interested in your opinions if you are their constituent. Only call YOUR Member of Congress.
  • Call about ONE subject per call.
  • Ask for specifics like “please vote yes on H.R.3884 – MORE Act of 2020,” rather than just saying “legalize weed.” Check often to look for what is active right now because each new Congress starts from scratch on all bills.
  • Know your facts. Have the necessary information about your topic in front of you when you call. You should be able to specifically describe the topic you are calling about and what you think your legislator should do.
  • You do NOT need to tell the staffer WHY you support or oppose something, just that you support or oppose it. They’re counting how many people took each position.
  • If both relevant and impactful, tell your personal story about how cannabis policy reform affects you, but be brief! (The staffer rarely passes any info beyond the “support or oppose” tally unless it tugs heartstrings.)
  • Please be courteous and polite; staffers are people with families too. Be respectful regardless of which party they work for.
  • It is perfectly normal to freak out a little the first time. “Your voice may shake, and your tummy may quake, but your heartbeat won’t break, and in less than a minute, you will feel great! (Do it again!)” ~ Dale Sky Jones

Sample Scripts

Here are a few sample scripts, depending on your passion and purpose:

  • Good Morning! My name is (full name). I am a constituent of Senator/Representative (name)’s, and I live in (city), (state). My Zipcode is _____ (they will likely ask). I’m calling today to ask Senator/Rep _______  to support the next version of the MORE Act, and we must do better. I am calling to ask Senator/Rep (name) to support decriminalization and full descheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substance Act of 1970
  • Hello! My name is (full name), and I am one of Senator/Rep (name)’s constituents in (city), (state). My Zipcode is ______. I’m calling to thank the Senator/Rep for supporting the MORE Act in the Senate/House of Representatives. The next Congress must be allowed to debate and vote on this. I want him/her to know we have her/his back!
  • Hello! My name is (full name), and I am one of Senator/Rep (name)’s constituents in (city), (state). My Zipcode is ______. I’m calling to ask the Senator/Rep to insist the majority leader allow debate and a vote on the next iteration of the MORE Act. The next Congress must be allowed to debate and vote on this. I want him/her to know this is important to me. 
  • Hello! My name is (full name), and I am one of Senator/Rep (name)’s constituents in (city, state). My Zipcode is ______. I’m calling to ask the Senator/Rep to demand that the full Senate/House be allowed to debate and vote on descheduling cannabis – removing marijuana entirely from the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 and find a way to control, tax, and regulate it.”
  • Hi, (Good morning, etc…) I’m from zip code ______. I’m calling to (tell/ask) Senator/Rep ______ to vote (NO,YES) on (Bill #_______).  Thanks!

Advanced Tips:

  • Look up your elected’s position on cannabis at the Cannabis Voter Project, which informs, registers, and turns out voters who are interested in cannabis policy. Launched by civic engagement organization HeadCount.org in 2018, you can register to vote, find out what’s going on in your state and where your elected officials stand on cannabis. You may be surprised.
  • Save their numbers in your phone: add both the local office and the DC office and a familiar reminder like “Senator” or “Rep” or “MoC” to search your contacts later. If you forget their name, it’s a quick call the next time you see news of interest.
  • Increase your impact by sharing your new contact with friends and family to make their calling faster and easier. 
  • Each member of Congress has both a DC office and a local office in your state. If you have time, call both
  • If you can only call once, call the office most local to you (unless you call about an imminent vote, in which case contact the Washington office.)
  • Just a couple of phone calls over a short time can bring an issue to the attention of your legislator and raise his or her awareness of how strongly their constituents feel about a current issue. The sooner your reach out, the more likely it is that your voice will influence their position. While the bill is being kicked around in the committee, start calling your legislators to tell them what you’d like them to do if or when it hits the floor for a full vote.
  • That said, be timely. If the vote on your issue is imminent, the aide is much more likely to pay attention to what you say.
  • If you have professional experience with the issue you are calling about, be sure to mention it. This may establish your credibility and prompt the aide to ask you for some guidance on the subject.
  • Each constituent call is counted and represents many more voters in the minds of electeds. An increased quantity of calls can make a big difference.
  • Cannabis is still a federal crime, even though over 90% of Americans live where some form of cannabis is permitted. There are many reasons for descheduling marijuana – this ONE THING is necessary to realize the positive impacts of ending the failed policy of federal marijuana prohibition. Click here to Know More Before You Call! 

Here’s a breakdown of what the election showed about the popularity of drug policy reform in 2020 by Marijuana Moment.

FAQ’s

Q: My Senator or Representative already agrees with me (or are sponsors of the bill). Why do I need to call?

A: People who disagree with you will be calling, and you need your position tallied. Senators and Representatives do pay attention to calls. We want them to tell their colleagues that they have a HUGE number of calls for descheduling marijuana and ending the Drug War. Remember, cannabis policy reform is popular, and we have power in numbers!

Q: “Why do I need to call? Why not email?”

A: Live people answer calls, and their effect is immediate. E-mails require someone to read through your message when they get to it and record it later. 

Q: “Why can’t I call other senators who are not mine?”

A: Unfortunately, unless you are donating substantially to their campaigns, the only leverage you have is your vote. If it’s not your own senator, you don’t even have that; better to convince friends and family who live in their district to make that call.

“But our people aren’t on the committee that’s working on this bill. Logically, don’t those legislators who are on the committee have to represent us too?”

A: Nope. (Unless you are giving them a huge campaign donation (see above). 

More Resources for Support

Tips for Calling Congress For People who hate to Call Anybody, Let Alone Congress, or If You’re New to This Calling Thing…

Did you know Oaksterdam forged the blueprint for moms and cops discussing cannabis legalization and taxation, criminal justice reforms, and equity? We were ahead of our time. We have educated over 50,000 people from 40 countries to change the world. OU has an Office of Government & Public Affairs (OGPA) to specifically meet the needs of regulators and policy wonks as they grapple with the control, taxation, and compliance of a “new” industry. Dale Sky Jones led a coalition to Congress in 2019 to detail these crucial points in a briefing for both the US Senate and the House of Representatives. Our goal was to show lawmakers and lobbyists that when crafting and examining Federal-level cannabis access legislation, they need to make sure bills include the descheduling of cannabis. Descheduling marijuana best serves our veterans, older citizens, and persons of color – from the patient, veteran, public safety, and business perspectives. 

 

Special thanks to ContactingCongress.org, Proliteracy.org, Indivisible.org, & USA.gov; for resource information and ideas.

 

© Oaksterdam University 2021