Getting active in your
If you are not a college
student, you may be
feeling left out at this point.
Not to worry – there are also plenty of opportunities to take
your city or town. Like the campus-specific section, this list of ideas
local activism is in no way exhaustive.
We have also intentionally omitted options, like launching a
ballot initiative, that typically entail a level of funding or
support that is unavailable to most community activists. This is not to
that such activities should be seen as out of the question, but for now,
just going to provide you with a few effective and efficient ways to
spread the message
Organize a Safer
As we mentioned in the
section, having an organizational structure upon which to ground your
will greatly increase your potential for success. Consider reaching out
local reform groups that might already exist in the area and gauge their
interest on working with you on a “marijuana is safer than
campaign. You could start with NORML, which has chapters located all
country and is always interested in helping passionate individuals
new chapters. Otherwise, you can contact SAFER to discuss the prospects of launching a local SAFER campaign in your area.
Information and Build
You are now an expert when it comes to
safety of marijuana compared to alcohol, but far too many of your
not. Therefore it is up to you to educate them. You
can make them aware of the “marijuana is safer than
alcohol” message by distributing literature and other educational
your community. We recommend attending concerts, festivals, street
other events that are likely to have a high volume of people. You can
to potentially supportive local businesses, such as coffee shops and
stores, and ask them if they would be willing to let you leave materials
to their cash registers, in their free publication sections, or on
When attending festivals
and other popular
events, don’t forget to bring a clipboard and sign-up sheets so that
interested in getting involved or receiving more information can give
contact information. We
also encourage you to consider investing in a SAFER T-shirt to identify
yourself and catch people’s attention.
Better yet, you could invest in
use them to raise funds, spread the word, and convey the “marijuana is
than alcohol” message.
Engage, Educate and
representatives need to hear
from constituents who support reforming marijuana laws. Chances are that
of them have never been exposed to the message that marijuana is
safer than alcohol. So it is up to
you to educate them.
Contacting your elected
officials is easy,
and can be done via e-mail, phone calls, or – ideally – by a personal
their local offices. We encourage
you to place an emphasis on contacting those officials nearest to you,
heavily on your city or town council members and mayor. Once
you have been in contact with your
locally elected officials, you may also wish to contact your state
and governor, as well as your members of Congress.
You can either request a
meeting or stop by
your local officials’ offices.
Once you have an opportunity to meet the representative
you should inform them of your position and leave them with fact sheets
other information. Be sure to get his or her official position on the
that you can determine your next steps. For example, you will want to
touch with supportive officials, keep them posted on relevant issues
(such as a
major alcohol- or marijuana-related incidents), and seek opportunities
with them to introduce legislation, raise the debate, and build public
Make the News
You may find this hard to believe, but
you have the
ability to organize events that will get the “marijuana is safer than
message out to thousands of citizens.
With good timing, an effective hook for the media, and some fun
powerful visuals, television cameras or newspaper photographers will
follow. We have seen this occur
many times in the past, in cities, towns, and campuses across the
country. Even if the media doesn’t show up, you
can capture your event on video and circulate it online,.
Here are just a few event ideas:
press conference in response to news of an alcohol-related incident or
in crime downtown;
call for a moratorium on marijuana citations during traditionally
alcohol-fueled events and holidays (ex. St. Patrick’s Day); or
National Alcohol Awareness Month (April) with a visual representation of
relative harms of alcohol and marijuana (ex. 300-plus empty liquor
represent the number of U.S. alcohol overdose deaths each year, next to
empty area to represent those from marijuana).
Whatever you end up doing, just be
sure to notify the local newspapers, television networks and radio
sending out a news release or calling them with a heads up.