The holidays are a time of giving. If you enjoy legal cannabis, or want to see cannabis legal in your state, there are a number of organizations and nonprofits you can donate to or get involved in to learn more about and help shape policy. Whether your state has a legal marijuana program that you want to see improved, or you still want your state to legalize medical marijuana, here are some places where you can educate yourself on these issues.
Drug Policy Alliance (DPA)
DPA is the nation’s leading organization on drug policy. Founded by Ethan Nadelmann in 2000, DPA helps craft drug policy rooted in science, compassion, health, and human rights. The organization works to advance policies with these values all over the country, working to support communities of color disproportionately affected by the drug war, empowering youth, and promoting harm reduction approaches to drug policy.
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML)
Based out of Washington D.C. with chapters in every state, NORML was founded in 1970 by attorney Keith Stroup. The organization has lobbied relentlessly to change marijuana policy both federally and at the state level. Today, NORML is an excellent resource for finding a cannabis attorney, learning about the laws in every state, and getting information on how the movement plans to move forward.
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)
MPP’s mission is fourfold: to increase public support for non punitive cannabis policies, to activate supporters of these policies, to change state laws, and to gain influence in Congress. Like NORML, MPP also has state-by-state representation, in addition to a more broad federal approach. MPP’s strategy is to promote medical marijuana and cannabis decriminalization through state legislatures, legalization through state legislatures and ballot initiatives, to get traction in Congress and promote federal marijuana reform, and to educate the public.
Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies (MAPS)
Unlike the above organizations, MAPS is primarily dedicated to scientific research (and ultimately changing policy through research). Founded in 1986 by Rick Doblin, MAPS’ mission is to develop medical, legal, and cultural contexts so that people can benefit from the therapeutic uses of psychedelics and cannabis. With medical marijuana in particular, MAPS has done extensive research looking at how cannabis can help cure PTSD for veterans and patients suffering from PTSD.
Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM)
Curious about those fighting against legalization? SAM states its approach is to neither legalize nor demonize cannabis. The organization aims to spread information about the harms of marijuana and legalization as a whole. While its values are increasingly becoming the minority as more states reform their cannabis laws and legalize, it’s worth checking out what the opposition has to say.