Pro-Marijuana Student Advocates Reach Out and Touch Voters

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You’ve probably heard that marijuana legalization is on the ballot in several states in Nov. 6, 2018. But if you haven’t heard — and you live in one of those states — you might soon be receiving a call from a volunteer with Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).

The national advocacy group recently launched a “legalization phone bank” to help get out the vote ahead of the elections. Volunteers can use a tool on the group’s website to register to call voters in Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah and make sure they know that cannabis reform is on the ballot.

To help callers get started, SSDP provided scripts and links to other reference material for each of the four states. A call to North Dakota, which has a full cannabis legalization initiative on the ballot, might sound like this, for example:

  1. Hi, is this (voter)?

My name is (caller), and I’m a volunteer with Students for Sensible Drug Policy. In this election, you’ll have the chance to vote on Measure 3, which would make marijuana legal for people 21 and older.

[Yes] – [proceed to #2]

[No] – Are you a North Dakota resident eligible to vote?

[No] – If you’ve been a resident of your precinct since October 6 and have a North Dakota driver’s license or ID card, you can vote! Marijuana prohibition is an unjust policy that criminalizes people who use marijuana, wastes taxpayer dollars on incarceration, and does nothing to keep marijuana out of the hands of people under 21. I hope you’ll consider it, and thanks for your time. [end conversation]

[Yes] – Great! [proceed to #2]

  1. Do you plan to vote for Measure 3?

[Plan to vote against/undecided] – OK. I hope you’ll consider that marijuana prohibition is an unjust policy that criminalizes people who use marijuana, wastes taxpayer dollars on incarceration, and does nothing to keep marijuana out of the hands of people under 21. Thanks for your time. [end conversation]

[Plans to vote for M3] – Great! Thank you for the support. Do you plan to vote in person or with an absentee ballot?

[Already voted] – Terrific, thanks for being an active citizen who votes! Please be sure to let all your friends know that ending marijuana prohibition will restore justice and improve the economy in North Dakota. [end conversation]

[Voting in person] – Great! Many counties have early voting. Do you have a plan to vote and a time of day when you’re going to head to the polls?

Do you know the location of your polling station?

(Help create a plan. Go to vote.org to find the polling location.)

Be sure to bring your ID (requirements), get there by 8pm sharp, and let all your friends know that ending marijuana prohibition will restore justice and improve the economy in North Dakota [end conversation]

[Voting by mail] – Have you sent your ballot in yet?

[No] – If you haven’t mailed your ballot yet, you should consider mailing it as soon as possible. It has to arrive at the county clerk’s office by election day. [end conversation]

[Yes] – Terrific, thanks for being an active citizen who votes! Please be sure to let all your friends know that ending marijuana prohibition will restore justice and improve the economy in North Dakota. [end conversation]

The organization also provides suggested scripts for leaving voicemails for voters who don’t answer the phone.

As of Oct. 31, 2018, volunteers had made nearly 3,500 calls, according to the SSDP website.

Betty Aldworth, executive director of SSDP, told Marijuana Moment that the group’s phone-banking efforts have provided critical support to previous legalization initiatives in 2012, 2014, and 2016, with volunteers “logging well over 100,000 calls and making a crucial difference in the tightest races, like North Dakota is this year.”

“Phone-banking is one of the most effective tools we have to increase voter turnout, so we hope to call more than 40,000 of them,” Aldworth said. “The young people we turn out this election will be the ones who make the difference between ending prohibition or continuing on with the destructive, racist policies which have impeded medical advances, economic opportunity, and liberty for nearly a century.”

This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here.

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