For almost a century the cannabis plant has been outlawed by the United States federal government and governments around the world. To get where we are today, it’s taken decades of activist efforts fighting for the right to use medical marijuana. The industry is one like no other, shaped by activism and reform efforts that are still working hard to fight for your right to medicate anywhere in the U.S. or around the world.
With 4/20 holiday celebrations abound, it’s easy to forget how far we’ve really come when you head to the local dispensary to stock up. We’re nowhere near done fighting this war and ending prohibition. These are five criminal reform and equity groups we admire and encourage you to support their efforts however you can (even if that means just sharing this blog post!).
A branch of Cannaclusive, Cannabis for Black Lives (CfBL) describes themselves as a “coalition of cannabis companies galvanizing the broader industry to support Black led organizations and communities.” They feature a new organization each month in hopes to help create opportunities for those impacted the hardest by the War on Drugs.
While this organization is not cannabis specific, they support a cause that is deeply involved in the prohibition of cannabis. REFORM Alliance aims to transform the way probation and parole programs work to create both systems and a culture that will provide a positive path to recovery instead of or after being incarcerated. These programs often seem to set people up for failure and are more often a path to jail or prison than they are a successful life and this organization wants to see that change.
Here we’re looking a little more state specific, at the Massachusetts Equitable Opportunities NOW. According to their Facebook page, their mission is to ensure the just representation for people of color in the cannabis industry. Their website shows a recent victory when it comes to preserving the Economic Empowerment and Social Equity Program but states that is only the start of their “campaign to demand equity, transparency, and accountability in the Massachusetts cannabis industry.”
Students for Sensible Drug Policy, or SSDP, is straight forward about what it is they want to accomplish. The name says it all, and their slogan “start making sense” only drives the point home. Their goal is to replace the prohibition era laws with policies “rooted in evidence, compassion and human rights.” The organization is 5,000 members strong and is made up of students from 300 different schools around the world hoping to make changes not only with the U.S. but the U.N. as well.
If you’ve been in the world of cannabis for any length of time you’ve probably heard of NORML. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws was founded back in 1970 by Keith Stroup and today is millions of members strong with members in the U.S. and around the world. Most states have their own chapter of NORML, while other countries including New Zealand, Ireland, Canada, South Africa, France, and the UK all have individual chapters as well.
The group supports the “removal of all penalties for the private possession and responsible use of marijuana by adults,” including cultivation for personal use and transfers of small amounts. They also support the creation of a safe legal regulatory framework for the commercial sale of cannabis. Basically, NORML is fighting for the cannabis industry we know today to exist.
Support These Organizations and Others Fighting for Reform
You don’t need to be going out to protests to do your part to support the legalization of marijuana. These days you can do something as simple as donating to an activist organization like these: you better believe every penny makes a difference.
If legalization petitions are circulating or if you find the choice on the ballot in the next election, don’t miss your chance to have your voice heard. Every little effort makes a difference, it has all gotten us where we are today, where medical marijuana is becoming more widely available and accepted than it has been in decades.