American advocacy group NORML is calling on pot activists this 4/20 to “finish the fight” by urging their elected officials to legalize weed at the state and federal level.
While April 20th has been synonymous with celebrating weed’s cultural status, this year NORML says American cannabis lovers need to push federal legalization to the finish line so states can set their own cannabis policies.
On Monday, the Washington, D.C.-based organization launched its “Finish the Fight” digitial toolkit, which informs the public on how to encourage their lawmakers to take action on important reform efforts taking place in the country.
“While we have undoubtedly made immense progress in recent years, hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens are still arrested each year for simple possession of a plant,” NORML executive director Erik Altieri said in a statement.
“That is why we are calling on all legalization supporters to take time out of their 4/20 celebrations this year to help us finish the fight, both at the federal level and in those states that still are living under the dark ages of prohibition.”
Relatedly, U.S. House lawmakers voted on and passed a cannabis banking bill Monday evening, after they debated the legislation during the day.
The SAFE Banking Act will protect banks that service state-legal weed businesses from being penalized by federal regulators.
Majority Leader Schumer told reporters this month that a cannabis legalization bill will be hitting the Senate floor “soon.” Experts are optimistic it will pass there as well.
BREAKING: The SAFE Banking Act has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives!
— Marijuana Policy Project (@MarijuanaPolicy) April 19, 2021
Which key DC and state lawmakers to contact
At the federal level, NORML has given people a Congressperson lookup tool to message their local representative and push them to join the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. The federal caucus is at the forefront of developing a number of upcoming key cannabis policy reform measures in the both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.
The organization is also calling on advocates to urge their Senators to support a federal legalization bill being drafted by Senate leaders Cory Booker, Ron Wyden and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
The toolkit also provides information about several key state cannabis legalization efforts taking place.
NORML says activists should check with the organization’s local state chapters for more details on legalization drives.
Lehigh Valley NORML in Pennsylvania is organizing cannabis consumers to join a march on Tuesday at the state’s legislature building in Harrisburg to demand legalization in the state.
— Lehigh Valley NORML (@lvnorml) April 19, 2021
Legalization should be used as a tool to correct these historical social injustices, NORML says, by ensuring economically disadvantaged communities benefit from the new legal market.
Legalizing weed nationally would also disrupt the illicit market and create thousands of new jobs. A recent Leafly report shows that the U.S. cannabis industry employs over 321,000 full-time workers — more than four times the number of jobs in the coal industry.
Top image via NORML