FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Adam Eidinger June 12, 2020 Ph: 202-744-2671 Press@DecrimNatureDC.org
All DC Voter Households to Receive
Initiative 81 Petition by Mail in Coming Days
The Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC Advances COVID-19 Minimizing “Democracy-by-Mail” Strategy to Collect 25,000 Signatures Needed to Qualify Ballot Measure Seeking to Shift MPD Priorities from the Drug War
WASHINGTON, DC – Amid the lingering coronavirus pandemic and transformational Black Lives Matter protests, the Campaign to Decriminalize Nature DC (DNDC) has mailed more than 220,000 “Democracy-by-Mail” packets to DC voters to collect signatures to help Initiative 81 qualify for the November ballot. As a campaign of concerned DC citizens, DNDC is focused on reforming police priorities and enacting this small step to end the war on drugs in the District of Columbia. Initiative 81 compliments policing reforms demanded at ongoing Black Lives Matter protests which DNDC has attended and supports.
After a successful “Democracy-by-Mail” trial run reached 10,000 DC voters by mail, DNDC has scaled up at-home signature collection to meet the July 6th deadline to submit about 30,000 signatures. If passed, Initiative 81, the “Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Act of 2020,” would make plant and fungi medicines among the lowest law enforcement priorities in the District of Columbia and result in fewer investigations by police.
DNDC’s “Democracy-by-Mail” strategy, as well as collecting signatures via a downloadable petition, is the first-of-its-kind attempt at large-scale, remote signature collection for a voter initiative. Both return-by-mail and downloadable petitions are newly permitted under emergency legislation passed by the DC Council this spring. Despite innovative remote signature collection, the success of Initiative 81 still depends on strong public support for reforms to outdated drug laws that punish people who choose plant medicines.
Each “Democracy-by-Mail” packet contains an official Initiative 81 ballot access petition, comprehensive instructions, and a pre-paid return envelope. There is also a personal appeal from Initiative 81 proposer Melissa Lavasani, testimonials, and answers to frequently asked questions. DC voters may also download the petition electronically and print, sign, and return a digital image of the completed petition to the campaign. DNDC is asking voters to return their signed petitions by June 26th in order to make the the July 6th deadline
Melissa Lavasani, a mother of two who proposed the “Entheogenic Plants and Fungi Act of 2020,” after using plant medicines to treat her postpartum depression, urged DC voters to sign and return the mailed petitions: “In these uncertain times, engagement with local democracy is key to enacting real reform. When you receive a petition in the mail, it is an invitation to both make a positive change in DC laws and to support local democracy by giving DC voters the opportunity to vote on Initiative 81 in November.”
For more information, to read Initiative 81 or to download the “Democracy by Mail” packet petition, please visit our website www.DecrimNatureDC.org .