What Is Cannabis Advocacy? Examples & Insights

Cannabis advocates are the heart and soul of weed culture. Without advocacy, cannabis would still likely be illegal, stigmatized, and out-of-reach across the country. Advocacy groups highlight countless important causes nationwide, although there’s a lot you can do on your own. 

Find out what cannabis advocacy looks like in 2024 and beyond and how you can get involved!

What Is Cannabis Advocacy?

On its own, “advocacy” is the public support of a cause, group, movement, or political policy. Likewise, “cannabis advocacy” is the support of cannabis legalization, education, and positive cultural growth — all of which can take many forms.

Cannabis advocacy movements tend to shift focus over time and in different locations. For instance, advocacy groups in states where cannabis is illegal may focus more on state-level policies. Meanwhile, groups in states where cannabis is recreationally legal may primarily advocate for better federal laws. 

Types of Cannabis Advocacy

Today, cannabis advocacy groups focus on a variety of important initiatives. 

Medical and Recreational Legalization

Cannabis is recreationally legal in nearly half of U.S. states and medically legal in even more. Many legalization movements focus on state-level decriminalization and federal legalization.

Additionally, groups like the Drug Policy Alliance highlight how cannabis’s criminalization disproportionally impacts people of color and low-income communities. They push for policies that affect legalization and those incarcerated for drug offenses. 

Education and Public Safety 

Better education about cannabis’s uses, benefits, and effects leads to safer practices and fewer stigmas. This is essential to making sure people use cannabis safely. For example, many people don’t know that weed helps with insomnia, while others don’t understand how unsafe it is to drive while high. 

Tearing down cannabis taboos makes it easier for people to talk about it. As a result, they can break potentially harmful habits and maximize weed’s benefits. Education is also critical for growing weed at home, guaranteeing the best and safest results. 

Cultivation and Sales

After cannabis is legalized in a state, growers and dispensary owners still have to jump through many hurdles before they can open for business. Specific laws regarding cannabis sales are often determined at the local level. Fortunately, cities and local governments can easily benefit from cannabis taxes — although they may not change anything without advocacy. 

How To Become a Cannabis Advocate

There are many ways you can advocate for better cannabis laws and uses. Search for local, state-wide, or national groups that advocate for the policies you want to see changed. 

For example, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance (MPAA) was critical in getting cannabis legalized medically in 2012. Today, they continue to advocate for safer and more efficient uses in medical settings by offering resources for both patients and healthcare providers. 

Beyond donations and getting involved in groups, there’s a lot you can do to support cannabis on a cultural level. Simply talking about cannabis more and not treating it as a taboo will help normalize it. As a result, people will be more likely to share beneficial uses and disregard negative stigmas. 

Discover Cannabis Advocacy First-Hand at Harbor House Collective

At Harbor House Collective, we understand the importance of supporting cannabis culture at the community level. Visit us in Chelsea, MA, to learn more about what we do and how you can support local cannabis advocacy. 

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