GanjAmerica: Four ways to take the topic of marijuana seriously

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Good times are ahead in the ganja business as more and more states begin to consider legalizing different aspects of that special herb, such as medical or recreational usage.

It’s obvious that much of the populations of different states cool with relaxing the rules, but that makes others, including some lawmakers and law enforcers, dig in their heels after years of cracking down on “reefer madness.”

Getting the word out is important, but getting the right word out is even more important. Basically, it’s important for marijuana proponents to not get too crazy in their advocacy, and present the advantages to a community of embracing, or at least tolerating it.

For instance, projecting a hippie/counterculture image may backfire among officials and local leaders who may be more interested in possible health benefits, or the more powerful ‘green’ – how much money the industry can bring to a community.

With “legal” states now projected to bring in hundreds of millions of dollars, officials from other states may begin to want more details.

Consider creating a series of marijuana events to educate them. Here’s how to do them right.

  • Give ground rules to any ‘superfans.’ Those who want legalization, or even to be left alone, need to be on their best behavior. When inviting them, remember what the rules are for their particular venue or community – even in legal states, public imbibing is still illegal. There may also be rules on what vendors can say or hand out (informational fliers OK, pot samples not OK.)
  • Project the right vibe. The Cheech and Chong/happy stoner message may get some laughs, but if organizers want to show their neighbors that the topic of marijuana can be treated seriously by mature adults, consider toning down the fun.
  • Find useful speakers. There are plenty of ‘mainstream’ people with pro-pot credentials, and many of them are so enthusiastic, they may speak for free, or at least a reduced fee. Maybe the mayor of a town that is seeing benefits.
  • Invite the opposition. If a church, educator or legal official has expressed concerns about the growing interest acceptance of marijuana, offer them an opportunity to take part in it or at least come observe. It could help educate him or her about the topic, and demonstrate to event-goers that there’s room for plenty of different opinions, especially if you let their organization share their message.