COMMITTEE FOR A FEDERAL DRUG POLICY COMMISSION
Our efforts can make a difference in making H.R. 3100 law. Odds are your congressman doesn't even know the bill exists, there are so many bills that go through so many committees. This morning, I had a telephone appointment with a legislative aide to Ed Markey, the congressman from my district in Massachusetts. They were not previously aware of H.R. 3100, as drug policy and the judiciary are not Markey's specialties. Markey's aide, Karen Kovacs, sounded genuinely interested in finding out more about the bill, and asked me questions about it that I would not have expected. I told her that I first heard about H.R. 3100 in the Drug Policy Letter, the Drug Policy Foundation's bi-monthly newsletter. She wasn't familiar with DPF, and asked me how she could contact them. I gave her their number, and it sounded like she planned to call them the same day.
One aide's enthusiasm doesn't guarantee that Congressman Markey will become a cosponsor, of course, but it does open up the possibility. The fact that I could call up a Congressional Office, inform them of a bill that they didn't know about, and get them interested in it, is proof that small groups of people can make a difference in government, especially with a small amendment as H.R. 3100 is likely to be. You can do the same in your district - I encourage you to call and make an appointment. H.R. 3100 is likely to come up in the Judiciary committee with the Crime Bill, which will probably be soon, possibly this month, so if you intend to work for H.R. 3100, you don't have much time left.
With Markey's office now informed of the existence of H.R. 3100, the next step is to get some letters in from more of his constituents. I am attempting to get help with this from activist groups in this area; the Massachusetts Cannabis Coalition, for example, has distributed some copies of our packet to some of its members. Today I spent some time calling Unitarian churches in my district, to try and find interested parties there. (Unitarians tend to be open-minded and progressive, and their churches often have social-action committees. Also, Congressman Edwards, who sponsored H.R. 3100, is a Unitarian, and I though that might enhance their interest. But it can just well be any civic-minded group of people.) I'm trying also to contact the Massachusetts Libertarian Party. I'm asking those whom I contact to write or call their Congressman and ask him or her to become a cosponsor.
This is what I have been doing locally to do my part for H.R. 3100. I hope that some of you will be similarly inspired. Please share information on your progress, or useful contacts you've made, with the Committee for a Federal Drug Policy Commission (email to [email protected] and/or [email protected]). Thanks, and good luck.
- Dave Borden
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