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It's far more important for many individual citizens to write just one letter each, than it is for a few dedicated activists to lobby state and local officials constantly. That's why we at hope that you will take just a few minutes out of your day and get in touch with your officials.

Quick 'n Easy CyberLobbying

There are several websites with excellent interfaces for sending email, faxes, or letters to your representatives. They even have sample letters. All you have to do is enter your contact information and click "Send."

Our personal favorite is NORML's Legislative Action Center, where you can look up your representatives, bills currently under consideration, and easily send your thoughts in a number of different formats. Just type in your zipcode and you're off. (And remember, you can use this interface for more than just marijuana topics.)

Not quite as powerful but definitely very convenient is the Action Alerts, listed at the top righthand side on DRCNet. The easy-to-use interface makes it a breeze.

Traditional Methods

If you are in the United States, then your primary representatives to the federal government are your Senators and your House Representatives. Email, fax, write a letter, call them with your concerns. The federal government is primarily responsible for continuing to push the War on Drugs to its current crazed level; let them to know that you wish for legislation to reconsider scheduling and penalties for drugs such as marijuana and MDMA. You may also wish to ask for a cut in funding to the War on Drugs.

Perhaps more important right now are your state representatives. They are more directly in charge of issues close to home, such as penalties for possession and use of various drugs, as well as availability of medical marijuana. Similar to the federal government, there are usually two legislative bodies, and you should have one or more representative in each. If you live in California, click here to find your Assembly representative and here to find your Senator.

You may also wish to contact members of the executive branch. They don't make the laws, but they do enforce them, and often have a lot of leeway regarding how to carry them out. For the federal government, the President, Vice-President, and the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (aka the Drug Czar) are the best folks to contact. At the state level, your Governor, Vice-Governor, District Attorney, and Attorney General are the people to contact.

You can also contact county officials. Many counties have taken it upon themselves to take a stand on drug issues, such as counties in California which have passed their own marijuana decriminalization laws.

Please, take the time to do this. Simply look up your Senator's website, locate their office phone number, and give them a call. Say, "I'd like to express my views as a constituent to a representative of Senator X." You may be transfered to a representative. Ideally you will mention a topic of recent concern, but even just a general statement like, "I am opposed to the War on Drugs. I think we, as a society, need to re-examine our stance about mood-altering chemicals. I'd like Senator X to support any legislation which moves towards reform of our drug laws, and oppose any that impose stricter penalties or increase funding for War-On-Drugs advertising."

Even better, schedule an appointment. Take 15 minutes to visit with them, find out their views, and let them know that you, like most citizens, support a re-evaluation of our drug laws. You'll likely be amazed at how much affect such a visit can have.

Strength in Numbers

Perhaps even more important than influencing those that are already in office is to elect new representatives that are looking for change. Currently there is a gap: 80% of Americans want marijuana legalized for medical purposes, and 35% want it legalized completely - yet it remains a Schedule I drug. 75% of Americans believe the War on Drugs is a failure, but few federal representatives are looking to end it.

Neither of the two major parties (Democrat, Republican) have ending the War on Drugs as a part of their platform. The two next largest parties, however, do. Libertarians want to re-legalize all drugs. The Green Party wants to end the War on Drugs and decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis.

By registering to vote as a Libertarian or a Green, you will show your support for an end the war on drugs.