These are monthly events where art galleries open up their doors, serve a little free wine, and get people looking at and talking about art.
Hundreds of people head down there and I’d have been a fool not to be one of ‘em.
Despite that, I kinda felt like staying home.
As you remember, I went downtown on Tuesday night to gather signatures for the Montana marijuana legalization efforts.
No one pays me to do this.
There is no national agency helping our efforts, just individuals all over the state that are taking it upon themselves to gather the necessary 48,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot.
So that’s why I headed downtown.
I got there around 4:30, about a half-hour early. The reason for this is I wanted to drop of the 75 or so signatures I already had.
To do that I headed to the elections office on the bottom floor of the Missoula County Courthouse.
I filled out my affidavit, handed the sheets over, showed my driver’s license, signed a receipt, and was done.
Those signatures will now be counted, verified, and we’ll have a few less to gather.
After that I took up my usual spot on Higgins and Broadway or Higgins and Front and asked people to sign.
Wow, I got a lot of people…so much so that by 5:30 I was down to one signature sheet left.
I quickly started toward the library to make some more copies. I made 20 more of the CI-115 sheet and then headed back to the main spots.
By this time it was close to 6 PM and lots of people were out.
I really had to get into the hard sell. This involves convincing complete strangers to sign your sheet.
That’s tough when large groups of a dozen or twenty people are all coming at you as the crosswalk light changes.
You have to go into showmanship mode, carnival barking and getting attention.
These are strategies I employed:
- “Excuse me sir, would you like to help legalize marijuana?”
- “Ma’am, are you interested in legalizing marijuana in Montana?”
- “Miss, could I interest you in legalizing marijuana today?”
- “Guys, let’s legalize marijuana.”
- “Legalizing marijuana, right here, folks, just need your signature!”
- “Make the dream a reality – legalize marijuana!”
- “Have you heard about the efforts to legalize marijuana in Montana?”
- “Now’s the time – let’s legalize marijuana today. Sign here!”
- “End the oppression, fix our schools, legalize marijuana today!”
Those are just some things I shouted out as people passed by. That first one gets you some funny looks, and honestly, it’s kind of funny asking people if they want to legalize marijuana.
I always had a big smile on my face after saying that, and that was great – the next people coming down the sidewalk were much more open to my spiel because of it.
Typically I’d get two people after shouting out my words as a group was approaching.
I had one clipboard and one folder. For the latter, the petitions were paper-clipped on top. Both were good backings so people could write.
As they filled out the form I’d shout out to other potential signers.
You really have to do some demographic profiling:
- Is this person young or old?
- What kinds of clothes are they wearing?
- Do they look happy?
- Are they with kids?
Simple things like that work for deciding who to ask, though I have to say, I just shout out to everyone.
It worked really well.
In 2 to 3 hours of signature gathering I managed to pick up 125 signatures to legalize marijuana in Montana.
So this week I picked up about 200 signatures, and maybe 180 will prove valid (I got a couple out-of-staters and a few out-of-county, some not registered as well).
If I did what I did last night for 10 days, I’d have 1,000 signatures.
If 48 more people did the same thing, this issue would be on the November ballot.
So get out there and let your confidence do the talking.
- People are willing to listen.
- They’re willing to sign.
Many people last night were older, grey-haired individuals that signed my sheet.
Sure, I got a lot of young people as well, but the truth is, this is an issue that lots of people are aware of and lots of people want to see change.
Get out there and help ‘em change it.
You can do it!