I Smoke Pot & I Vote: HeadCount Is Leveraging Cannabis Policy to Get Folks to the Polls
This summer, non-profit and non-partisan organization HeadCount launched its first ever single issue campaign, enlisting artists like Margo Price for the cause. The Cannabis Voter Project is an initiative that harnesses American's current interest in marijuana policy to get them to register to vote and make it out to the polls.
HeadCount has been registering music fans to vote at concerts, festivals and other events since 2004 and saw an opportunity to engage more citizens with the subject of cannabis.
"It is really the first single based issue campaign that HeadCount is doing," says Cannabis Voter Project's director Sam D'Arcangelo. "The first reason why we chose the cannabis issue is that cannabis policy is one of the few issues out there that has the power to get people who otherwise wouldn't vote, out to the polls. It has the ability to drive voter turnout in a big way that a lot of other single issues just don't."
"Another reason that we focused on it is because HeadCount is a non-partisan organization. One of the interesting things about marijuana policy is that it is fairly non-partisan. You can't really get an idea if where someone is going to stand on the issue from their party alignment," D'Arcangelo tells Amplify. "It was a great way for us to stay in our non-partisan lane while also focusing on an issue that has the power to drive voter turnout. That's ultimately what we want, to register voters."
The organization does not take a stand on cannabis policy, but it does provide an in-depth database on where congresspeople and governors stand on the issue. CannabisVoter.info gives citizens the chance to look up any representatives based on state and see if their views on cannabis align with their own. The breakdown includes where the representative stands as far as medical and recreational use, their records on hemp, CBD, whether or not veterans should have access to marijuana and more.
The site also includes an easy-to-use online registration page and news from various outlets that keep voters informed on cannabis-related issues including High Times, CannabisNow, The Cannabist and more.
"There are a lot of people out there who care about marijuana policy and we want to get those people interested in voting. We use marijuana policy as an entrance point to get people interested in the electoral process, the democratic process and participating in our democracy," says D'Arcangelo.
Much like HeadCount which has registered nearly half a million voters since 2004, Cannabis Voter Project has teamed up with artists to reach out to their fans and spread awareness. For National Voter Registration Day, artists such as Margo Price, Cheech and Chong, Mark Brownstein from Disco Biscuits and the Grateful Dead's Bill Kreutzmann posted images of themselves with signs or T-shirts that read "I smoke pot and I vote."
Cannabis Voter Project is also headed out on the road with funk band Lettuce this month. This will be the initiative's first wholly branded tour where they will set up Cannabis Voter Project booths at every show. The project and the tour were kicked off prior to this year's highly publicized midterm elections in November.
"HeadCount is always at its busiest during an election cycle. We wanted to get this launched before the 2018 elections because in the last year or so cannabis policy has become a much more mainstream issue. It has become a thing that people are talking about. It has become a thing where the landscape is changing very rapidly," says D'Arcangelo. "We figured now is good time to do something like this and capture a lot of the enthusiasm and the interest around cannabis policy."
Check out the Cannabis Voter Project website here for more information on policy, where they are headed next and even some "I Smoke Pot and I Vote" merch.
This article was originally published by Amplify.