October 11, 2022
As the November elections get closer we wanted to take this opportunity to remind our supporters how they can help make a change in their communities. Small actions and small donations can make a big difference if enough people participate.
Why it Matters:
The marijuana industry has millions of dollars to spend on lobbying for policies that benefit their industry. Why wouldn’t they? Most other industries do the same thing whether it’s pharmaceuticals, tobacco, or alcohol. Many industries use a portion of their business proceeds to lobby for policies that benefit them. As a voice for protecting kids, the problem is, we don’t have profits from an industry to finance work for needed changes.
What you need to know:
According to OpenSecrets, a nonprofit research group that tracks political spending, $4.5 million was spent on marijuana lobbying in 2021, for 23 clients. Of the 106 lobbyists funded 56% were former government employees. The fact that so many government employees move from regulating the industry to representing the industry is one reason why it is so important to educate government officials, at all levels, about the dangers of youth use.
What you can do:
Learn the facts. Do some research. Know a few published facts and where to find them, to support your argument. For marijuana industry statistics look to your state regulator, that might be the Department of Revenue. For youth use rates look to your Department of Health or Department of Education. Don't make up or exaggerate statistics as it weakens your credibility and could be used against you later.
Start with changes that affects your community directly.
Marijuana-free zones requiring:
- 1,000 feet from schools, preschools, daycare centers and youth-serving facilities
- 1,000 feet from public parks and recreation centers
- 1,000 feet from residences
- Limit outlet density and total number of licenses
- Limit hours of operation
- Limit industry advertising: no outdoor or billboard advertising
- Require local enforcement and regularly scheduled compliance checks of age restrictions
- Require tracking of adverse events such as underage purchases through mandatory reporting by licensees
Communicate with your local officials, email them, go to city council meetings, speak at council meetings (most have a time for short general public comments). Attend town hall meetings with your state House and Senate representatives. Email and or speak with them and let them get familiar with you. There is usually a relatively small audience at these events so you can make an impact with just a few appearances. Always be courteous, to the point, and offer facts and suggestions not just complaints. A short personal story is also a great way to communicate the need for action from them.
Communicate with your U.S. House and Senate representatives also. There are baseline policies that should be implemented at a national level as more states are legalizing recreational use.
- Child resistant packaging
- Restrict kid friendly types, shapes, flavors and product branding
- Universal THC warning symbol
- Potency cap, -standardized serving size and -limits on total amount of THC per package
- Labeling disclosures of chemicals and solvents used in production
- Standardized government health and safety disclosures
- Presale product testing and -recall authority
- Restrictions on advertising to include use of cartoon characters, social media influencers under 25 years of age, celebrity branding, and false or misleading statements
- National reporting of violations along with -significant fees and penalties
- Mandatory data collection and reporting
- Funding for nationwide public awareness
After 9 years of advocacy, we have boiled our strategy down to 4 pillars of action: transparency, education, empowerment and policy change.