Worthwhile Cannabis Organizations
It does my heart good to know that so many dedicated individuals and organizations are working tirelessly to reform our nation’s, and for that matter the world’s, harmful marijuana laws. All of the following national organizations bring value to the movement in my opinion. They each have a different focus and a slightly different agenda, but all are working to make things better for marijuana patients and the public at large.
It is an unfortunate reality in the cannabis movement that so many passionate individuals will have differences of opinions and in-fighting does exist. In my opinion, this hurts us all. Personally I support all of these organizations because I operate from the plain and simple belief that nobody should EVER go to jail for a plant. You, on the other hand, may find that one or more of them fits better with your vision for the future of cannabis.
This list is by no means complete and it will be updated from time to time, so do check back. In addition to these big national organizations, there are many small local chapters and organizations working to make change happen. You can usually find those in calendar sections of many of the websites below.
Whether you choose to work with one, all, or none of these organizations, I urge you to take action of some sort to help further the cause. If we ever expect the world to wake up to the truth about marijuana, it will take action on the part of everyone who benefits from this incredible, yet federally illegal, plant. Please, find a way to get active that suits your circumstances and talents. If you can’t publicly get active, and many people can’t due job constraints and other issues, then please at least help by donating to these organizations, calling and writing to your elected officials, and voting and campaigning for cannabis friendly political candidates. Medical cannabis is now legal in 16 states and District of Columbia. That would not have happened without action. Please join the fight and help make it all 50 states!
- NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) — A public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. NORML represents the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime. In addition to national NORML, there are numerous individual local chapters and the NORML Women’s Alliance that provide a chance for citizens all over the country to get active in effecting change.
- LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) – The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ending drug prohibition. LEAP’s goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology and (2) To restore the public’s respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcements involvement in imposing drug prohibition. While much of LEAP’s membership is composed of current and former law enforcement officials, this not a requirement to join or support this fine organization.
- SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) — SSDP is an international grassroots network of students who are concerned about the impact drug abuse has on our communities, but who also know that the War on Drugs is failing our generation and our society. SSDP mobilizes and empowers young people to participate in the political process, pushing for sensible policies to achieve a safer and more just future, while fighting back against counterproductive Drug War policies, particularly those that directly harm students and youth. While SSDP’s focus is on youth, you don’t need to be young or a student to support this worthy group of activists.
- ASA (Americans for Safe Access) — Americans for Safe Access’s mission is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research. The focus of ASA is strictly medical marijuana.
- MPP (Marijuana Policy Project) – MPP and MPP Foundation envision a nation where marijuana is legally regulated similarly to alcohol, marijuana education is honest and realistic, and treatment for problem marijuana users is non-coercive and geared toward reducing harm. Their mission is fourfold: to increase public support for non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies; to identify and activate supporters of non-punitive, non-coercive marijuana policies; to change state laws to reduce or eliminate penalties for the medical and non-medical use of marijuana; to gain influence in Congress.
- DPA (Drug Policy Alliance) — DPA envisions a just society in which the use and regulation of drugs are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights, in which people are no longer punished for what they put into their own bodies but only for crimes committed against others, and in which the fears, prejudices and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. Their mission is to advance those policies and attitudes that best reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition, and to promote the sovereignty of individuals over their minds and bodies.
- LPOP (Landa Prison Outreach Program) – LPOP’s mission is to care for the victims of the government’s war on cannabis. Operated by medical marijuana prisoner of war (POW) Stephanie Landa, who was sentenced to 41 months in federal prison for a co-operative medical grow in the city of San Francisco, LPOP is an all-volunteer organization which serves prisoners by delivering care, letters, and books—the same items which were Stephanie’s lifeline while she was in prison.
- The Human Solution — While this group is still a regional Southern California grassroots organization, they are quickly gaining steam and expanding into new territories. This is largely due their Solidarity Ribbons (like the one I am wearing in the photo at the top of this page), which is fast becoming a symbol for the medical marijuana movement. The tasteful green ribbons adorned with small medical-style crosses are an easy way to show support and solidarity in courtrooms, at rallies, or anytime you want to start a conversation about cannabis. Each ribbon is individually hand made by medical marijuana patients and the proceeds benefit the club’s legal defense fund and educational activities. The Human Solution’s mission if to provide education and support to medical cannabis patients, providers, and the community at large by attending court hearings, speaking publicly at city council and town hall meetings, giving classes to educate the public and remove the stigma of medical marijuana, and hold fundraising events to help with defendants’ legal expenses and assist patients in need. The Human Solution’s core belief, like mine, is that nobody should EVER go to jail over a plant.