Putting Cannabis At The Forefront of the 2020 Elections Cycle
It’s that time again. No, not 4:20, but another presidential election cycle and a more than healthy dose of political jargon to decipher & deal with on TV and social media. Before we know it we’ll be seeing ads, banners, signs, flyers, and anything else politicians can do to grab our attention. While we don’t associate we either political party, voting is our fundamental right as Americans, and our civic duty as cannabis lovers to elect politicians friendly to our industry and lifestyle.
The purpose of this blog post isn’t to endorse a single candidate or a political party, but rather to encourage our readers to bring cannabis issues to the forefront of the election cycle. The greatest thing about cannabis is the diverse group of people that use cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes. The cannabis community has advocates in nearly every demographic group measured by political scientists and pollsters, yet we seem to take the most losses when it comes to legislative issues.
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While it seems we have a lot of vocal support from many politicians, we could probably count on one hand the number of representatives on the national level actually writing and putting legislation forward for votes. Then when we press those vocal politicians for action, we get the same bi-partisan response of “we should let the states decide”.
Well the states have decided, with a majority of states having some form of medicinal marijuana.
Cannabis Legalization Accelerating At The State Level
Now that enough states have decided to move forward with cannabis initiatives, the time is now to get our politicians to act on a national level. While my home state of North Carolina hasn’t made the cut on full cannabis legalization, they have embraced the industrial hemp industry, which has been a huge economic boon for our state and the country.
We might add that this economic boom for the farmer and small businesses has turned out to be the best advocate for the full legalization of the cannabis plant in North Carolina and around the country. When profits outpace bribes, real legislation can happen.
2018 Farm Bill Big Win For Cannabis Industry
With the 2018 Farm Bill, Congress passed a bill that was a huge win for the cannabis industry, and it is having an even more far-reaching effect than myself and many industry experts could imagine.
While a big win economically, the introduction of hemp products to the mainstream markets, also brings marketing & education for consumers. Being able to provide this education on industrial hemp has helped debunk a lot of the myths about cannabis that the anti-cannabis activists have used to stigmatize one of the most useful plants on the planet.
The 2018 Farm Bill has also forced many state legislatures to change their current legislation regarding industrial hemp, leading to more opportunities for our state representatives to introduce full cannabis legalization legislation. New legislation at both the state and national level is being introduced at a much faster rate than we’ve ever seen before. Even the Bible Belt and Midwestern states are heading towards full legalization of cannabis to help save their agricultural industries.
Putting Pressure on National Congress Members
This brings us back to our national congressional leaders. While most states are doing their part to embrace the cannabis industry, at the federal level of government our congressional leaders seem stalled. It seems as if campaigning seasons are starting earlier and earlier, and God forbid acting on an issue that actually has bi-partisan support from constituents, and an overwhelming majority of support in the polls. Some demographic groups poll as high as 75% in favor of marijuana legalization according to PewResearch.org.
We all have our theories on why members of Congress fail to act on this issue when clearly the general public favors legalization, the fact remains that the most vocal supporters don’t act on their campaign promises. While many thought politicians being bought off was a conspiracy theory, new technology and the sharing of information has really shed light on how Big Pharma & other lobbies keep cannabis illegal. The money trail can no longer be hidden in the technological age, and the days of influencing voters with false information are over.
Anotther popular opinion about Congressional leaders that’s proven to be true is that members of Congress are addicted to the power they hold. In turn, they will not put forth any real legislation that may be controversial to some of their most vocal voting blocks for fear of losing campaign contributions. Fear of losing an election now dominates the minds of members of Congress, so enacting real positive change has taken a back seat to win elections.
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The end result is no real option for the cannabis voter. Our politicians are now wasting time on questioning the results of an election that happened almost 3 years ago. Now we’re in campaign season for 2020 already, and high profile and high ranking members of Congress have always avoided “fringe issues” during this time of the election cycle.
Farm Bill Makes 2020 Election Different For Cannabis Advocates
The 2020 election is different though. With the passing of the 2018 Farm Bill and the legalization of industrial hemp, the political game has changed for those seeking office. Politicians are now feeling pressure from retail & agricultural lobbies that have the same kind of power Big Pharma has.
The 2018 Farm Bill and industrial hemp market have hit the mainstream, and more and more people are seeing the benefits and positive uses of the cannabis plant. The plant is disrupting a number of different industries, and disruption in markets is seen as a positive economic benefit in the long term.
When combining both marijuana and industrial hemp the cannabis industry is currently having positive effects in a disrupting a number of industries and key social issues that our government has failed us on.
Here is a short list of industries cannabis is disrupting in just the short time it has been legal in some form in all 50 states.
Industries & Social Issues Disrupted By Cannabis Legalization
- Healthcare – Cannabis is replacing highly addictive and dangerous medications for pain, anxiety, seizures, and a host of other ailments.
- Environmental & Sustainable Products – Cannabis is a much more efficient & safer product to make plastics, clothing, & a host of other disposable materials and products that aren’t biodegradable.
- Agricultural – While farming hemp and marijuana is no easy task, it has been a cash crop for farmers looking to stay alive, ensuring we have another generation of farmers to sustain our way of life.
- Construction – From concrete to siding, hemp is a more efficient and environmentally friendly product than other products being used in the building industry.
- Retail & Small Businesses – The heart of our economy, industrial hemp has offered a new product and service for retailers to offer, even bringing some big-name retailers new customers and larger revenue streams.
- Stock Market – Banking may still be difficult for cannabis suppliers and distributors, but make no bones about it, cannabis stocks are hot and Wall Street is making huge profits off them.
- Employment – Introduce a 1-2 billion dollar industry to an already thriving economy just equals more jobs.
- Prison Reform – Allowing non-violent marijuana offenders to be released from the prison system not only saves tax dollars, but it also puts more workers out to generate more tax revenue.
This is just a short list of industries and social issues that cannabis has affected, but one common theme in every industry & social issue listed is cannabis offers a more efficient and sustainable product than what it is being used to replace. With environmental and health issues taking the forefront of the 2020 election cycle, no other single raw material has a better track record for being more environmentally friendly and safe for humans than the cannabis plant.
Forcing Bi-Partisan Support For Cannabis Through Economics
Cannabis has now forced its way into both political parties world. Certain industries have certain political parties and activists that support them, but as you can see from the industries and social issues that cannabis is disrupting, the cannabis issue can no longer be ignored. As more and more businesses profit from the plant, and more and more users see benefits from the plant, the more pressure members of Congress will see in regards to cannabis reform.
We now have the power of the purse at our disposal, and we can make a very significant impact through the simple economic theories of supply and demand. If we choose cannabis products over the alternatives, we can force suppliers and retailers to lobby for us. Adding a financial motive to gain advocates is just a byproduct of all the hard work we’ve done to get to this point.
In addition to profits for corporations, cannabis is a much more affordable alternative for most of us in regards to healthcare, leaving more money in our pockets to do things we might want to do, instead of being forced to pay it out to Big Insurance Companies and Big Pharma. We can also reduce the caseload for doctors and hospitals.
Holding Candidates Responsible
Cannabis users aren’t one issue voters, but be sure to research your candidates. I for one am guilty of listening to a candidate instead of researching their records, but new technology and free tools for voters are now available, making it very easy for voters to research their candidates votes. Let’s face it, there’s candidates on Capitol Hill in Washington DC who have said they’ve supported the legalization of cannabis for years, but yet to put one single piece of legislation forward to make the change happen. It’s time to vote these members out.
If we can get a bill like the 2018 Farm Bill passed in one of the most polarized cycles of Congress, then we can make it across the finish line on full legalization. If your party or candidate is an incumbent, force them to sponsor a bill on full legalization of cannabis. If they can’t, vote them out in the primary. Don’t even let them make it to the general election.
Positive Executive Branch Outlook for Cannabis Industry
No one in their right mind would have ever thought Donald Trump would be President of the United States when industrial hemp would become legal again. If we could get our legislation to the executive branch, there is a good chance it will get signed. This time around he’s going to be forced on the issue, as a host of other presidential candidates have voiced their support for the full legalization of cannabis.
It seems the executive branch will be our easiest battle, so for cannabis supporters, our important political races are going to be at the state representative levels for the Senate and the House of Representatives. We settle for vocal support anymore, we need action. If your members of Congress have been sitting for 50 years idle on the issue, it’s time to vote them out. Remember disruption is a good thing.
Keep Your Advocacy Work Friendly
Last but not least, let’s keep it friendly and peaceful as we always have. Cannabis users are the most friendly voting block, and positive attitudes are contagious. The old saying goes “you can catch more bees with honey than vinegar”, so kill them with kindness. In a political arena full of hatred and shit talking, they won’t know what to do with someone treating them kindly.
Also, stay educated on your choices. If a candidate is for full cannabis legalization but has a history of animosity towards cannabis issues, chances are they’re not a good choice. If they have supported cannabis, research how they’re supporting it, and if they’re using their vote to back up their words. We all understand there are other issues affecting us all, but chances are somebody that supports your issue also supports the cannabis issue as well.
Most importantly, get out and vote. No matter what candidate you vote for, the most important thing is to vote. All the advocacy in the world is no good if you don’t vote.
Thank you for reading our little political rant on the 2020 election, and we hope we didn’t offend anyone. We also want to thank you for supporting the cannabis industry and be sure to check out our other Disciple 420 blog posts for more information, news, and reviews on cannabis topics and products. Be sure to subscribe and follow us on social media as well. We hope everyone stays sane and calm as we enter the 2020 election cycle.
- 2018 Farm Bill – https://www.agriculture.senate.gov/2018-farm-bill
- Pew Research Poll on Marijuana Legalization – https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/10/08/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/
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