"Politics in America is not a spectator sport. You have to get involved" - Congressman Sam Farr


Let’s be honest: medical cannabis is not the most pressing issue in Washington, D.C., these days. While a majority of Congressional members are sympathetic to the needs of patients, most do not understand the issue of medical cannabis, much less that there is a way forward. In the truest definition of democracy, our elected officials represent their constituents, who have thousands of needs. If you are not asking them to add medical cannabis to the list, there is no pressure for them to advocate for you.

In fact, if they don’t hear from you, it is likely that they are getting their information about cannabis from the news, lobbyists representing cannabis businesses or opponents to cannabis legalization, and unfortunately, medical cannabis, much less patients, are not on their agenda. Without hearing from you, there is no incentive for your members to learn about issues facing patients or find solutions to help.

Don’t worry, you do not have to be a policy expert to engage your representatives, in fact, as a medical cannabis stakeholder, you likely know more than they do! ASA has created a Legislative ToolKit with factsheets, talking points, and presentations to help with your outreach efforts.

According to a survey of congressional staffers conducted by the Congressional Management Foundation, members of Congress are more likely to be swayed on an issue by concerned citizens who visit, write, or call their offices than by the efforts of paid lobbyists. As it turns out, you have more power than they realize!

Find your reps using our simple web tool

Get to know them. What issues do they care about? How have they voted on cannabis, veteran, patient or healthcare policy?  If they were just elected this session, they would really love to hear from you.

If you have an opportunity to speak with your representative, be concise and direct: describe how federal cannabis policies impact your life, why you are engaged in the issue, that recreational cannabis and medical cannabis are not the same, and the need for a national medical cannabis program. Use this guide for tips on talking to your representatives.

Write or call your representatives.

In-Person Meetings: Scheduling an in-person meeting with your representative or their staff allows for a direct, face-to-face exchange of ideas. It provides an opportunity to discuss your concerns in-depth and build a personal connection.

Engage with Staff Members: Congressional offices have dedicated staff members who handle various issues. Engage with these staffers regularly to alert them to issues that relate to patient needs.

Stay in Touch:  Like any relationship, it is important that you make an effort to maintain a line of communication with them and their staff. Email or call occasionally to update them on the issues or share relevant information

Social Media: Engage with your representatives on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Publicly expressing your views through comments, tweets, or direct messages can draw attention to the issues you care about. Get their social media handles.

Use hashtags: #safeaccess4all #medicalcannabismatters #safeaccess

.@publicofficial please support patients, create a federal medical cannabis program # safeaccess4all

.@publicofficial recreational cannabis and medical cannabis are not the same #safeaccess4all

replace  @publicofficial  with their official’s Twitter handle, #DearSenator or #DearHouseRep (respectively or) #DearCongress

A period (.) in front of an @mention ensures that all of your followers see the tweet.

Town Hall Meetings: Attend town hall meetings hosted by your elected officials. These events provide a platform for constituents to ask questions and voice their opinions. Prepare your talking points and be ready to engage in a public forum.

Writing Op-Eds and Letters to the Editor: Submitting opinion pieces or letters to local newspapers can help raise awareness about your concerns and potentially influence your elected officials.

Attending Public Events: Keep an eye out for public events, rallies, and speaking engagements featuring your elected officials. Attending such events can offer opportunities for direct interaction.

Remember that regardless of the method you choose, maintaining a respectful approach is crucial. Clearly state your viewpoint, provide evidence where necessary, and be open to engaging in a constructive dialogue. Your engagement as a constituent can have a significant impact on the decisions and actions of your federal elected officials.



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Campaigns like Safe Access 4 All are only possible thanks to the support of the Members of Americans for Safe Access, our generous sponsors and, of course, the donors who support our work with a contribution of any amount.