Most Americans can’t agree on the pronunciation of “Jif” peanut butter, whether hotdogs are sandwiches and if pro wrestling should be considered a sport, according to American comedian and actress Sarah Silverman.
“Fortunately, there’s at least one thing most Americans have in common,” she said Nov. 9 during an 80-second video to help kick-start the “Cannabis in Common” initiative, a campaign to encourage the American electorate to speak up in favor of advancing federal cannabis legalization in the U.S. Congress.
More than two-thirds of Americans agree that cannabis should be legalized, Silverman said, yet broad reform efforts haven’t picked up steam in the U.S. Senate. According to a 2021 poll from Quinnipiac University, 69% of Americans support legalizing cannabis.
In a separate video also released Tuesday, Canadian actor and comedian Seth Rogen reiterated that the overwhelming majority of Americans support legalization.
“Despite what you may have heard, Americans can actually agree on something,” he said. “And that something is weed.”
The initiative’s website creates an avenue for American citizens to voice their support of legalization to their elective representatives—specifically U.S. senators—through an email portal on the site.
The email to legislators on Capitol Hill states:
“I am a cannabis voter and one of your constituents.
69% of Americans believe cannabis should be legalized for adult-use, and 91% of Americans believe it should be legalized for medical purposes. We may be divided on a lot of issues, but one thing is clear: the American people have cannabis in common.
What are you doing to end the prohibition of cannabis at the federal level?
I look forward to your response.”
In July, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., unveiled a preliminary draft of a federal cannabis legalization bill—the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (CAOA)—they said they plan to formally introduce later this year.
The 163-page draft bill aims to remove cannabis from the list of controlled substances; tax and regulate cannabis at the federal level; and grant states the power to keep or administer their own oversight programs.
But the Senate trio has yet to file the final version of the bill, despite industry organizations and various stakeholders having submitted their feedback in early September.
When submitting feedback from the USCC, organization CEO Steve Hawkins issued a statement suggesting the Food and Drug Administration should not be the primary regulatory agency of legalization; calling for a transition period prior to interstate commerce; and recommending lower taxes, among other items. In all, the USCC released a 41-page report with its feedback.
With USCC helping to drive Cannabis in Common, Hawkins said in a release Tuesday that his organization is thrilled to launch the “first-of-its-kind” campaign.
“We are creating a lasting grassroots engagement platform that will harness the collective power of cannabis consumers and advocates,” he said. “An overwhelming majority of Americans hold our views. It’s time for Congress to catch up.”
The campaign puts the power back in the hands of citizens by driving direct civic engagement, said Andy Bernstein, executive director of the voter mobilization group HeadCount, which organized the campaign through its 3-year-old Cannabis Voter Project.
“It’s been incredible to see the entire cannabis community rally around this in a coordinated way,” Bernstein said in the release.
While the majority of Americans have cannabis in common, politicians do not, Rogen said in his 90-second video.
“You know who cannot agree on anything?” Rogen asked. “Politicians. So, despite the fact that 69% of us want cannabis legal, less than half of [U.S.] senators have come out in favor. In fact, some won’t even say where they stand on the issue at all.
“With the Senate about to consider a landmark bill that would legalize cannabis at the federal level and wipe cannabis convictions from thousands of people’s records, their silences could end up being the difference.”
Rogen went on to say that he believes elected officials spend most of their time worrying about getting reelected.
“So, when their inboxes and their phonelines are blowing up with constituents all rallying behind something specific, that is when things actually start to happen,” Rogen said. By visiting cannabisincommon.org, the public can let their elected officials know that “legalizing cannabis is an extremely popular thing that they should advocate for.”
Supporters of the campaign include 1906 New Highs, Akerna, Big Island Grown, Binske, CannaCraft, Canopy, Chill Steel Pipes, Cloudious9, Columbia Care, Cresco, Cronos, Curaleaf, Dip Devices, Dr. Dabber, Emerald Cup, GPen, Greenlane, High Times, Holistic Industries Inc, Houseplant, Jushi, Kiva Confections, Last Prisoner Project, Leaflink, Marijuana Policy Project, Moxie, National Cannabis Festival, Native Roots Cannabis Company, NisonCo Cannabis PR & SEO, Oaksterdam, PAX, PharmaCann, Seattle Hempfest, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, Terrapin Care Station, Vicente Sederberg , Wana, Weedmaps and Willow Industries