Marijuana users benefit from a broad social and political movement in support of marijuana's legalization. The resulting competition for public support between organizations and advocates creates innovation and raises professional standards. It also provides choices for channeling financial and political support. This competition produces various plans and proposals for making marijuana's legalization take place in the United States. The success of fundraising programs for various campaigns and organization often depends on their ability to offer a promising and convincing plan on how they will lead us all to success.
Legalizing marijuana may be a challenging enterprise but it is not nearly as complicated as many people seem to think. HIGH TIMES has started The 420 Campaign to mobilize participation in an annual drive to lobby Congress for legalization, in part, to emphasize that simple point. HIGH TIMES encourages proposals for political activity to bring about marijuana's legalization and believes support for such proposals should be based on the following principles.
1. Marijuana reform should benefit all adult marijuana users.
Providing legal access to marijuana for all adult Americans should be the primary objective of national reform organizations and activists. Access to marijuana is a national regulatory issue rather than a states rights issue.
2. Marijuana reform should seek legalization now.
The legalization of marijuana should be sought now and the national debate should focus on comprehensive approaches to legalization on a national scale. While sympathetic to the importance of various related issues, it is clear that marijuana’s legalization on a national basis is the solution to these many secondary problems. Resolution of these issues will likely follow legalization, whereas progress on these secondary issues does not necessarily contribute to obtaining legal access to marijuana for all adult Americans. It is time to focus the nation’s attention on marijuana legalization as a current and pressing national issue.
3. Any reform other than legalization should actually reduce or eliminate penalties.
The changes in laws that result in reductions or eliminations of penalties have greater importance and impact than symbolic measures.
4. Marijuana reform should benefit large numbers of people.
Reform measures should be broadly rather than narrowly crafted. Medical cannabis legislation, for example, should be crafted to protect as many patients as possible. Proposals that let doctors recommend on an individual basis what patients and what conditions would benefit from medical cannabis use are superior to proposals that limit medical cannabis access to a small set of diseases and conditions.
5. The commercial benefits of a legal marijuana market should be available to all adults.
Individuals with experience growing illicit cannabis should have the opportunity to produce cannabis in a legal market, even if they have prior convictions for marijuana cultivation. A legal marijuana market should provide commercial opportunities for all adult Americans, regardless of their participation in the illegal market created by the current failed prohibition policies.
HIGH TIMES believes that amnesty and pardon for all individuals convicted of marijuana-related offenses should be explored by elected officials.
7. Reform objectives:
While legalization will be advanced by these priorities, activists should support cannabis reform efforts with the following objectives:
Reduce and eliminate penalties for marijuana possession and sales (such as decriminalization and/or medical cannabis reforms)
Prevent discrimination against marijuana users (such as denial of student loans or revocation of driver's licenses)
Reduce prejudice against marijuana users (such as proposals to make prosecution of marijuana possession either a low law enforcement priority or, such as on college campuses, subject to the similar penalties as alcohol use.)