The readers of HIGH TIMES want marijuana legalized, nationwide, and now. The 420 Campaign is a plan to bring legalization before the US Congress and the public. We want to use April 20th as a focal point every year to concentrate pressure on Congress to legalize marijuana until we get the job done. But working towards marijuana's legalization is a year-round proposition. The 420 Campaign provides the resources for activists to get involved and make a difference.
It’s not hard to find strategies that will bring about the legalization of marijuana. Every organization, activist, and, it seems, almost everyone who uses marijuana has one. Indeed the variety of plans, actions, and agendas available are all positive characteristics of a dynamic and capable reform movement.
Critics and cynics look at the situation and argue why this strategy or that one will fail. Indeed the sheer challenge of legalization is enough to encourage a certain degree of detachment that favors observation rather than participation. It is always easier to sit back, watch, and complain about other people’s failures than to it is to actively work, fight, and build a movement for change and reform.
The truth is, though, that legalization will not happen without the effort and involvement of the people most affected by today’s marijuana laws – the people who use marijuana, and, for that matter, the people who read HIGH TIMES in print and online. We need you. We need you to make marijuana’s legalization a reality rather than just another stoner pipe dream. The 420 Campaign is our way of encouraging you to help make a difference, to give you a voice and influence in America’s long debate over the whether or not marijuana should be legalized.
There are many paths to legalization.
One path is to fight for the medical use of cannabis in individual states. Another approach is to seek decriminalization of marijuana possession at the state level or other reforms that reduce criminal penalties and reduce arrests. Another strategy is to seek marijuana’s regulation and taxation in some states. All of these strategies are in the grand tradition of American federalism in which innovation at the state level, and its success, encourages the adoption of policy nationally.
Other approaches seek reform from the federal government. These actions include efforts to have marijuana rescheduled under federal law by way of administrative proceedings, efforts to restrain the Drug Enforcement Administration from interfering with state laws recognizing medical cannabis use, pursuing decriminalization of marijuana under federal law, and advocacy for marijuana’s regulation and taxation by the federal government.
Additional strategies include advancement of drug policy reform, such as the harm reduction movement, which involve other drugs as well as marijuana. In this arena many groups argue for taking a public health rather than a law enforcement approach to drug abuse.
Public education is another strategy used by many reformers. Many reform groups try to publicize police corruption, for example, related to the War on Drugs. Other reformers also prepare studies on the costs of prohibition, the nature and impact of marijuana arrests, the size of the domestic marijuana crop, and other aspects of the impact of the drug war that help educate the public about the growing disparities in the costs and benefits of this misguided approach.
Some groups focus their efforts on creating, nurturing, and supporting communities for change – building networks, holding conferences, distributing information and providing other resources that empower citizens to become more involved and influential in the national debate.
There are many efforts underway to lobby Congress and state legislatures as well, and just about every reform organization in the country has a program to make it easy for supporters to contact their representatives at both the state and federal level.
The 420 Campaign makes all these paths available to the readers of HIGH TIMES. Our Activist Center features regular columns from two of the leading marijuana reform organizations in the country, NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project, as well as the Cannabis Column by Jon Gettman, Activist News, links to many reform organizations, and research links about drug policy and other information related to reform.
Additional resources provided by The 420 Campaign include our Top Ten Reasons Why Marijuana Should be Legalized, Directions for Lobbying Your Congressional Representative, and Instructions for Contacting Presidential Campaigns about marijuana’s legalization.
Columnist Jon Gettman also provides helpful resources on his Drugscience.org website for contacting your state legislative representatives, the size of the domestic marijuana crop, the economic cost of marijuana prohibition, and the rescheduling of marijuana under federal law.
Through The 420 Campaign the resources of America’s Marijuana Reform movement are at your service. Here you can gain access to the many paths available for seeking the legalization of marijuana in the United States. But for legalization to succeed, you have to begin and/or continue the journey yourself. There are many paths to choose from, all you have to do is choose the ones that work for you. Learn about the reform movement. Support the reform organization(s) of your choice. Contact your legislators. Help educate the public. Choose the reform activities that are right for you and get involved.
Finally, one of the easiest things you can do to advance the cause of legalization is to simply tell all your friends about The 420 Campaign. Copy the link for this article from the address section of your browser, email it to all your friends, and encourage them to explore the paths to reform that lead to marijuana’s legalization. The best way to bring about marijuana’s legalization in the United States is to get as many people as possible traveling on the path to reform. Continue your journey today!