In case you haven’t heard, National Voter Registration Day is Sept. 25.

We at Carolina Cannabis News encourage you to vote in this and every election. Why? Because nearly everyone we talk to about cannabis reform in the Carolinas stresses the importance of voting.

The folks at NationalVoterRegistrationDay.org go a step further. Not only do they want you to register to vote, or update your existing registration, they also make it easy to encourage others to do the same.

On the site, you can also learn how to help others register to vote, too, as Dana Hall does with the N.C. Freedom Vote Tour.

On the National Voter Registration Day site, you’ll find multi-lingual posters and buttons, like the ones displayed here, that you can share via your social media networks or print and distribute in your community.

The organization wants you to use the #NationalVoterRegistrationDay hashtag, too.

In South Carolina, the last day to register to vote is Oct. 7. And, in North Carolina, the last day to register to vote is Oct. 12.

Voter registration sticker English

Find free downloadable posters and social media stickers for National Voter Registration Day here.

voter registration day poster English
According to the organization’s website, a National Voter Registration Day is necessary because “many Americans are not aware that they must register to vote before they can cast a ballot, in some cases 30 days in advance of the election. If you turned 18 recently, changed your name, moved, or haven’t voted in recent elections, then you need to update your voter registration.”

The site also points out: “One out of nine Americans have moved in the last year, rendering their former registration outdated.”

“You’ve got to urge them to support change”

In our inaugural podcast with N.C. state Rep. Kelly Alexander, Jr. (D-107; Charlotte), he encourages citizens to contact their representatives in state government regarding cannabis reform legislation. In addition to sharing information with your elected officials about cannabis, Alexander urges you to ask them where they stand on the issue and to let them know where you stand.

“You’ve got to urge them to support change,” Alexander says in the podcast. He suggests that you call your state and national representatives and senators, that you attend their town halls and write letters asking for their position on cannabis.

In the podcast, Alexander also explains why it’s unlikely voters will see cannabis on a ballot in North Carolina.

Rep Kelly Alexander Jr

N.C. General Assembly Rep. Kelly Alexander, Jr. (D-107; Charlotte) discussing cannabis reform in North Carolina on the Carolina Cannabis News podcast, Aug. 2018.

NORML scores Congress

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) not only encourages you to vote but also offers resources to help you decide who to vote for, including scorecards for many politicians in the U.S. Congress.

According to NORML’s scorecard, none of North Carolina’s current representatives receive an ‘A,’ and most received sub-par scores like ‘Cs’ and ‘Ds.’

On the South Carolina scorecard, you’ll find more ‘Bs’ for congressional members.

Hip Hop Caucus’ Respect My Vote campaign celebrates 10 years in 2018.

Support for Cannabis in N.C.

Polls from Elon University indicate widespread — and growing — support across party lines and demographics for the North Carolina General Assembly (NCGA) to end the state’s cannabis prohibition.

Of those polled in 2017, 80 percent support legalizing medical marijuana and 45 percent support recreational use.

“Support for legalization is strongest among Millennials, those born since 1981, with 65 percent on board with such a move,” according to Elon University pollsters.

No cannabis reform bill has made it to the floor of the NCGA for a debate in either the House of Representatives or the Senate.

During our podcast discussion, Alexander said:

Of some of his fellow legislators, he says, “I’ve had members tell me, just flat out, that they can’t vote for (my cannabis bills) in committee because that would be seen as giving their opponents within their party the opportunity to run against them in a primary claiming that they’re too liberal. But I continue to stress that this issue isn’t about being liberal or conservative … this is about elementary human dignity and the ability of individuals to make choices.”

Elon University cannabis poll

“Democrats and independent voters are the most likely to say they support medical marijuana legalization, with 83 percent of each group on board, while 73 percent of Republicans approve of such a move.” – Elon University, 2017

Medicinal Cannabis in South Carolina

During this year’s South Carolina primary, Democratic voters approved an advisory ballot measure 82 percent to 12 percent.

From a June 2018 Forbes magazine article by Tom Angell regarding the S.C. Compassionate Care Act:

South Carolina House and Senate committees approved medical cannabis legislation this year, but the bills never advanced to votes on the floor of either chamber.

Former U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles reportedly pushed both major parties to place the cannabis question on their primary ballots, but only Democrats agreed.

Advocates hope that passage of the measure will embolden lawmakers to further advance medical marijuana bills next session, though the fact that it only appeared on the Democratic ballot — and not that of Republicans, who control the legislature and the governor’s mansion — means that it may be of limited value.

Registering to vote is easier than moving to Canada

For more images like this one that you can share via your social media accounts, check out Rock The Vote’s resource page. Rock the Vote seems to know what’s up with the cannabis vote, eh?

What if you have a criminal history?

According to the Hip Hop Caucus, “An estimated 5.85 million Americans are prevented from voting because of past convictions.”

The Hip Hop Caucus is pushing for the restoration of voting rights for incarcerated individuals as part of their #RespectMyVote campaign, now in its tenth year.

When asked if it’s worth it, traveling across North Carolina trying to convince people to register to vote, Dana Hall of the N.C. Freedom Vote Tour, who herself has a criminal history, said:

I’ve had three felons who register so far. They didn’t realize their right to vote had been restored. Just those three registrations make the entire tour worth for me.

When I moved to North Carolina, I learned that once I was cleared of my charge I could vote again. That’s another one of those ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’ things. I was one of those people — I was registered to vote for 25 years and didn’t vote. Now I vote.

According to the Hip Hop Caucus, “An estimated 5.85 million Americans are prevented from voting because of past convictions.”

BY Rhiannon Fionn

BY Rhiannon Fionn

Editor & Publisher

Rhiannon Fionn is an award-winning journalist based in Charlotte, N.C.

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