Hundreds of pro-cannabis demonstrators march May 4, 2002 in New York City. (Photo credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Marijuana reform advocates and industry members across the country face a great deal of political uncertainty as Donald Trump and the Republican Party grab hold of the executive and legislative branches of government.
Trump’s pick for U.S. attorney general who staunchly opposes marijuana legalization, conservative Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, doesn’t bode particularly well for marijuana reform going forward. It’s still unclear if Trump’s administration intends to uphold the Justice Department directives from the previous administration that allowed state-legal marijuana industries to bloom.
Regardless of federal plans for state cannabis enforcement, concerned Americans can do a number of things right now to help protect existing legislative gains and to continue pushing policy reforms forward.
Gallery: 10 things you can do to support marijuana reform
Get involved with organizations that support marijuana legalization. If your town or city doesn’t have a marijuana advocacy group, start one. Help plan demonstrations, canvass your neighborhood and bring the issue to people’s attention. (Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Donate your time and/or money to trusted marijuana advocacy groups like Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), and DrugSense and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). (Photo credit: Drug Policy Alliance/Facebook)
Find out where your local, state and federal officials stand on marijuana policy, and support those who support progressive marijuana reform. Information about marijuana policy positions and voting records is often available on lawmakers’ official websites, or through websites like OnTheIssues. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) publishes an annual Congressional Scorecard grading each U.S. Congress member on cannabis policy positions and voting records. (Photo credit: Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
Get in touch with your federal, state and local elected leaders, and urge them to take action in support of marijuana policy reform. Check out usa.gov/elected-officials to find information about how to contact your elected officials. (Photo credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Many states allow volunteers to register as caregivers to help sick or elderly medical marijuana patients obtain and utilize the drug. In states where medical cannabis delivery services are not permitted, patients may benefit greatly from the help of caregivers. Caregiver registration information can usually be found (along with patient application information) on state medical cannabis program websites. Medical cannabis is currently legal in 28 states and the District of Columbia. (Photo credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
The Open Public Meetings Act requires that all meetings of governing bodies of public agencies (including cities, counties and special purpose districts) be open to the public. Different governing bodies have their own rules regarding if, when and how long members of the public may speak during council meetings, however. Check your local city council website for information about attending cannabis-related meetings and hearings. More information about state-level cannabis laws and policy reform efforts can be found on Marijuana Policy Project’s website. (Photo credit: Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images)
Many people are incarcerated in the U.S. for nonviolent marijuana offenses, and most inmates have little or no Internet access. That means they can’t follow along with marijuana policy reform or other things happening in the news. Write to these inmates. Share news and information and ask about their experiences. Check out POW420.com for a list of marijuana prisoners you can write to. (Photo credit: Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)
Visit states where marijuana is legal for adult recreational consumption, and support state-legal cannabis businesses. More money spent on legal cannabis retail purchases equals more tax revenue for states that have legalized the drug for adult use. Many states are seeking new revenue sources these days, and sooner or later, even the most oppositional lawmakers may be swayed by the potential tax revenues associated with legalizing cannabis. (Photo credit: Theo Stroomer/Getty Images)
Inform yourself so you can inform your community. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you hear people spreading marijuana myths or misinformation. Be kind and patient when speaking with those who oppose legalization but never acquiesce. Remember that respectful and open dialogue will help move the conversation forward and may even inspire a change of heart in some legalization opponents.
(Photo credit: Uriel Sinai/Getty Images)
Responsible cannabis consumers can help change prevailing “stoner” stereotypes by simply coming out of the cannabis closet. If you live in a state where you can legally consume marijuana, be open about your consumption. Demonstrate to others that there are responsible ways to use the drug. (Photo credit: David Ramos/Getty Images)
Gallery links: Drug Policy Alliance , Americans for Safe Access , Marijuana Policy Project , National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws , Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies , Students for Sensible Drug Policy , DrugSense , Law Enforcement Against Prohibition , OnTheIssues , NORML Congressional Scorecard , usa.gov/elected-officials , 28 states where medical cannabis is legal , Open Public Meetings Act , The Guardian , Marijuana Policy Project – state policies , POW420.com , Tax Foundation