I just realized the other day, I keep saying CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATORS, but when I first started this whole contacting our legislators process, I had to delve into the back corners of my brain to reeducate myself from a high school class that I probably should have paid closer attention to. I definitely have vested interest in medical marijuana legislation and reform taking place, and so it was worthwhile for me to reeducate myself.
Allow me to pass along this refresher to make it a bit easier for you to bite off. But, the disclaimer is that I never aced my government classes...obviously. Feel free to correct me if I misspeak here!!
I'll start at the Federal Level, though it is very similar at the state level...
President. I hope we all know that this is Barack Obama.
Senate...made up of Senators...2 from every state.
Iowa's are Chuck Grassley (R) and Tom Harkin (D)
Tennessee's are Bob Corker (R) and Lamar Alexander (R)
House of Representatives...made up of representatives...this is based on population. Each representative covers a particular congressional district and represents those people at the federal level.
Iowa-Bruce Braley (D), David Loebsack (D), Tom Latham (R), Steve King (R)
Tennessee- Phil Roe (R), Jimmy Duncan Jr. (R), Chuck Fleischmann (R), Scott DesJarlais (R), Jim Cooper (D), Diane Black (R), Marsha Blackburn (R), Stephen Fincher (R), Steve Cohen (D)
Bills could be initiated in either the house or senate, but have to pass through all three to go into effect. All of these individuals are legislators, because they create and pass the legislation.
The state works very similarly just on a scaled down level
Senators...I'll just list a few from the areas we know lots of people.
Iowa- Waterloo/CF and surrounding areas- Bill Dotzler (D), Jeff Danielson (D), Brian Schoenjahn (D), Bill Dix (R), Steve Sodders (D), Iowa City and surrounding areas--Joe Bolkcom (D) (introducing the bill), Sandra Greiner (R), Robert Dvorsky (D)
Tennessee- Greenevile area- Steve Southerland (R)
Iowa- Waterloo/CF and surrounding areas- Bob Kressig (D), Walt Rogers
(R), Anesa Kajtazovic (D), Deborah Berry (D), Sandy Salman (R), Pat Grassley (R), Iowa City
and surrounding areas--Sally Stutsman (D), Vicki Lensing (D), Mary Mascher (D) Bobby Kafmann (R)
Tennessee- Greeneville area- David Hawk (R)
You can use these links to plug in your zip code and find your legislators. There are some fun maps to explore too. State level House and Senate are the big ones right now.
Now the part where I continue to need to get clarification is about committee, subcommittee, etc. Basically, what we need to know is that the bills need support from all sides to keep moving forward and actually become anything. February is a critical month, because by the beginning of March we will know if these bills die in committee/sub-committee. That is why we need each of you helping with the convincing and educating.
Please take the time to find your legislator and contact them. In a nutshell (and it really could be this concise), you are contacting them to say...
As a voting constituent in your district, I want you to know that I am in favor of a well regulated medical marijuana bill. Please be sure to represent my views accordingly.
If you want to do a little more research and share that with them, then by all means, please do. Feel free to share Maggie's story if you want or have them contact me for more information. Or if you want me to contact them directly after you have spoke with them, that's fine too. I have gone back and forth on this a lot though. I don't want legislators to think it's only about Maggie, if that's all they are hearing. I recommend if you know of someone else that could benefit from the medicinal use of marijuana (glaucoma, MS, PTSD, any neuro degenerative diseases, cancer, etc.), please share that story with your legislator. Then if you want to slide in this sweet little girl you know benefiting, then go for it. Just some food for thought. The basic gist is that legislators are saying no one is contacting them saying they want this (which we know some are lying). We want to make sure they can't have that excuse anymore!!
A letter or phone call gets noticed better, but email is better than nothing. If you are really ambitious, all three is the best!!
As the climate continues to change, I might be throwing out specific areas that need to be targeted. Please step up to the plate and help all the critically ill people out that can't spend the time lobbying because they are just trying to stay alive. I'd love to hear feedback as you communicate with them also, so we can continue to gage the climate.
You'll find my latest comment is "Have you contacted your legislators yet?" We are elated when we hear..."yes, yes I have" Make us proud of our peeps!!
p.s. I will post about Maggie soon too. She's holding her own right now :)