The national marijuana advocacy group NORML is launching a revamped online tool to help voters figure out where their representatives stand on cannabis policy. And they’re inviting people to help contribute to the comprehensive database.
In an email to supporters on Tuesday, the organization said that while it recognizes the challenges presented by the coronavirus outbreak, voters must not lose track of the November elections. That’s because consequential cannabis reform issues are set to appear on ballots across the country and it remains important to hold lawmakers accountable for their positions on marijuana policy.
To that end, NORML’s “Smoke the Vote” tool—a guide showing how federal and state officials have voted on reform issues and documenting their comments on the issue—is designed to help voters make informed decisions when they arrive at their polling places.
Despite the ongoing crisis, the November elections will still hold major implications for the future of legalization and other cannabis policy reforms. That is why, today, we have an important ask for you: Are you ready to make a difference? https://t.co/wqyfq6zyq0 pic.twitter.com/iDQCtQ8NwQ
— NORML (@NORML) March 24, 2020
“With the 2020 election only just over seven months away, NORML is gearing up to have the most expansive database ever assembled on the cannabis policy positions for those running for legislative office,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal told Marijuana Moment. “The successes of the legalization experiments now operational in states from Massachusetts to California result in a stark contrast for voters in prohibition states: which side are their lawmakers on?”
But while the group has built out a thorough guide upon launch, there are still gaps that can be filled in. NORML said that supporters can help by submitting information about legislative actions or comments from their representatives through an online form it created. At the bottom of a given candidate’s profile, there’s an option to enter their position and link to the source.
“We’re calling upon supporters of reform to help us source this data to create the wikipedia of candidates’ marijuana positions,” Strekal said. “It is our goal that once the database is complete, we will aggressively educate the broader public on their options for public servants in regards to support for marijuana reform.”
Separately, the group has been involved in promoting commonsense cannabis consumer practices to protect public health amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also urging lawmakers to ensure that individuals working in the marijuana industry are not discriminated against when it comes to unemployment benefits at a time when an increasing number of businesses are shuttering and the public is being encouraged to stay at home.
Photo courtesy of Mike Latimer.