This November, the United States will vote to elect its next president. The stakes are, to massively undersell the situation, quite high. As such, political hopefuls are hitting overdrive on their efforts to make sure no vote is left uncast. And they’re eyeing cannabis fans too.
Though it’s difficult to isolate cannabis consumers as a voting block, there is enough data to suggest that in targeting pot smokers and their kin, brands and politicians are catering to a rather sizable audience.
In a November 2019 poll conducted by the Pew Research Center, it was found that 67% of those surveyed approved of legalizing marijuana. Along party lines, those who identified as Democrats were 78% in support. Even more compelling was the 55% of Republican voters who also favored legalization.
Earlier this week, President Trump also found himself addressing the topic.
As first reported by Marijuana Moment, Trump made a rare mention of cannabis — a subject he usually avoids — while speaking at a campaign event on Monday.
“The next time you run please don’t put marijuana on the ballot at the same time you’re running,” Trump said in comments directed towards former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in apparent reference to the latter’s electoral defeat in 2018. “You brought out like a million people that nobody ever knew were coming out.”
Despite the fact that virtually every aspect of what Trump said was false — legalization was not on the statewide ballot in Wisconsin in 2018, nor was Walker responsible for placing any of the local marijuana initiatives that did appear that year — there is truth in the fear of his words. What Trump telegraphed to the public on Monday was fear from Republicans that people unlikely to embrace their party will only be more motivated to vote when a cannabis issue is at stake as well.
Michael Stusser of Higher Ground is counting on it.
Bringing pot-friendly voters to the polls is the driving force behind a new collaboration between Higher Ground, an abolitionist press organization that “combines advocacy journalism with a sense of humor to bring the cannabis culture to the masses,” and the Saint Joints cannabis brand. Practically speaking, the Ballot Box is a package of five premium pre-rolls. What sets it apart from the competition, however, is a QR code in the packaging that will immediately register voters.
Additionally, customers who scan the code will also receive access to non-partisan information about voting and elections. The box also includes a mini version of the Bill of Rights as well.
“We’re really excited about the Higher Ground Ballot Box campaign,” Stusser told Bloom & Oil by email. “Since our launch on July 4th, we’ve distributed 75,000 Ballot Boxes in Washington, California and Oklahoma.”
The next big date on Higher Ground’s calendar is September 22, which is National Voter Registration Day. As the campaign ramps up efforts to get Ballot Boxes distributed, they’ve also teamed with other like-minded efforts, including When We All Vote and Lebron James’ More Than a Vote.
“I like that we can proudly engage cannabis brands in these non-partisan efforts to get out the vote,” Stusser noted.
For its part, the Seattle-based Saint Joints has long enjoyed a rich relationship of collaboration with different artists and musicians. They’ve invited Bay Area artist Jeremy Fish to design an edition of their hard-cased luxury boxes, featured tattoo art by Jimbo Phillips, and also released a pack for Pride Month.
Now they’re taking things a step further.
“We see ourselves as leaders not only in the arena of legal cannabis, but as members of the mainstream community,” said Lawrence Perrigo, founder of Saints, in a press release. “The collaboration with Higher Ground is our latest joint effort to raise awareness, and show how cannabis brands — and consumers — are doing more than getting high. We’re also highly engaged in the democratic process.”
While Trump’s words on cannabis are extremely confusing, his concern speaks to the power the cannabis movement holds at this moment. Through concepts like the Ballot Box, perhaps it can finally be harnessed at its full strength.