From the Archives: The Steps to Legalization (1989)

Ed Rosenthal

For a long time, activists have waited normal Start the political legalization movement. Years ago, California NORML had a functional organization. However, it is now in the hands of a board of directors with the worst possible qualities. A non-creative amateur with little interest in this matter. Activists such as Dennis Perron, Jack Herer and Dr. Todd Mikuriya are consistently barred from policy-making roles. Local president Dale Gelinger complains about the board, but mostly appreciates their no-interference approach to his management.

Several retroactive bills were introduced in the California Senate and House of Representatives in March and April. With one bill, he fit for sale would be another offense for possessing any amount of marijuana in three separate packages. For example, 3 joints or 3 seed containers. Another bill would have made it a crime to solicit the purchase of cannabis.

A third bill was passed by both legislatures, but limited diversion to growers caught with 10 or fewer plants. In California, diversion is a judicial process for people found possessing or growing marijuana for their own use. Instead of going through court proceedings, charges are cleared as long as the person stays out of trouble for her two years. The court will determine eligibility based on the preponderance of the evidence. Since its enactment, the law has saved California taxpayers millions of dollars and saved thousands of Californians a heartbreaking judicial process and its aftermath.

As the Senate bill began to vote, Dale became desperate. He could not go to the capital for health reasons, and the members of the legislative committee were either busy or indifferent. As a result, Dale asked me to see what I could do.

First I called the legislative analyst on the bill and spoke with him at length. (Legislative analysts describe bills and speculate on their impact on government and society.)

He asked me to write a statement about the proposal and told me how to register to speak before Congress.

The analyst asked me to write a statement about my opinion of the measures and their effectiveness. After that, I searched the back of my closet to find a practical suit, tie, white shirt, and shoes, and drove to Sacramento.

The bill was scheduled to be submitted to the committee at 1:00 pm. I arrived at the hall of sanctuary at 9:00 am and immediately started lobbying. I didn’t get to meet the legislator, but I spoke at length with many aides. The first people I went to see were people I thought would oppose the bill. They were polite, concerned about the issue and very helpful with their comments.

Next, I went to see an aide to a member of parliament who was likely to support the bill. They were also polite and frankly discussed the bill and marijuana issues in general.

Talking with the aide gave me good practice speaking in front of the Senate. The proponents of the bill spoke first. Then came representatives of the police, the Attorney General’s Office and the people of CAMP. Representatives of the California Criminal Lawyers Association and the ACLU opposed the bill. Concerned NORML attorney Bob Kogan also disagreed.

The bill was fatally flawed and, as the speakers debated, it became clear that it could not get out of the committee. All withdrawn. Three weeks later, the same thing happened in Assembly.

For the most part, legislators have been found to be completely clueless on the marijuana issue. Usually they are headed by state attorneys general, police, and “parent groups.” Because no one else speaks up on this issue. As legislators get more information, their attitudes loosen up a bit. By working together, their votes can be changed.

These experiences convinced me that marijuana laws could change very quickly with continued lobbying in the state legislatures. In the spring of 1932, Roosevelt opposed “wet” planks. Within months, public opinion changed. Corruption, murder, and lack of booze disgusted the public. Roosevelt not only won the anti-Hoover Depression vote, but also because of his promise to repeal the 18th Amendment. If that history is too old, remember Reagan’s 1980 victory on a partially anti-communist board. Russians are our best friends now.

The anti-pot group has been doing sports festivals for years. We can help you keep it short. Thousands of people need to talk until they’re thirsty.

I envision an army of lobbyists descending on state governments first and then the federal government. And I mean you Anyone can do it.just by reading high timescan be effective citizen lobbyists.

To approach governments most effectively, you need to play their game. Here are some rules and guidelines for speaking to elected government officials and their aides.

1) Everyone in parliament wears business attire. In most parliaments this means suits or work uniforms. I know this offends a lot of people, but dressing and grooming are important. It’s a signal that you are ready to speak the same language.

Legislators, on the other hand, usually have their working days in their local offices. You can go there and voice your concerns. These meetings are usually more informal than those in the capital. But going up to the capital emphasizes the “importance” of the problem.

2) Memorize your arguments and rehearse them so that you don’t have to think about them when talking to representatives.

3) Listen to them and don’t interrupt them. If they argue or ask questions, answer or refute them.

4) Try to depolarize the issue by talking about what you agree with first. When I was talking to conservatives, I started the discussion by bringing up some areas where we would agree. “Cocaine, especially crack, is the most dangerous drug for both society and the people who use it” or “Government resources are limited and should be used where it is most profitable.”

5) Speak with a soundbite. There is a limit to the concentration power of lawmakers. They prefer chunks, preferably he’s 18 seconds or less, instead of listening to the whole making of an argument.

6) Don’t make a fool of yourself by getting angry or angry when things don’t go your way. Marijuana laws weren’t made in a day and won’t go away in a day. Fighting marijuana law is a long-term commitment.

7) Comments about your style should be taken to heart, if they are well-intentioned.

There are six primary reasons marijuana should be legalized: criminal, economic, social, constitutional, national security and health. Future issues of this magazine will cover each one thoroughly. We also leave room for comments on your experiences fighting these unjust laws in Congress.

Get ready and push your suit and tie. We go to the capital in September and October.

Last experience. I was walking down the hall with the Attorney General’s special assistant. He had just given a lecture on drugs. He was talking about rehabilitation for drug users, and I said to him, Ask nicotine addicts, alcoholics, addicts, crack freaks, or just about any drug user, “If you could wake up tomorrow addiction-free and craving-free, would you choose that option?” Most of the time, if you ask these people, they’ll say yes…but if you ask a marijuana user the same question, they’ll say no. That’s because most marijuana users don’t think the substance is harming them. “

He said, “I never thought about it, but most of my friends who smoke it feel the same way.

high times magazineSeptember 1989

Read the full article here.

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