Young Advocates Launch Marijuana Legalization Phone Bank To Get Out The Vote

Young Advocates Launch Marijuana Legalization Phone Bank To Get Out The Vote

You’ve probably heard that marijuana legalization is on the ballot in several states in November. But if you haven’t heard—and you live in one of those states—you might soon be receiving a call from a volunteer with Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).

The national advocacy group recently launched a “legalization phone bank” to help get out the vote ahead of the midterm elections. Volunteers can use a tool on the group’s website to register to call voters in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota and Utah and make sure they know that cannabis reform is on the ballot.

To help callers get started, SSDP provided scripts and links to other reference material for each of the four states. A call to North Dakota, which has a full cannabis legalization initiative on the ballot, might sound like this, for example:

1. Hi, is this (voter)?

My name is (caller), and I’m a volunteer with Students for Sensible Drug Policy. In this election, you’ll have the chance to vote on Measure 3, which would make marijuana legal for people 21 and older.

[Yes] – [proceed to #2]

[No] – Are you a North Dakota resident eligible to vote?

[No] – If you’ve been a resident of your precinct since October 6 and have a North Dakota driver’s license or ID card, you can vote! Marijuana prohibition is an unjust policy that criminalizes people who use marijuana, wastes taxpayer dollars on incarceration, and does nothing to keep marijuana out of the hands of people under 21. I hope you’ll consider it, and thanks for your time. [end conversation]

[Yes] – Great! [proceed to #2]

2. Do you plan to vote for Measure 3?

[Plan to vote against/undecided] – OK. I hope you’ll consider that marijuana prohibition is an unjust policy that criminalizes people who use marijuana, wastes taxpayer dollars on incarceration, and does nothing to keep marijuana out of the hands of people under 21. Thanks for your time. [end conversation]

[Plans to vote for M3] – Great! Thank you for the support. Do you plan to vote in person or with an absentee ballot?

[Already voted] – Terrific, thanks for being an active citizen who votes! Please be sure to let all your friends know that ending marijuana prohibition will restore justice and improve the economy in North Dakota. [end conversation]

[Voting in person] – Great! Many counties have early voting. Do you have a plan to vote and a time of day when you’re going to head to the polls?

Do you know the location of your polling station?

(Help create a plan. Go to vote.org to find the polling location.)

Be sure to bring your ID (requirements), get there by 8pm sharp, and let all your friends know that ending marijuana prohibition will restore justice and improve the economy in North Dakota [end conversation]

[Voting by mail] – Have you sent your ballot in yet?

[No] – If you haven’t mailed your ballot yet, you should consider mailing it as soon as possible. It has to arrive at the county clerk’s office by election day. [end conversation]

[Yes] – Terrific, thanks for being an active citizen who votes! Please be sure to let all your friends know that ending marijuana prohibition will restore justice and improve the economy in North Dakota. [end conversation]

The organization also provides suggested scripts for leaving voicemails for voters who don’t answer the phone.

As of Wednesday, volunteers had made nearly 3,500 calls, according to the SSDP website.

Betty Aldworth, executive director of SSDP, told Marijuana Moment that the group’s phone banking efforts have provided critical support to previous legalization initiatives in 2012, 2014 and 2016, with volunteers “logging well over 100,000 calls and making a crucial difference in the tightest races, like North Dakota is this year.”

“Phone banking is one of the most effective tools we have to increase voter turnout, so we hope to call more than 40,000 of them,” Aldworth said. “The young people we turn out this election will be the ones who make the difference between ending prohibition or continuing on with the destructive, racist policies which have impeded medical advances, economic opportunity, and liberty for nearly a century.”

Advocacy Groups Push Colorado To Make Legal Marijuana Market More Equitable

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Young Advocates Launch Marijuana Legalization Phone Bank To Get Out The Vote

Students Leading the Charge for Global Drug Policy Reform

Students Leading the Charge for Global Drug Policy Reform

Millions of disenchanted youths from all over the globe are leading the charge in the battle to reform misapplied Draconian drug policies that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars and an unfathomable number of jobs, homes and families. That the miserable failure of Nixon-era political posturing known as the “War on Drugs” remains nearly unchanged since its inception has only further ignited today’s youth movement to seek meaningful change and start the conversation on how to create national and global cannabis policy reform that no longer criminalizes responsible adults for using marijuana.

This November will bring numerous ballot initiatives to the forefront of America’s voters to determine the course of the medical and recreational marijuana legalization movement and pro-cannabis organizations like NORML and ENCOD – along with scores of progressive youths – are sensing the urgency of getting voters onboard while they still have time.

One such organization shepherding the grassroots drug policy reform movement is called Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP). Founded in 1998, SSDP is the only student-led international movement focused on ending the failed war on drugs. With thousands of members spanning hundreds of campuses all over the world, SSDP is one of the largest and most influential authorities raising red flags.

This weekend (April 15-17th, 2016), more than 500 students and allies from over 16 countries will convene in Washington, D.C., to discuss how to end the abysmal failure known as the “War on Drugs”. Afterwards, buses will take students and supporters to demonstrate at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) in New York City where world leaders will convene to discuss current international drug policies.

ssdp4Photo from Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

To find out what SSDP and its allies plan to focus on during this weekend’s gathering, I spoke with Sarah Merrigan – a political science major at the University of Nebraska Omaha and chapter founder and member of the student board of directors for Students for Sensible Drug Policy:

Sarah, what is the role of young people today in shaping national and global cannabis policies, and why is it important for them to get involved right now?

I think particularly with cannabis reform and with drug policy as a whole, too often policies are implemented and justified in the name of young people. We’re tokenized, but we’re not welcome to come to the table to speak up and make our minds and make our voices heard when these policies are supposed to be protecting us.

It’s important for us to actually be involved and have a seat at the table because if they’re going to be affecting us… then we should be allowed to speak about what we think the best practices are and the future that we want to see because we’re the ones who are going to be around to watch this play out and we’re the ones who are directly impacted by this and are going to be around to see it the longest.

Sarah, along with millions of other marginalized youths, are tired of playing victim to oppressive drug laws that are aimed not to educate, but to incarcerate people for using marijuana and other drugs. Her and SSDPs message is clear- end the war on drugs and create meaningful change by bringing young people together to develop our future. In the “land of the free” where a minor possession charge can easily derail one’s chances at going to college or landing a decent-paying job, it’s no wonder that today’s youths are speaking out and speaking loudly to get their voices heard.

 

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