Frank Discussion Cannabis Facts for Canadians Oh Cannabis!

Activism: Tips on Writing Effective Letters

Letters-to-the-editor ("LTE's") are an easy, free way to education the public on matters that concern you.

The letters section is one of the most highly read sections in any newspaper or magazine, and today many news web sites allow readers' to post their comments on articles they read online.

Cannabis law reform is about educating our fellow citizens, policy makers, and journalists; to help raise Canada's cannabis I.Q.

Help more and more people understand why the 2002 Senate Special Committee on cannabis concluded the following...

"The continued prohibition of cannabis
jeopardizes the health and well-being of Canadians
much more than does the substance itself."

- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002

"Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates that cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue."
- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002

"Clearly, current approaches are ineffective and inefficient. Ultimately, their effect amounts to throwing taxpayers' money down the drain in a crusade that is not warranted by the danger posed by the substance."
- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002

"It has been maintained that drugs, including cannabis, are not dangerous because they are illegal but rather are illegal because they are dangerous. This is perhaps true of other types of drugs, but not of cannabis."
- Senate Special Committee on Illegal Drugs, 2002

Recommended LTE-writing resources:
Media Activism Center: Media Training (
"Tell It to Ottawa" Legislative Workshop
How To Write Letters To The Editor (Schaffer Library of Drug Policy)
Opinion editorials and call-in radio (David Suzuki Foundation)
• Ontario Media Directories
• Tips on How to Use the Media Effectively

Where to find cannabis-related news articles:

I AM CANNABIAN - news collection
A worldwide network dedicated to drug policy reform. We inform public opinion and promote balanced media coverage.

Media Activism Center

Quick LTE tips from
Be timely - Capitalize on recent news and events, within 24 hrs of a story if possible.
Keep it short and simple - Keep your points clear and stick to one subject. If you look at the editorial page, a few paragraphs is all they usually print!
Think locally - Demonstrate how this issue effects you locally, and mention lawmakers by name to ensure you get their attention.
Sign your letter. Include your name, address and telephone number. Papers may need to contact you if they are considering printing your letter. Don't worry -- they won't print your phone or street address.
Follow-up. If the newspaper doesn't call you, call the newspaper. Ask to speak to the person in charge of letters to the editor. Ask if they plan on printing your letter, and if not, see if they have any feedback for you.
Don't be discouraged if your letter is not printed. Every time you submit a letter, you are educating the editorial board of your paper and paving the way for future letters to be printed. Keep trying!
Seal the deal. If your letter is printed, be sure to send us (MAPinc) a copy so we can track our effectiveness. If you mention an elected official, it's a good idea to send them a copy too

Grammar, punctuation and spelling are not important in forums where the passion makes informal writing acceptable, but anyone thinking of writing a letter to an editor, a senator etc. should compose the message with a word processor with a good spell checker (and hopefully a grammar checker too). It's also a very good idea to show/email it to get a couple friends to proofread it for you.

People will be critical, judgmental, and prejudiced. If an LTE is not up to a newspaper's standards they won't even consider publishing it.


Low Risk Activism | Joint Efforts | Letter Writing (LTE's)

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CMAP (MAP-Canada) sample LTE's

Responses to Prohibitionist Claims

Sent-LTE mailing list
Sign up for MAPinc's "SentLTE" mailing list to keep up to date on the LTE's that others have sent. A digest version is available.