My name is Scott Morgan and my job/passion is to legalize marijuana and end the war on drugs. This is me on TV last week:

I recently created this account so that I can promote important stories (sometimes mine), without feeling like I'm tricking anyone about who I am or why I'm here. And with that said, I'll get to the point: the Dept. of Justice is launching a new effort to destroy medical marijuana laws, and they're doing it in full violation of Obama and Holder's promises that state laws allowing medical marijuana would be respected under this administration:

We're challenging these actions on multiple fronts, but what I'm asking from reddit is simple. Please just take a minute to visit the White House contact page, , and politely remind the President that you support medical marijuana and oppose federal interference with state laws protecting patients. That's all.

I can't offer much right now in exchange for your participation, but I think the progress you'll see in the coming years will be worth taking a few minutes to make your voice heard. And for what it's worth, I'd be happy to stick around and answer your questions about what it's like working to legalize drugs in Washington, D.C.

edit: Wow, thanks so much all of you for the awesome response. I wish we had a way to count how many messages we're sending. I promise you, hundreds of well-written emails from redditors to the White House will have more impact than any number of sexy 4/20 parties with cool bands and dank nugs.

edit: A few of you asked what else you can do to help, and that's great. I would start by signing up for some email lists and connecting with activists on Facebook and Twitter. You can find me here: and here

Just staying connected to the latest drug policy news on sites like reddit really helps. For something more focused, you can start following sites like mine ( ) and DrugWarRant ( both of which are good places to stay informed and take action when big things are happening.

I believe we've accomplished far more than we realized simply by participating in large online communities that generate strong web traffic for media coverage of the case for marijuana reform. Major news outlets are competing for eyeballs on the web and they're finally picking up on the fact that marijuana legalization is something a lot of people want to read about. A lot of this happened by accident, so imagine what we can accomplish when we start doing these things with an activist intent.

edit: The other big thing you can do to help is donate (if you can afford it). In my experience, all of the major organizations are doing important work, so I recommend researching and deciding for yourself what you'd feel best about supporting.

edit: For any of you who are in school, the absolute best way to get started in drug policy activism is through Students for Sensible Drug Policy ( This is the boot camp where the next generation of great activists is learning how to get things done. SSDP activists are now getting hired right and left by the larger organizations, so if that's a dream of yours, this is the place to start. SSDP is also a very effective and underfunded group that deserves more financial support.

edit: There's been some discussion below about the importance of creating activism that breaks the typical mold of marching, music, and marijuana leaves. Here's a good effort from some students in Oregon just days ago:

edit: ...and Reddit crashes the White House contact page. I'm speechless. Love you all.

Comments: 1142 • Responses: 15  • Date: 

Thomsenite643 karma

Good luck. I don't personally smoke, but I highly support legalization of marijuana and an end to the war on drugs.

MarijuanaActivist108 karma

You're not alone. The founder of, David Borden, has never used an illegal drug in his life. He graduated from Princeton with a degree in astrophysics, but decided that the greatest contribution he could make to society would be ending the War on Drugs.

Malcorin246 karma

On a scale of 1 to 10, how serious is this issue taken in DC? It always seems to get laughed off, despite the potential financial and medical benefits.

MarijuanaActivist160 karma

I'd say it used to be a 1 and it's suddenly up to a 5 (with 5 meaning it's on the radar screen and ready to continue moving up).

Honestly, I believe the web has been an enormous force for moving this debate forward and creating accountability for all the B.S. that has long characterized the American drug policy dialogue.

I think our political culture got trapped in this 1980's "tough on crime" mentality ever since George H. Bush swift-boated Dukakis over the Willie Horton scandal. Everyone in Washington thinks crime is a good attack issue, even though it hasn't really been used that way effectively in a long time and many Americans are sick as hell of everything the drug war has become.

The time is ripe for a towering exhibit in how miscalculated our marijuana politics are. Ron Paul winning the nomination or something of that magnitude would finally kill the notion that supporting legalization is politically risky.

mattsoave28 karma

That's because many of the strongest advocates are stoners. Hard to take someone seriously when they're wearing a Bob Marley shirt. There needs to be more* serious supporters to make any change.

*Edit: Realized "more serious supporters" sounds like I mean "serious-er;" I meant "a higher number of serious supporters."

Duckman3371 karma

You mean serious supporters as in these guys?

MarijuanaActivist47 karma

Those guys are no joke.

[deleted]116 karma

So, you're a professional ... lobbyist?

Wow, this will be brilliant. Reddit hates lobbyists, but loves pot. The logical contortions some will pull to work this in, will be fun to watch!

MarijuanaActivist64 karma

My work mostly involves writing and strategizing, as opposed to direct lobbying. I'm essentially a blogger ( and Huffington Post), but I occasionally collaborate with colleagues who do lobbying work.

Some of the more recent medical marijuana laws were passed by legislatures, rather than a popular vote, so it was necessary to lobby state reps for smart regulations. There's also been extensive lobbying for marijuana reform in Washington, D.C. which is quite an uphill battle. The Showtime documentary In Pot We Trust offers a window into that world.

sheepshizzle85 karma

I don't have any questions for you. I just wanted to say that I fully support your work, and as requested, wrote a note to the White House. Here it is:

Mr. President,

I'm writing this quick note to you in the hopes that your staff tracks the statistics of the overall tone of the messages you receive. I wish to remind you of your pledge to make medical marijuana prohibition the least enforceable priority of your administration. Please, for the time being, respect states' rights to administer medical marijuana to patients who are in need of it's healing properties. It's my firm belief that the "War on Drugs" has been nothing short of an abject disaster, and it's programs and policies should be dismantled immediately. I know that realistically, Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will a decades-long failed policy be repealed. But I know you are a man of great intelligence, sir. I know that as a youth you experimented with drugs, as many of us have. I know that as a responsible adult, you are capable of making well informed decisions regarding drug use or abuse, regardless of it's legality. Mr. Obama, please, let's cut the nonsense and the failed drug war. Let's do something for our people. Let's release people needlessly imprisoned. Let's focus our law enforcement on crimes that really matter. Murder. Rape. Theft. Not focus them on the guy who works 50 hours a week who wants to have a beer and smoke a bowl when he gets off work after a 10 hour day. Please, Mr. President, be the change that so many of us voted for.



EDIT: reading it again, it seems a little cheesy. I just feel very strongly about this issue, and I just banged out a quick letter and sent it. But I think his staff will get the message.

MarijuanaActivist32 karma

Right on.

betterredthendead60 karma

What is the biggest thing keeping marijuana from be legalized nation wide? When you hear about cases, like the one featured on reddit yesterday, where a man in Louisiana received life in prison for selling Marijuana, does your organization react to it? Do you all try to help represent people on the hill in these extreme cases of punishment? What can I do locally to help your cause?

MarijuanaActivist78 karma

I think our biggest obstacle is the accumulated stigma of several decades of pot prohibition. Some people just tend to assume things wouldn't be this way if this wasn't the best way for things to be. But younger generations, now even most generations, have some experience with marijuana and don't support jailing people for it.

The challenge is getting everyone to realize that they're on the same page and starting the conversation about what needs to be done next. A lot of people don't realize that their support for marijuana reform is shared by half the people in the country.

Outrages like the life sentence in New Orleans are a good example of the sorts of routine injustice that people on the sidelines of this debate just don't know about. Simply demonstrating what the real consequences of prohibition actually are is vital to taking this issue from the political fringe to the mainstream. When I hear someone say "that's interesting, but it's not the most important issue," chances are they just haven't learned enough about the destruction our marijuana laws create. Individual stories of injustice are more effective than statistics, and way more effective than arguments about the "harmlessness" of the drug itself.

As for getting involved locally, begin by following drug policy news (my site, is a good starting point) and joining the email lists for the various organizations, so you're up to speed on the issues. Then it's up to you to decide where your passion is. Perhaps there's already some local advocacy work being done, and you can get involved and make some new friends. If not, you can start a chapter of NORML, or Students for Sensible Drug Policy, or Americans for Safe Access, depending on what interests you.

Of course, another important way to help is simply to make your voice heard by writing letters to the editor and posting comments online when marijuana policy issues are in the news. This makes a big difference. We're dominating the online debate decisively and it hasn't always been that way.

deadlywoodlouse51 karma

Do you think if marijuana is legalised in America, other countries will follow suit? And, following on, how long do you think it would take before it a) became fully legal in America, and b) in the other countries?

MarijuanaActivist103 karma

Yes. Legalize here and the game is changed worldwide.

Buuuut, I don't think we'll see national legalization in America anytime soon. Instead, we'll see a gradual move away from a centralized federal drug policy, with states continuing to carve out larger spaces to experiment with marijuana regulation, as is already happening in the context of medical marijuana. Public support will continue to move this trend forward, regardless of our opposition. Poll numbers are moving fast in the right direction.

Other countries will change their tune quickly once the U.S. ceases to export its reefer madness ideology, but how fast is hard to say. Watching this unfold is one of the most fascinating things I can imagine. I hope we'll get to see it.

[deleted]18 karma

I clicked on link to contact the White House, it asks for quite a bit of contact information as opposed to the standard poll question. I am hesitant to enter this information as I feel it will be used to keep tabs on me (paranoia?). I feel that I am not alone in this. Do you think that there are any steps you guys could take to make it easier to contact government officials in regards to marijuana prohibition, without labeling yourself a criminal by default?

MarijuanaActivist39 karma

I understand your concern, and I believe that expressing support for medical marijuana doesn't label you a criminal. National support hovers around 80%, far more than the number of users. In my experience, it's very rare for casual users to be targeted for engaging in activism, and when it's happened, it was much more aggressive activism than sending an email. There's a safety in numbers factor that's getting more and more pronounced thanks to the web.

iawegian10 karma

I am quite interested in the various pro-legalization groups and wonder which might be the best to support. Norml? Drug Policy Alliance??

Also, as a paid lobbyist, who pays you? I have gone to Washington as a private citizen to lobby for health care reform, but I went with a Union group who paid my airfare and hotel bill. Their organizers made a lot of difference. Who are you representing?

MarijuanaActivist15 karma

My two paid positions are Associate Editor at and Associate Director at (a related organization that makes videos about dealing with cops, but that's a whole other IAmA)

MarijuanaActivist15 karma

There are great people working hard at all the major groups. I recommend visiting some websites and deciding what excites you the most. I work too closely with too many of these groups to choose favorites.

But I will say this: if you are a student, get involved with Students for Sensible Drug Policy yesterday. It will change your life.

Psuffix8 karma

You've gotten hundreds of comments, but I have a question for you, if you can possibly answer it.

Why are you fighting for medical marijuana rather than full legalization and/or decriminalization? I don't find them compatible. The situation that has arisen in many states is that the "medical" programs simply allow recreational users to obtain a card from specific doctors that exist only to give people medical cards (after all, there's a huge market for this!). This is clearly abuse of the system, as recreational users should NOT be given it if it's clearly intended to be a medical situation.

The abuses of the system clearly show me that we should be fighting for legalization, specifically, but I know there are a lot of people with a lot income coming from medical programs that would no longer be there if it became legalized. Medical programs simply don't seem like the stepping stone toward legalization, if the medical marijuana community is going to realize they will lose a LOT of money if the move happens from medical use to legal use with age restrictions (these are businesses in a capitalist society, after all, they're greatest concern is with their income profit margins, not their customers). Even a compassionate business owner will recognize the drop in prices that would occur if it were legalized.

Granted, cannabis has many medicinal uses, but that does not justify essentially covert recreational use under the cover of medicine. It doesn't matter if it won't get approved without the medical label, we should be truthful in our intentions. The incentive for users and doctors to violate this (and the simplicity of it) warrant this. If legalization happened, it would be better for the medical community (freedom to study it, as opposed to Schedule II I classification like now), and it would be better for consumers (lower prices for consumers, easier entry into the market for entrepreneurs, and legal to perform research). But since when is the American medical and business community concerned about what's really good for patients and consumers, respectively?

I would also like to point out that my own mother is a true medical user, for epilepsy.

EDIT: Correction, cannabis is Schedule I, plua grammar. And keep up the good fight fellow ent!

MarijuanaActivist5 karma

I believe marijuana should be legal for both medical and recreational use. The reason medical happened first is because we've reached a point where the public supports that, while we haven't quite reached a point where full legalization can get a majority vote (we're damn close, though).

I agree to a large extent with your concerns and I think we'll solve a lot of these problems in the years to come. It's just a matter of establishing a sufficient cushion of public support for establishing ideal policies rather than what is politically viable at this time.

As for opposition to broader reform from the existing medical cannabis industry, we have no choice but to expose anyone who directly endorses the continued arrest and prosecution of non-violent marijuana users to protect their own profits. We will never destroy patient access in the name of recreational use, and we expect the medical marijuana community not to oppose recreational access in the name of maintaining a medical-only monopoly.

timoneer8 karma


MarijuanaActivist7 karma


tsFenix5 karma

Would a nationwide popular vote (or state by state vote) supporting medical legalization be a good way to let the government know how the public they are "representing" feels about marijuana?

What would it take to get a vote like that to happen. I dont mean to actually legalize it, but an official poll of some kind to let people know the publics attitude on the subject.

MarijuanaActivist17 karma

With regards to medical marijuana, it's amazing how many state ballot measures we've won without really getting Washington, D.C. to respect our political momentum. That's basically why I'm asking everyone to contact the White House. I think Obama gets it, to an extent, but needs to be reminded often that this issue matters to young voters.

arielmanticore3 karma

Do you think that fighting for it to be legal in the medicinal sense will turn into making it completely legal for recreational use?

I do not think that marijuana should be legal only for medical reasons, unless me wanting to relax and help me function better in social situations constitutes medicinal use.

MarijuanaActivist7 karma

Although there are reasons to support medical marijuana even if you don't support recreational legalization, I do believe the progress we've made with regards to medical use is going to help create support for broader reform measures. We've begun to build an above-ground marijuana economy in America that is refuting countless myths about what would happen if such a thing were to occur. People can see what it might look like to have recreational sales, and it's not anything worthy of the hysterical fears our opponents have been spouting.

Sporknight3 karma

How do you feel about legalization for recreational use? If medicinal legalization is achieved, then would recreational be out of the question since marijuana would be considered a controlled substance? Or would it be like in CA, where people complain of 'insomnia' and 'back pain' for a medical supply? Or do you think medicinal use should be reserved for cancer and AIDS patients, and not much else?

MarijuanaActivist14 karma

I think the needs of patients and recreational users overlap a lot, but not entirely. Both want easy, affordable access to a variety of strains, which is the nuts and bolts of what a free market for cannabis will work to provide.

The challenge becomes differentiating between the two groups, when sick people sometimes use it for fun, and fun people sometimes use it when they're sick. I suffered from terrible migraines in my late teens and found it extremely helpful, more so than any number of medications I'd tried. But I've also used it at times when I felt fine.

I think we need to acknowledge that both healthy and unhealthy adults have a right to use cannabis according to their own needs and experience, and it is in societies best interest to make sure both groups do not have to break the law in order to get it.