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DAY 4: Addressing Their Concerns

Welcome to Day 4 of your Activist Challenge!

Today, we’ll take the concerns we heard from our elected officials yesterday, and craft a response letter that directly addresses those concerns.

Watch our tutorial video to see a Texas NORML Board Member complete today’s action and give some colorful tips about the process!

DAY 4 ACTION: ADDRESSING THEIR CONCERNS

Look back at who represents you by going to the link:
https://www.texasnorml.org/who-reps-me/

Look up your address, and find the mailing addresses for your elected representatives. Now it’s time to write a letter explaining to them your position on cannabis prohibition, and what you need from them. Below, we’ve included some tips, a sample script, and links to common misconceptions your legislator may have about the plant.

SAMPLE LETTER THAT YOU CAN USE TO WRITE TO YOUR LEGISLATOR

(Month) (Day) (Year)
(Title) (First name) (Last name)
(Room Number), State Capitol
Austin, TX (Zip Code)
RE: Cannabis Law Reform in Texas
Dear (Name):
My name is (your first and last name) and I am a constituent represented by you. I recently contacted your office by phone, requesting information about your position with regard to current cannabis prohibition in Texas. I was told you (support / oppose) changing Texas law to allow our citizens legal access to this plant. I want to (thank you for / speak with you regarding) your position.
(State why you support or oppose the bill or other issue here. Choose up to three of the strongest points that support your position and state them clearly. Be sure you address the concern you were told when you called.)
(Include a personal story. Tell your representative why the issue is important to you and how it affects you, your family members and your community.)
(Tell your representative how you want them to represent you on this issue and ask for a response. Be sure to include your name and address on both your letter and envelope.)
Sincerely,
SIGN YOUR NAME
Print your name
Street address

City, State, Zip code

TIPS FOR WRITING YOUR LETTER
Use the proper and full salutation and name.
Be courteous and informative in your communication.
State the purpose of the letter in the opening paragraph. I am writing in regard to…
If you live in the elected official’s district be sure to say this in the opening paragraph as well.
Focus on the key points.
Include examples of how the issue impacts you and your family.
Keep the letter brief – not more than one page.
Restate your request at the end of the letter.

Thank them for their support.

COMMON ARGUMENTS, AND INFORMATION FOR YOUR REPLY:

> It’s a Gateway Drug.
No. It isn’t. Here’s a Newsweek article going into detail on the subject. If this is your legislator’s concern, it’s unfounded:
https://www.newsweek.com/marijuana-not-gateway-drug-325358

> It’s as Addictive as Heroin.
No. It isn’t. The Washington Post weighs in:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/10/09/no-marijuana-is-not-actually-as-addictive-as-heroin/?utm_term=.c450cdaa8f10

> It’ll wreck the economy.
Some prohibitionists claim that for every dollar made selling legal cannabis, several more are spent combating the “social ills” from its use. This is untrue. ThinkProgress explains:
https://thinkprogress.org/5-states-weighing-marijuana-legalization-would-reap-enormous-economic-benefits-study-suggests-cb06831d154b/#.oe7hp1hvq

> Even so, smoking is smoking, and that’s harmful.
Fine, so let’s legalize concentrates and edibles. But, even if you still want to light one up, there’s science showing smoking cannabis is not comparable to smoking tobacco:
https://www.alternet.org/2016/01/what-are-risks-marijuana-smoke-compared-tobacco/

Use these scripts, tips, and facts to craft your letter to your legislator.

Once you’ve written your letter, mail it out! Post how it went on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #texasvotescannabis!

THE BOTTOM LINE
Cannabis has been vilified for decades, and people have real concerns about what they perceive as a sudden acceptance of this plant into polite society. It’s important to listen to their concerns so that you can truly address what worries them, and not overwhelm them with cannabis facts they don’t want to know. Besides, you can always find like-minded individuals ready to talk about the wonders of cannabis!

Join Texas NORML today to do exactly that!

WHAT’S NEXT?
You’ve proved you have a vote. You found out who represents you. You spoke to their office and listened to their concerns. You wrote a letter directly addressing those issues. What now? Tomorrow, we take these actions into our real lives, by talking to two people in our immediate peer group about cannabis, and the work you’ve done this week. See you on Day 5!

Keep up with the previous day’s challenge emails here, on our blog.

Past NORML News