The 2014 Indiana General Assembly doesn’t start until January 2nd, but legislators are already planning their moves. That means we are planning our moves as well.

Indiana NORML, PUC NORML, Southwest Indiana NORML, Indiana Medical Marijuana Advocates, and the Indiana Department of Cannabis met in downtown Indianapolis on September 28th to discuss the best way forward to advance the cause of Cannabis reform in Indiana. We met with Indiana Senator Karen Tallian, who has worked for three years trying to get reform, and former Indiana Representative Tom Knollman, who retired from the House because of multiple sclerosis, a disease treatable by Cannabis.

Other reform organizations will be joining us, too.

It takes your involvement, as citizens of Indiana, to reform Cannabis laws. We were told by Tallian, Knollman and other government officials, that if they do not get a lot of citizen input demanding reform, it will not happen. That means writing your representatives and visiting them in person, to let them know what you want.

We will give you the tools and ideas in order to do this. Please pay close attention to our Facebook page (facebook.com/Indiana norml) and our website (inorml.org) as we will be posting talking points, methods, suggestions and ideas as to how you can better talk to your reps.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT YOUR GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HEAR FROM YOU. WE CAN NOT ACHIEVE CANNABIS REFORM IF THEY DON’T THINK THE VOTERS ARE INTERESTED. THEY WILL LISTEN TO YOU!

We are forming a new organization called the Indiana Cannabis Action Network so all Cannabis reform organizations can communicate better. This allows us to spread out more into the state with the same message.

We are strong in the central, southern and northwestern parts of the State, but we need support in the northeast and eastern parts. Even if you don’t belong to an organization, take action on your own. I’m betting everyone reading these words knows at least two other people who want to see Cannabis law reformed. I’m further betting each one of them know a couple of people. Have a letter writing party!

Here’s something else: Hand write the letters! We are being told by several legislators that handwritten, original letters get more attention than email. So, even if the grammar and spelling are not perfect, if they see YOU and others telling them they want change, they will start thinking about how many other voters are thinking the same way.  They are telling us that a handful of handwritten letters trumps a handful of emails any day. Email has a place, but they have to get hundreds of them. But trumping all is a personal visit. If you take the time and trouble to go visit your representative in person, they’re going to be impressed. If five of you visit separately, they’re going to be looking at this issue because they know there are other people feeling the same way.

If you’re not already, you must register to vote! Even if you are, it’s a good idea to check and make sure. You can register to vote online at: https://indianavoters.in.gov/PublicSite/PublicMain.aspx?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1

While you’re at it, check out your legislator. How has he/she voted on issues before? We all complain about the politicians, but many don’t even know who they are, let alone whether they have voted for good legislation or not. Part of citizenship is taking part in the process. It’s not hard. You can do it!

We will point you in the right direction, but it will be YOU THE PEOPLE that makes the positive change in Cannabis laws possible.

Stay tuned. And get ready to write letters!