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Most potheads dream of the day where legalization is a national phenomenon, and though we've come a long way, there's still a lot to do before we can smoke pot in peace. As nice as it is to hope that the politicians in office would tell the DEA to take a hike, the truth is that we need to act if we ever want to see marijuana become legal.
In order to act, you will need to learn how to talk to your representative about how to legalize pot in a way that actually will yield results. Here's what you need to know about changing your local marijuana policy.
First, write down what you want to say and make sure it sounds intelligent.
The problem with marijuana legalization is that potheads are stigmatized. People assume that they are drug addicts, that they are stupid, or that they are felons. If you are going to be talking to a legislator, it's absolutely crucial that you don't sound like a stereotypical druggie.
So, before you actually learn how to talk to your legislator about pot, you need to figure out how you want to say things. Jot down ideas, research studies done on medical marijuana, and look up statistics involving nonviolent offenders on drug charges in jail.
Chances are that the research statistics will speak for themselves. All you have to do is write down the journals you cite, and come up with a good argument about how it could be taxed for your legislator.
By having your notes or script with you, you will be able to be more succinct when you speak with a representative.
Call—don't email—your state representative.
Yes, you can technically email your state legislator, but the truth is that most states don't really count communications to representatives unless they are done by notarized letter or by phone. This is one of the reasons why guides discussing how to talk to your representative about pot focus on letter writing or phone calls.
Most state legislative groups also record conversations you have with representative phone operators, which means that they will have it on record that you voiced your opinion.
Writing your legislators is also an excellent way to communicate your position on their marijuana policies. Remember to draft a letter that uses proper grammar and spelling. This way, you'll be taken more seriously.
Additionally, there's also a good chance of getting a direct answer from your legislators by attending town halls. This allows them to see you face-to-face, and also gives you the opportunity to tell them about your support for the issue in a clear, concise way.
Find out where to contact your representative.
Most people don't know who their state representative is, or who their local senator is. This is terrible, because we are the ones who elect them! That being said, most states will have sites that allow you to find out who your state representatives are and how to reach out to them.
A good list you can use to reach out to state representatives can be found here.
Use common sense when talking to a representative.
Part of learning how to talk to your representative about pot is learning how not to talk to your representative about pot. Simply put, most representatives will not take someone seriously if they are acting like an idiot, looking like a stoner, or worse, threatening them.
You can, by all means, tell them that you are a single-issue voter when it comes to marijuana legalization. You can tell them that you really are passionate about marijuana policies. You can even tell them how much medical marijuana means to you.
However, threatening them or flying into a rage is not a good idea. In fact, it can get you arrested. Talking about drug policies in government is, and for the foreseeable future will be a sensitive topic. Be smart!
Consistency is key.
In order to really get your point across, you have to contact your representatives consistently. This means that you should call at least once a month to let them know that you support legalization.
If you look at most major sites describing how to talk to your representative about pot, they'll tell you to keep calling. This is because the number of calls can count just as much, if not more, as the number of people who support marijuana legalization in your area.
Petitions and fundraisers also matter, too.
Along with actually contacting your legislator, it's important to remember that things like petitions, fundraisers, and even supporting your local ACLU can lead to serious change. Every little bit of effort counts, so don't hesitate to try alternative routes to get your voice heard.