It is the year 2019 and every person in the United States is contemplating how very best to save democracy. For lots of, and quite a lot so in the case of voter registration group HeadCount, that is very best achieved by generating certain as lots of US residents are signed up to vote as feasible. One particular day, the group’s founder went to a Cannabis Cup and realized that marijuana might nicely be the most compelling, fairly non-partisan challenge we have these days. The Cannabis Voter Project was born from a want to use that dank tool for political engagement.
“It was seriously inspiring,” founder Andy Bernstein told Higher Occasions in a current interview, of that fateful 2015 trip to the weed competitors in Denver. “I could see history unfolding in front of me and a entire culture coming out of the shadows. I knew there had been a ton of folks in this neighborhood that have a lot at stake in every single election — specially as it relates to cannabis policy — but could possibly not at the moment be participating.”
For CVP, that implies not only having these cannabis-oriented voters registered, but also connecting them to beneficial facts on exactly where their elected officials stand on leafy green challenges. Go to the CVP internet site and you will uncover politicians assessed on the basis of their help for widening access to cannabis. Your humble writer, for instance, clicked via only to have her suspicions confirmed that Representative Nancy Pelosi has however to express help for ending federal cannabis prohibition. (Although she does get higher scores on supporting states’ rights, letting VA medical doctors propose marijuana, and supplying banking rights to weed corporations. It is a commence.) There are also prompts so that guests can attain out to these elected representatives to inquire about their future plans for supporting marijuana causes.
“What we enjoy about cannabis as an challenge is that it is genuinely non-partisan and cuts across celebration lines,” says CVP director Sam D’Arcangelo.
He is not incorrect that this type of facts is proving relevant to additional and additional voters regardless of political affiliation. For the 1st time given that the poll began recording information in 1973, the 2019 Connected Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Investigation survey identified that a majority of Republicans — 54 % — now back marijuana legalization. 76 % of Democrats have expressed their help for legalization. The exact same poll identified that a complete 72 % of US residents age 18-34 back ending cannabis prohibition, a heartening sign that the increasing generations might be capable to get a stake erected in the war on drugs’ cold, dead heart 1 of these days.
Having said that, if you are the type of individual who thinks that the fate of democracy rests on stopping a particular despot, Cannabis Voter Project and HeadCount’s non-partisan nature is a complicated 1. There are particular perils in CVP’s mission to encourage voting on cannabis as a single challenge. Soon after all, there are lots of pressing challenges out there that go beyond marijuana. Not to mention, 1 of the Democratic Party’s front-runners Joe Biden arguably has a additional retrograde opinion on marijuana legalization than Donald Trump. The rest of Trump’s challengers, from Bernie Sanders to Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have expressed their help for nationwide cannabis legalization.
HeadCount has supplied voter registration help at events sponsored by March For Our Lives, a gun manage organization whose mission runs contrary to what lots of see as 1 of the Republican Party’s seemingly core tenets of obsequiousness to the NRA. But CVP and its parent organization stay strictly non-partisan. “HeadCount’s mission is to get folks voting and participating, regardless of their celebration or exactly where they stand on any challenge,” clarifies D’Arcangelo.
Certainly, his group knows about operating an helpful voter registration drive. Considering the fact that 2004, HeadStart has registered more than 600,000 folks to vote in the United States. The group has achieved that by sending volunteers out to music concerts and other events, as nicely as their net-primarily based efforts. “Concerts and music festivals are the excellent spot to connect with folks exactly where they’re currently at,” says D’Arcangelo.
As cannabis becomes legal in additional and additional locations, the Cannabis Voter Project has even been capable to set up shop at events linking attendees with an actual buzz. It had a booth at the world’s 1st-ever legal cannabis sales operation at this year’s Outdoors Lands music festival in San Francisco. Attendees purchased seven figures of edibles, flower, and vape cartridges more than the course of the weekend at the festival’s “Grass Lands” section, and CVP was there to speak about why folks want to get registered if they want possibilities like that to continue.
“It was quite thrilling to be portion of such a historic occasion for the cannabis neighborhood,” says D’Arcangelo. “I do not feel most of the folks who came to Grass Lands anticipated to see us so lots of of them had been pleasantly shocked to uncover out they could take action on an challenge that was crucial to them although they had been there.”
The CVP mission continues to expand. The organization is at the moment operating a dispensary outreach system with Terrapin Care Station that encourages consumers to get in touch with their elected officials about cannabis challenges. Attendees of Santa Rosa’s Emerald Cup in December will be capable to get a side of political awareness with their cannabis competitors at a CVP booth as nicely.
“Most folks do not feel about their voter registration status on a standard basis, so you have excellent opportunity of reaching them if you make having registered as effortless and easy as feasible,” says D’Arcangelo. Signing up to vote amongst puffs at a music festival appears about as discomfort-totally free as feasible, when you get appropriate down to it.