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The Change Makers Award recognizes policymakers on the state or federal level who have advocated for ending cannabis prohibition in the interest of fiscal policy, personal liberty, medical alternatives and/or equal justice.

2018 nominees will be announced on February 15, 2018. Join us at National Cannabis Festival on Saturday, April 21, 2018 when we announce our 2018 winner.

Learn about our past winners:


Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) Chosen as Winner of 2017 National Cannabis Festival Change Makers Award

On April 22, 2017, the National Cannabis Festival presented Congressman Tom Garrett (R-VA) with the Change Makers Award for his bold leadership introducing the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017”.

“I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn’t justice. Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce,” said Congressman Garrett, “Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”

Congressman Garrett’s pragmatic approach to regulating cannabis like tobacco and alcohol, made him the voter favorite in 2017.


Delaware State Senator Margaret Rose Henry (D) Chosen as Winner of 2016 National Cannabis Festival Change Makers Award

On April 23, 2016, the National Cannabis Festival awarded Delaware State Senator Margaret Rose Henry with the Change Makers Award for leading cannabis reform efforts in her state.

Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry led the fight to legalize medical marijuana in Delaware and expand access to patients who needed it most. She also helped spearhead successful efforts to decriminalize small quantities of the drug in the First State.

“I am honored to be the first recipient of the Change Makers Award. Delaware has come a long way in rethinking the way we look at marijuana, and I thank my colleagues in both the House and Senate for being open-minded about the issue,” Henry said. “We still have more to do – but I am proud to support legislation that improves the overall health, well-being, and future of all Delawareans.”

Senator Henry’s introduction of legislation leading to the establishment of medical cannabis access in Delaware and her efforts to decriminalize cannabis possession to prevent life­-altering penalties from being leveled against young people made her the favorite among voters who selected a winner out of 13 state and federal lawmaker nominees.

“Senator Margaret Rose Henry’s pragmatic leadership and thorough understanding of the medical and social impact of cannabis reform sets an example for other state legislators,” said Cynthia Ferguson, representative for Delaware NORML, “to have her receive this award at the inaugural National Cannabis Festival in Washington, D.C., just one mile from the Capitol Building is very symbolic for cannabis policy reform advocates in Delaware and around the nation.”

Click here to download the official press release.