This Pack Of Weed Will Register You To Vote!

Introducing the Higher Ground Ballot Box

To celebrate National Voter Registration Week (Sept. 22nd – 28th), Higher Ground and Saints Joints has created The Ballot Box. The elegant voter pack contains a QR code that immediately registers voters, a mini version of the Bill of Rights, non-partisan information about voting and elections. It also includes five premium cannabis joints to help fire up voter activity in the democratic process.

“The Ballot Box is a new platform to spark engagement, and register new voters,” notes Higher Ground Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Stusser. “In addition to helping get out the vote in 2020, it will also put folks in a damn good mood till Election Day.”

Higher Ground TV has been using humorous viral videos and parodies to elevate the dialogue on cannabis culture, including Comedians in Cars Smoking Cannabis, and Profiles in Legal Cannabis. Their latest project is a joint effort with Saints Joints, an innovative marijuana company based in Seattle.

Saints Joints is one of the most successful cannabis brands in the country, collaborating with a variety of artists and musicians. Their hard-cased luxury boxes have highlighted artists such as the Bay Area’s Jeremy Fish in their Artist’s Series packs, a Tattoo Art Series featuring Jimbo Phillips , and a Limited Edition Pride Pack with proceeds benefiting Equal Rights organizations. Each specialty box is a limited edition similar to album covers, and creating a rock n’roll collect-‘em-all incentive.

“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. “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.”

Racial disparities in cannabis are also reflected in the current Black Lives Matter movement. “When we dreamed up this project, we never envisioned the incredible Black Lives Matter movement we are seeing,” notes Perrigo. “But as with so many issues, people of color are more negatively effected by the War on Drugs. Black people are four times more likely to be arrested for possession – even though whites and blacks use cannabis at the similar rates. People voting to make policy change in these areas is more important that ever.”

National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic holiday celebrating our democracy. First observed in 2012, it has quickly gained momentum ever since. Nearly 3 million voters have registered to vote on the holiday to date. The holiday has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), and the National Association of Election Officials (The Election Center).

“We thought it was important to include the Bill of Rights in our Ballot Box,” said Stusser, “because these individual rights weren’t originally included in the Constitution. Like the legalization of marijuana, the people had to push the government to allow it.” The Bill of Rights, of course, includes the first 10 amendments in the Constitution, including freedom of speech, religion and the press, the right to assemble, States rights, and due process.

Thirty-three states have legalized marijuana for medical use, and another eleven, plus the District of Columbia, have authorized recreational sales and consumption for adults. Thomas Jefferson argued in 1787 for the right to be free from warrantless search and seizures: “A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” While the Father of the Declaration wasn’t speaking of cannabis legalization at the time, his words ring true for activists supporting the movement.

The Ballot Box includes a special QR code that directs to the Cannabis Voter Project – and immediately registers individuals to vote. Established in 2018 as an initiative from HeadCount, the nonprofit and non-partisan Cannabis Voter Project is focused on educating, registering and turning out voters. HeadCount has registered half a million voters since 2004 at concerts and events. The Ballot Box link includes an easy-to-use online registration page and news to keep voters informed on election deadlines and voting locations.

Higher Ground explores and celebrates the elevated aspects of getting high. Founded during a revolutionary time of economic and spiritual transformation in the legalization movement, the brand documents and chronicles this incredible era in our history, and advocates for the legalization of cannabis (along with civil rights, gay rights, and human rights), and embraces the end of – yet another – prohibition.

Members of the abolitionist press, Higher Ground combines advocacy journalism with a sense of humor to bring the cannabis culture to the masses.


For more information, contact michael@michaelstusser.com

Higher Ground Hits The Ballot Box

We’ve Turned Our Attention to Voting

By Michael A. Stusser

When we started Higher Ground in 2010, our mission was to Elevate the Dialogue on Cannabis Culture. While we supported the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana (no states at that time had legalized recreational weed), we were intentionally non-partisan when it came to politicians themselves: There were candidates from all parties in support of legalization: Most Democrats liked the progressive nature of ending the War on Drugs, many Republicans supported States rights (and eliminating the black market), the Green Party liked growing weed (apparently), and Libertarians, of course, liked the idea of the government staying the hell out of our damned business.

Fast forward to 2020 (in hindsight?), and there are eleven States that have legalized recreational cannabis, a total of 33 States that have made medical marijuana available, and SEVENTY PERCENT of Americans say it’s morally permissible for adults to “smoke marijuana,” regardless of the plant’s legal status (Gallup poll). In addition, for the first time, a majority of Republicans (56%) ALSO favor legal marijuana.(Hell, even that fool Kanye, a vocal Trump supporter, has become a strong campaigner for criminal justice and prison reform.) Point is, people want legal cannabis federally, and it’s going to happen in the very near future. (Sadly, the vast majority of Americans ALSO want gun control and single payer health care, which will probably take even more time to come about…)

Here at Higher Ground, we are NOT single-issue voters. There are plenty of candidates who support cannabis legalization who we would not vote for in a million years. (Take Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida. Please. And, while Sen. Mitch McConnell helped pass the farm bill last year which legalized hemp, he’s the worst asshat in the entire Congress.) Our values of equality and justice and peace and fairness override any single issue. Like most of you we’ll research an individual’s platform and let their actions and beliefs guide our electoral choices. Unfortunately, the United States of America, is still in shambles. The pandemic rages, millions are out of work, and racial inequality and police brutality, primarily against people of color, have come to the forefront via the inspirational Black Lives Matter movement.
ONE HUNDRED MILLION Americans who were eligible to vote in the 2016 election did not vote. Let’s repeat that: ONE HUNDRED MILLION Americans who were eligible to vote in the last presidential election (43% of the total) did not vote.
It is our belief that, if the majority of Americans participate in our democracy, we will have a more inclusive, just set of politicians and policies. We’ll also have legal cannabis, an administration that believes in science and global warming, and more people of color and women in positions of power. Which is why we’re devoting the next five months to the Ballot Box.
In a collaboration with the amazing cannabis brand Saints Joints, we have created The Higher Ground Ballot Box, a high-end box of cannabis joints designed to smash stoner stereotypes by registering people to vote. In addition to five premium pre-rolls, the Ballot Box contains a code that immediately registers voters, a mini version of the Bill of Rights, and non-partisan information about voting and elections. With the Ballot Box, we’re using a new platform as an entry point to spark engagement, and register new voters.
The Ballot Box includes a special QR code that directs to the Cannabis Voter Project – and registers individuals to vote. Established in 2018 as an initiative from HeadCount, the nonprofit and non-partisan Cannabis Voter Project is focused on educating, registering and turning out voters. HeadCount has registered half a million voters since 2004 at concerts and events. The Ballot Box link includes an easy-to-use online registration page and news to keep voters informed on election deadlines and voting locations.
We’re not the only ones laser-focused on voting this election.  LeBron James has partnered with other black athletes and entertainers to protect the voting rights of African Americans. The organization, called More Than A Vote, will pair up with other voting organizations and is even working for NBA arenas to be used as polling places for the coming 2020 election.
When We All Vote is another wonderful nonpartisan organization trying to increase participation. Launched in 2018 by co-chairs Tom Hanks, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janelle Monae, Chris Paul, Faith Hill, Michelle Obama and Tim McGraw, When We All Vote is working to close the race and age voting gap by changing the culture around voting, and harnessing grassroots energy.
We understand that legalization is a small but important step toward fixing discriminatory policing and racial inequality. But for those who ARE single-issue voters, and cannabis is your main priority, there are plenty of reasons to make sure you’re part of the democratic process. Obviously, the issue is hardly just about smoking weed. The War on Drugs and prohibition continues to be disproportionately applied. Every year over 650,000 Americans are arrested for violating cannabis laws – and not surprisingly, in every single state, black people are more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though white people use cannabis at the same rates. Cannabis is always on the ballot: The War on Drugs and DEA policies have been used as a tactic to target, harass, assault, criminalize, and incarcerate communities of color for a hundred years.
Currently, only 23 states allow citizen-initiated ballot initiatives, meaning in most states the only way to reform cannabis laws is through the legislature. Dozens of cannabis policy reform bills have also been introduced in state legislatures across the nation, and supporting pro-cannabis candidates at the local level has real impact. Clemency campaigns and releasing prisoners for pot is also something where the needle can be moved at the local level by electing progressive governors and attorney generals.
Sadly, there are still a lot of silly stereotypes about stoners. We’re lazy. We’re couch potatoes. We wake and bake. We’re vegetables. Well here at Higher Ground, we’re working to counter all those outdated cliches-because we know cannabis consumers are as active, involved and civic as any other community. So do us a favor – VOTE in November. Join our Joint Effort. It’s the most important election in our lifetime, and we’d like your voice to be heard. (We’d also like you to be legally stoned….)

Photo: Lamar Alexander; Styling: Malina Lopez


September 25th Is National Voter Registration Day

Celebrated on the fourth Tuesday of every September – September 25 in 2018 – by thousands of volunteers, organizations, businesses, schools, and election officials from all over the country are celebrating National Voter Registration Day.

With 3,000 community and online partners, and over 10,000 volunteers working in a massive, single-day event, National Voter Registration Day seeks to reach voters who haven’t yet registered or updated their registration in the final weeks before the deadlines. Many nonprofits have felt the energy in the streets and online. This year just seems to feel different. And maybe that’s because Americans are coming to understand that midterms, while not as flashy as the general election, have MAJOR consequences on how they live their life day-to-day. At a state level, there are dozens of governors races that have direct influence on everyday concerns – how much money will be spent on education, the environment, defense? That decision is in their hands and they know it.

At the national level, hundreds of seats in the House and Senate are at the whim of the electorate who want to have a say in how their state is represented in the Federal government, what and how laws will be applied to their daily lives. In short, citizens will determine who runs their state and how their state is represented in Congress. To that end, we want to meet the electorate where they are! And their minds are on the midterm elections. So this year’s message, the one we’d like everyone to support in social media, face-to-face discussions, websites and more is: In 2018, it’s “Midterms on My Terms.”

Medical Marijuana Is On Every Ballot This Election

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  As the November 4th midterm elections approach, everyone interested in marijuana policy islooking at various voter initiatives across the country: legal adult use of marijuana in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., and a robust medical cannabis law in Florida.  But as interesting as it is to see which parts of the country will be the next to reform their marijuana laws, the reality is that every candidate on every ballot represents a chance to vote on medical marijuana.

Every session of Congress and each state legislature marks a chance to bring America’s public policy more in line with public opinion and medical science. As much as 85 percent of voters nationwide have expressed support for legal access to cannabis when a doctor recommends it, with physicians and researchers expressing a similar consensus on its efficacy in safely treating a remarkably broad range of serious medical conditions. Today, the only real barriers to sensible medical cannabis policy are the lawmakers themselves.

Within the last year, fourteen states have legalized medical cannabis in one or more of its forms. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure that would prevent the DOJ from interfering with state marijuana laws and another preventing the US Treasury from going after state-compliant medical cannabis business. Each of the measures were passed by politicians not voter referendum. To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia have passed some kind of legislation recognizing the benefits of medical cannabis only 11 of these laws were passed by voter initiative and all of them have been further defined by state legislation.