Americans For Safe Access



1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Oakland, California, 94612 PHONE: 510.251.1856 FAX: 510.251.2036

National Office
1730 M Street NW, Suite 611, Washington DC 20036 PHONE: 202.857.4272 FAX: 202.857.4273 WEB: TOLL FREE: 1.888.929.4367

Americans For Safe Access

Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2 GETTING STARTED Introduction to Americans for Safe Access . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Working with ASA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 BUILDING YOUR CHAPTER Planning and Executing Your First Meetings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Chapter Structure . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Outreach and Recruitment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 Volunteer Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 ORGANIZING SKILLS Event Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Tips on Public Speaking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Art and Messaging . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Applying to the ASA Advocacy Grants Program . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 RESOURCES ASA Online Resources . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Allied and Potential Allied Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Arts and Direct Action Groups . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 Overcoming Oppression . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research. ASA works in partnership with state, local and national legislators to overcome barriers and create policies that improve access to cannabis for patients and researchers. We have more than 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states. ASA provides legal training for and medical information to patients, attorneys, health and medical professionals and policymakers throughout the United States. We also organize media support for court cases, rapid response to law enforcement raids, and capacity-building for advocates. Our successful lobbying, media and legal campaigns have resulted in important court precedents, new sentencing standards, and more compassionate community guidelines The mission of Americans for Safe Access is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research. ASA's stand on federal interference with medical cannabis state laws is one of zero-tolerance. ASA invests in traditional, battle-tested tactics such as legislative organizing, community outreach, phone-in days, petition drives, etc., and supports the use of non-violent direct action as means of escalating tactics to reach campaign goals. This is where you come in! Mostly likely you are reading this because you have decided you can no longer sit back and watch the federal government continue its campaign against cannabis therapies in this country or because you want to engage your local government in creating sane polices for patients and patient access. Passion is the first step to becoming a great activist, but it is not the only step. This handbook has been created to help you merge your passion with time tested skills that will help you direct your passion into effective action! ASA's staff is always available to help you through the process of becoming a medical cannabis activist. We are available to help with trainings as well as day-to-day support. ASA has a plan to end the federal campaign against cannabis therapies once and for all! A major part of that plan is creating a movement that can be ignored! We hope this handbook provides you with some first steps to get started working with us and our other 30,000 members.

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


Getting Started
INTRODUCTION TO ASA ASA's Beliefs & Values While many different issues bring people to the issue of medical cannabis, the following are the beliefs and values that guide our work at ASA.

· Mobilizes an emergency response network of
activists nationwide to respond to federal law enforcement raids on cannabis patients and providers through public protest and non-violent direct action Builds broad coalitions with other patient support organizations, medical associations, and public health institutions to support safe access to cannabis for therapeutic use and to appropriately frame cannabis as a public health issue Creates, protects and expands safe access to medical cannabis in states that have passed medical cannabis laws

· Cannabis is medicine and the truth is becoming · · · ·
more widely known and recognized Government should guide policy on compassion, care and scientific research The current federal policy on medical cannabis is hypocritical, immoral and a violation of basic human rights Government must be accountable to the people Everyone should have the right to produce, acquire and use their own medicine



What you can do immediately:

· Become a ASA member: · · · · · Sign up to get ASA alerts: Check ASA's website to find out if there is an ASA chapter or affiliate near you Go to ASA's website and print out all relevant organizing materials you may need: Call a meeting of activists, patients, and all others concerned with medical cannabis access. Collect signatures on the "Pledge of Resistance", keep a copy of the list you build for your group, and send another copy to Rebecca at ASA. (

ASA's Goals: There is a variety of work to be done on the issue of medical cannabis. ASA's campaigns and programs all work to meet the following goals.

· End federal raids and prosecutions of medical · ·
cannabis patients and their providers. Remove federal barriers for medical and scientific cannabis research. Create comprehensive access plan for seriously ill patients throughout the United States.

ASA's Campaign strategies: In order to win safe and legal access for all, we must work at all levels of government to generate shortterm victories while working towards accomplishing our long-term goals. The ASA campaign:

· Deepens the public's understanding of cannabis ·
therapeutics through public education, PR and outreach campaigns Broadens support on Capitol Hill and in various states to support safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


Working with ASA
ASA's campaigns are extremely inclusive and may be carried out by local ASA groups, local chapters of other like-minded organizations or by motivated individuals. ASA Chapters — If there's not already a local group working specifically on medical cannabis, we encourage you to start an ASA chapter. Starting a new group can be a fun and challenging exercise. ASA chapters have a unique position of being connected to a national medical cannabis campaign, while also maintaining the ability to work on local medical cannabis issues. ASA Affiliates — If you are already part of another like-minded group (SSDP, NORML, ACT-UP, etc.), you are welcome to work on ASA campaigns and serve as an ASA affiliate for your area. We will call on you to help with national actions and lobbying, and you can still do the other work your group does at regular meetings. Groups Working on ASA Campaigns — If you are a part of a group that is not an ASA affiliate, your group can still work on national and local ASA campaigns. Some of our campaigns you can take part in include:

· Joining a Medical Marijuana Patients'
Union Benefits of Working with ASA

· Start-up toolkits including an organizing · · · · · ·
handbook, media manual, citizen lobbying handbook, medical cannabis fact sheets, and a sampling of ASA literature. Monthly mailings from ASA including campaign updates, action ideas, and new literature. Consultation from ASA staff on local and national campaigns. Trainings lead by ASA staff on topics including lobbying, media, action planning, civil disobedience, and strategy. Ability to apply for monetary grants from the ASA office for local ASA work. Ability to order ASA literature, shirts and stickers at wholesale price for dissemination and/or fundraising. Networking opportunities with other ASA chapters and affiliates, including a monthly national organizers' call and membership to ASA's organizers' email list. Space on the ASA national website to post local activities, meetings and information.

· Rescheduling cannabis · Emergency response · State campaigns for safe access
You can find out more about each of these campaigns and others on our website: Individual ASA Activists — If you are not part of a larger group, there are still several ways to plug into the ASA campaign. Some ways to get involved include:


ASA Chapter Requirements If you choose to use the ASA name, we ask you to affirm that you agree with the basic demands, analysis, and strategies of our campaign described in the handbook. We are committed to building a grassroots, nonviolent resistance to the war on patients, and in order to do that we need basic unity and a solid communication system. To become an ASA chapter or affiliate your group must: 1. Include at least ten annual paying ASA members. (Annual membership costs $35 or $15 for students or low-income.)

· Planning an emergency response action ·
after a federal medical cannabis raid Circulating ASA petitions and materials in your local community

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


2. At minimum, having a name, number and email address up on our website and be willing to act as a networking hub with local activists working on medical cannabis. 3. Spearhead local organizing for national days of action. 4. Help identify constituents for meetings with elected officials. 5. Communicate back to the national ASA office about local issues, as well as send on our action alerts to appropriate local lists. 6. Obtain and send copies of signatories for the Pledge of Resistance and any current petitions. 7. Initiate an ongoing group that meets regularly and does the political action side of medical cannabis defense. 8. Share e-mail and mailing lists with ASA for alerts and updates Besides these simple requirements, ASA chapters are independent in terms of campaign activities. If you live in a state that doesn't have medical cannabis rights, getting a referendum passed may be your organizing priority. If you live in a state that does, maybe getting local police chiefs and city councils to make a statement of non-compliance with the DEA would be your priority. In either case, we ask you to be involved in the emergency response plan to defend medical cannabis rights if and when DEA raids occur. ASA chapters are NOT:

basic unity and a solid communication system. To become an ASA affiliate your group must: 1. Pledge to sign up at least five annual paying ASA members. (Annual membership costs $35 or $15 for students or low-income.) 2. At minimum, having a name, number and email address up on our website and be willing to act as a networking hub with local activists working on medical cannabis. 3. Spearhead local organizing for national days of action. 4. Help identify constituents for meetings with elected officials. 5. Communicate back to the national ASA office about what's going on locally, as well as send on our action alerts to whatever local lists are appropriate. 6. Obtain and send copies of signatories for the Pledge of Resistance and any current petitions. 7. Cover the ASA agenda at least one meeting per month. This may be done in conjunction with your own organizational meetings Besides these simple requirements, ASA affiliates are independent in terms of localized campaign activities. If you live in a state that doesn't have medical cannabis rights, getting a referendum passed may be your organizing priority. If you live in a state that does, maybe getting local police chiefs and city councils to make a statement of non-compliance with the DEA would be your priority. In either case, we ask you to be involved in the emergency response plan to defend medical cannabis rights if and when DEA raids occur.

· One person (although it just takes one · Groups that dispense medication · Groups that disperage diversity · Completely autonomus from national
Affiliate Requirements As an ASA Affiliate, we ask you to affirm that you agree with the basic demands, analysis, and strategies of our campaign described in the handbook. We are committed to building a grassroots, nonviolent resistance to the war on patients, and in order to do that we need person to get it going!)

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


PLANNING AND EXECUTING YOUR FIRST MEETINGS Talk to your friends and other like minded individuals. Even if you begin with only 2 or 3 people, don't be discouraged. Pick a meeting spot and begin advertising your meeting at least two weeks before it actually occurs. Hang flyers in targeted areas, call local papers and radio stations to get listed in their events calendars, and don't forget to tell ASA so we can publicize your meeting on our email lists. You can't do too much outreach. Successful Meeting Tip #1 Before the meeting plan a solid agenda, set out refreshments, learn people's names as they arrive, and introduce them to each other. Set out literature and a sign-in sheet. tunity. It important the facilitator not "police" the meeting but guide it. 2. Read meeting ground rules and get a consensus from the group that they will be respected. The group may decide to add rules as well. It will be up to the facilitator to gently remind people of the ground rules if they are broken to keep the meeting running smoothly. 3. Introduce the agenda, and ask for any additions. It is a good rule of thumb to have "announcements" as the last agenda item. This gives members the opportunity to talk about other items with out filling up meeting time to do so. Then go through each item and give a rough estimate of how long you want to spend on each item. It will then be the facilitator's duty to remind the group if they are going over time. If an item is taking more time than allotted the facilitator should ask the group if they want to agree to add more time to the item or move on. 4. Do a go-around of introductions, including name, affiliation, and interest in the issue (be sure to specify that each intro should be limited to 2 minutes or this could take up your entire meeting). Pass around a sign-up sheet and collect numbers, email addresses, etc. Successful Meeting Tip #2 Before the meeting post the following meeting ground rules where people can see them: 1. Do not interupt 2. Raise your hand to speak 3. Assume best intentions 4. Do not repeat others 5. Be respectful when disagreeing

Sample First Meeting Agenda 1. Pick a facilitator and a notetaker 2. Read and agree on ground rules 3. Approve agenda and timeline 4. Introductions 5. ASA's mission statement and goals 6. Review ASA's campaigns 7. Upcoming actions or events 8. Breakdown of steps and tasks 9. Decide how the group will stay in touch 10. Pick the next meeting time 11.Find volunteer to type meeting notes 12.Other announcements **It is most important to do two things during this first meeting: collect contact information and set the next meeting time and place.** 1. Pick a facilitator or two and a note taker. It is the responsibility of the facilitator to keep a media moving along on time, that the meeting sticks to the agenda, and that everyone who wants to speak gets an oppor-

5. Read ASA's mission and goals to the group to make sure that everyone is on the same page from day one!

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Successful Meeting Tip #3 During the meeting sit in a circle and begin by stating why you wanted to start an ASA group, and what the ASA campaign is currently working on. Then go in a circle and ask each person to say why they are interested, and what they think they'd like to do. Try to make everyone feel like they are being listened to and that their ideas are being considered. 6. Review ASA campaigns, how they apply to your group and what other challenges your community faces. Check with ASA staff before your meeting to get a list of most recent campaigns. Pass around Pledge of Resistance cards & collect signed ones later in the meeting to send to the ASA office. Successful Meeting Tip #4 REMEMBER: The #1 reason people do not return to meetings is because they run on too long. The #2 reason people do not return to meetings is because of lack of acton items coming from meetings. 7. Review upcoming events and actions that both ASA national are planning and local events such as city council meetings, court hearings, etc. 8. Brainstorm a list of tasks and steps that you need to accomplish for the items discussed in item #7 and get volunteers to take on items. Some examples of such tasks might be: Media: do you need a press release? Do you need media talking points for participants? Outreach: Contacting other like minded groups to join you in your efforts, making flyers to ensure greater turn out, etc. Art and visuals: Do you need signs, banners, tshirts, or other visuals for the event? Materials: Do you need something to hand out at the event to educate target audience?

9. Is everyone on e-mail? Do need a list-serve to stay in touch? Should you have a phone tree? 10.Dispatch: Review who is going to do each thing, including send out the notes and a list of contacts, and pass the hat for costs. Don't forget to set the next meeting date and place! Close your meeting, thank the facilitators and participants. 11.Announcements: This is a time to allow those who want to share items that maybe outside the realm of the agenda 12.Socialize afterwards! Successful Meeting Tip #5 If people are interested in going out afterwards be sure to encourage that. An organization that socializes together will be that much more committed when people feel stressed by deadlines.

BEYOND THE FIRST MEETING Before your second meeting you should phone everyone in the group to remind them of the next meeting and try to get people to personally commit to attending. At the second meeting, decide on some action items to get started. You may want to host a benefit or other type of event to get your feet wet. This also empowers your membership to go on to bigger things. Look through the campaign strategy and the event options in this booklet and discuss them with your group; settle on one, develop an action plan, and follow through on it. If your group is working well together a good way to keep people committed and engaged it may be a good idea to create committees or working groups to tackle major items. You can have break outs at these meetings for these groups to meet and report back to the main group. Some examples of working groups you may choose include: Media working group Outreach working group: everyone should do

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Successful Meeting Tip #6 Take notes and distribute to everyone soon afterwards. Start an email listserve to facilitate future organizing. this, but a group can schedule tabling and leafleting opportunities. Setting up a table is a great way to get free into events! Art in action working group: People who can put the time into making props, puppets, planning street theatre, music, etc. Alliance-building working group: Unlike outreach, this involves going to other existing groups, offering our support, and soliciting theirs. These are the ambassadors - a very important and often-neglected role. Fundraising working group: Planning fun events that can support your work. Education working group: May plan forums, curriculum, develop leaflets, etc.

The working groups depend on the interests and abilities of your membership. Make sure one person is the primary contact for each workgroup and that person's contact info is included in the notes and available to all chapter members and the national office. Remember to network with the national ASA office so we know what local groups have formed and can facillitate communication between groups. Please make copies of your participant lists and send them to us so that we can add the names to our national list. Copy the "Pledge of Resistance" and collect signatures, and also send copies of that to the national office. Successful Meeting Tip #7 Pass the hat at meetings to cover minor copying costs and materials for actions. Small donatons can go a long way!

Chapter Structure
USING ROVING FACILITATORS There are several ways to share leadership within a group, but one effective method is using roving facilitators. At each meeting, two people should volunteer or be chosen to faciliate the next meeting. (It's often fun working with others as faciliators, and in case one person cannot make it to the following meeting, the other will be there to facilitate.) These people will be responsible for: meetings. Have fun with this! SETTING MEETING RULES At the beginning of each ASA meeting, the facilitators should set ground rules for the meetings. Here are some basic rules that help meetings run smoothly:

· Helping to promote the meeting. · Creating an agenda for the meeting. · Moderating the meeting to ensure it runs
smoothly. The facilitators should rotate in order to give several people the chance to be involved. Encourage new activists to co-facilitate with someone who's been involved for a long time. Challenge facilitators to come up with creative activities or presentations for the

· Do not interrupt others while they speak. · Raise your hand to speak. · Assume best intentions. · Be respectful when disagreeing. · Do not repeat others
In addition to these rules, faciliators should ask the rest of the group to provide ground rules for the meeting. MONTHLY AGENDA OUTLINE This rough outline should be used every month. While we ask that ASA chapters and affiliates cover certain issues monthly, there is

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a lot of room for local input and creativity. a. Introductions. b. Present the agenda and ground rules, and ask for additions. c. Give a national update (this will be provided to you monthly through an email from the ASA office). d. Discuss local medical cannabis issues.

e. Prepare for an upcoming event or action, or do a political activity, like writing to an elected representative about a pending bill (find ideas in the Organizing Skills section of this handbook). f. Pick two facilitators and set a time, date and place for the next meeting. g. Socialize!

Outreach and Recruitment
Outreach is one of the most important aspects of organizing so don't let it fall through the cracks. While one or two committed people can be effective, building your group will develop further strengths and ensure longevity. Below, we will review several methods of outreach. USING EMAIL LISTS FOR OUTREACH AND ORGANIZING We will be reviewing the different ways you can set up and use email lists to communicate with your members, supporters, volunteers, and the media. Using your regular email software The simplest way to create and use email lists is to use your regular email software. This is a good choice for individual activists and for organizations in which the staff has little technical expertise and if your list has only a couple hundred subscribers. For example, if you want to send out press releases, set up a personalized address book labeled "Media" that includes the email addresses of all the interested reporters you know. To send a press release to your "Media" list, put your own email address in the "To" field, and type "Media" in the "Bcc" field of the message header. That way, all of the reporters will receive the message, but only your email address will be disclosed. ALWAYS use the "Bcc" (blind carbon copy) field if you are creating an email list in your address book so that the email addresses are hidden to your recipients. Activist E-mail Account and List Providers There are organizations that offer free mailing lists to activists like Rise Up and TAO These organizations are far more trustworthy and sympathetic to activists than capitalist E-mail services but they have limited resources. TYPES OF EMAIL LISTS Announcement-only email lists: This configuration provides one-way communication from the list owner to the list subscribers. This configuration is good for distributing electronic newsletters, action alerts, etc. When you configure a list for announcements only, you need a password in order to post messages, so you can determine who can post messages to the list. Moderated email lists: A moderated email list allows for controlled two-way communication. Any subscriber can post a message to the list, but the list owner decides whether or not to post it. This gives the list owner nearly as much control over the content as the owner of an announcement-only list. The main disadvantage is that you'll have to read every reply you get from list subscribers in order to decide whether or not to post them. Unmoderated email lists: In an unmoderated list any subscriber can post a message to the list for everyone to see. This configuration gives subscribers the most freedom to communicate and requires very low maintenance, but it also gives the list owner the least

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amount of control over the content. Open subscription process (anyone can participate): An open subscription list allows anyone who is interested to subscribe without approval from the list owner. Membership-only lists (subscription approval, password-protected Web sites): When you set up a list to require subscription approval, all subscription requests are forwarded to the list owner who will choose whether or not to approve them.
[Excerpted from "The Virtual Activist" with modifications by Shawn Ewald]

· · · ·

GUIDELINES FOR TABLING Why Table? Setting up a literature & merchandise table provides outreach opportunities for your group, provides activity for members looking for something to do, and makes money. All of these benefits are essential for building your group, and keeping it strong. Where to set up a table - All of the following events and locations are useful and beneficial to some degree. They are listed in decreasing order of likely success: A. Big political events, demonstrations, and marches; B. Events of your own; C. Small events; D. Specific locations in your community. It is best to start with no more than one event or tabling effort per month and build up your momentum. Supplies you will need - In order to successfully table and accommodate your volunteers, you should obtain the following (lightweight, durable materials are the best)

scratch paper, etc. As the day goes on, if you are accumulating a considerable amount of money in the cash box, take out all cash except what you need to make change and put it in a safe place. Keep careful records of financial transactions while tabling - with separate columns for donations, memberships, sales, and sales tax, separately. Clip Boards (for pledges of resistance and contact sheets) Literature Racks (not essential, but highly useful, especially if space is limited) Tarps and Rope (in wet climates) A durable hand truck with straps for transport is essential.

Presentation - Be sure that the name of your group appears on a sign or banner prominently displayed and visible from a distance. Make the table display as attractive as possible. A tablecloth perhaps, a variety of colorful books, shirts, eye-catching signs, posters, etc., will draw people over. Straighten literature periodically. For outdoor events, have with you a plastic sheet of some kind for a quick cover if it rains, and a bunch of clean rocks (or rubber bands) you can use to keep pamphlets from blowing away. Take an up-to-date price list of all merchandise. All items should be marked with the price, whenever possible. Outreach - The most important reason to table is to outreach and ORGANIZE! As people approach the table, stand up and engage them in friendly conversation. Talk about the issues, and let them know how they can help organize or participate. Have cards with your next meeting date and location available. Always provide a sign-up sheet that offers further contact.
[Excerpted from "Guidelines for Tabling" & from Steve Ongerth, East Bay IWW with modifications by Shawn Ewald]

· Portable Tables (if none are available, a · · · ·
tarp laid out on flat ground will work) Folding Chairs Milk Crates (for transport; can double as chairs) Rubber Bands (wind is always a nuisance) A Cash Box and $20 in Small Bills for change (round your prices off to the dollar; it's much easier). The cash box should also contain pens, pencils, tape,

PUBLIC PETITIONING A great way to do public outreach is through petition gathering. Petitioning is a simple and effective alternative to tabling, especially for

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


individuals or small groups. Here are some quick tips for successful petitioning:

· Choose a high traffic area to petition such · · · · · ·
as concerts, political events, college campuses or busy areas in your community. Print out several copies of a petition. You can use a petition found on the ASA website or one of your own. Rubber-band the petitions to pieces of cardboard. These hand-made clipboards are often easier to handle than storebought clipboards. Make sure to have several extra pens on hand in case a pen is lost or runs out of ink. Greet people with a catchy line, such as "Help protect medical marijuana patients!" Be friendly and outgoing. Have fun!

approached. Do research into their beliefs, goals and campaigns and try to see how your group's work fits into those. Attend one of their meetings and introduce yourself. Ask if they would be willing to co-sponsor an event. For ideas on groups to approach, refer to the allied and potential allied organization list in the Resources section of this handbook. MEDIA OUTREACH Think about utilizing local media not just as a tool for public education but also for a outreach about your specific group. Write letters to the editor in response to medical cannabis stories, and make sure to affiliate yourself with your group. Ask friendly journalists to write about your group before a meeting or event to publicize the event beyond your circle of activists. Send out press releases about your group's activities to get the community excited about what you are doing. For further ideas, please refer to the ASA Media Manual: aManual or Media Resources for Grassroots Organizers: rootsMedia

APPROACHING OTHER GROUPS Doing outreach to like-minded groups is essential to getting a new group off the ground or to expanding an existing group. When approaching other groups, always think about how you would like to be

Volunteer Development
Chapter members and volunteers are the lifeblood of ASA. It is important to remember that people come to ASA at different levels, and each type of member may have different needs. For example, new members can often feel overwhelmed and lost at meetings, while veteran members may feel bored or disconnected. Here are some tips on how to develop and retain effective volunteers: Cultivating New Members

· Give new members responsibility. People
often will not continue activity with an organization unless they feel they are needed. Ask members to prepare a news summary for a meeting, create flyers, do phone banking, etc. Call new members to invite them to the next meeting. Since they have not yet made ASA part of their routine, they may forget.

and offer explanations.


· Always begin meetings with introductions. ·
Introduce the campaign and a have a goaround for chapter introductions. Create an open environment geared towards education. Encourage questions

Keeping Members Interested

· Focus meetings on action. While meetings
can be educational and fun, always plan

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or execute some type of action. This will help members feel that they are involved in a campaign and not just hanging out with like-minded individuals. Ask for input from all members. A few vocal individuals can easily dominate a meeting. Make sure that all members know that their input is welcome is needed. Designate a facilitator to ensure that nobody dominates and that all voices are heard. Recognize members for their efforts, publicly and privately. While you know how talented and committed your members are, they need to here this. Give credit when someone has excelled on a project or committed energy towards ASA. Encourage members to socialize. People come to activist organizations for the politics, but they stay because its fun. Host social events after meetings or on the weekends. Go to movies or sporting events. Be creative and have fun!

Community Awards A great way to recognize members publicly is to give out awards. Give awards to outstanding volunteers, accomplished leaders, etc. Name awards after past leaders or give awards creative names. Developing Leaders

· Find out about members' skills, interests,
and connections. You will never know until you ask. Someone might have media experience. Another member could like to talk on the phone. Maybe a member has a connection to a local politician. Find out and make use of these skills. Create distinct positions and responsibilities. This will help foster accountability. Some ideas are coordinators for media, fundraising, event planning, and recruitment.


For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


EVENT PLANNING A good event will do some or all of the following: project your group's political power, strengthen your group's cohesiveness, promote activism, gain new members, raise consciousness, and raise money. Teach-ins can be held virtually anywhere and rely mostly on local talent. A teach-in has two parts: a learning or information sharing section and an interactive section to put the information into action (e.g., letterwriting or planning future actions). An interesting and fun agenda will draw a larger audience. Panel discussions involve the public in your event. Experts on your issue each give a very brief presentation, and then answer questions from the audience. A successful panel discussion takes a lot of planning, but tends to draw new people to an issue. Debates are similar to panel discussions except that they present opposing sides of a single issue. Opponents can be drawn from law enforcement, academia, politics, or criminal law. Be sure your side is both qualified and prepared on the issue. Practice role playing the debates. Don't be afraid to play the moral high card; behind those statistics are jailed medical patients, first time non-violent offenders, broken families, and other collateral damage of the ill fought war on drugs. Rallies can be as complicated or as simple as you plan them to be. From simple informational pickets to large public gatherings, rallies can energize an organization. Press coverage is essential - therefore, the rally must have a "hook", an event it has either created or is responding to that makes it "news". A protest rally after a dispensary raid or against a federal government official passing through town are examples of a 'crisis' demanding response. General Tips for Successful Events…

· Think of ways to reach out to other likeminded groups. Have a doctor and patient speak, and ask a medical group to cosponsor. Focus on DEA raids and draw the interest of criminal justice groups. Always include a political action in your event, even if it is primarily a social or educational event. Pass around petitions. Generate letters to the editor. Promote. Promote. Promote. A common mistake is to spend so much time planning an excellent event and leaving little time to spread the word. A well planned event is only successful if people show up. Try to spend as much energy promoting an event as you do on planning it.

· ·

Tips on Public Speaking
Giving speeches and presentations is one of the most basic ways that an activist can communicate ideas. Every activist should have at least a little experience with public speaking. Speaking Tips Feeling some nervousness before giving a speech is natural and healthy. It shows you care about doing well. But, too much nervousness can be detrimental. Here's how you can control your nervousness and make effective, memorable presentations: 1. Know the room. Be familiar with the place in which you will speak. Arrive early, walk around the speaking area and try practicing using the microphone and any visual aids. 2. Know the audience. Greet some of the audience as they arrive. It's easier to speak to a group of friends than to a group of strangers.

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


3. Know your material. If you're not familiar with your material or are uncomfortable with it, your nervousness will increase. Practice your speech and revise it if necessary. 4. Relax. Ease tension by going for a walk, doing some basic stretching, chatting with colleagues. 5. Realize that people want you to succeed. Audiences want you to be interesting, stimulating, and informative. They don't want you to fail. 6. Don't apologize. If you mention your nervousness or apologize for any problems you think you have with your speech, you may be calling the audience's attention to something they hadn't noticed. Avoid pointing out your own imagined inadequacies; your audience has a higher opinion of you than you think. 7. Concentrate on the message -- not the medium. Focus your attention away from your own anxieties, and outwardly toward your message and your audience. Your nervousness will dissipate. 8. Turn nervousness into positive energy. Harness your nervous energy and

transform it into vitality and enthusiasm. 9. Gain experience. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speaking.
[Excerpted from "10 Tips for Successful Public Speaking" with modifications by the editor.]

Tips for handling Q & A

· If you don't hear the question or · · ·
understand it, ask the questioner to repeat it. Try to keep calm, even if your audience is hostile or upset. Always respect the questioner, even if you do not like the question or the manner in which it is posed. Don't feel offended if someone asks you a question that you feel you already answered in your presentation or a previous question, they may not have heard or understood the information previously presented. Honesty is the best policy, if you don't know the answer to something, admit it you can offer to contact the person later with an answer.


[Excerpted from "Handling Q & A"]

Art and Messaging
MESSAGING We can have the loveliest and most inspiring event possible, but if the political message isn't clear, we won't get our point across. Having signs, banners, and images that represent our demands clearly is crucial. The more photogenic the puppet, the more we must be sure to include a sign or label that makes our position known, as together this is the image most likely to make it on the news. It is helpful to 'think backwards', and imagine what the picture is you most want to see on the front page of the paper the next day, and tailor your message towards that end. The next step in your message development is picking the target audience. It flows directly from your understanding of what needs to happen in the campaign at this point. What is the current demand on the table? Who needs to be convinced in order for that demand to be met? Is it the general public, government officials, the medical profession, or cannabisusers you are trying to affect? If it is cannabis users, then a celebratory 'usermovement' image of cannabis leaves may be just the right image. If it is not only cannabis users, a different image may get a stronger message across. Think through the major themes of the campaign, and represent one or two strongly. For your largest banner, be it handheld or hung somewhere, settle on one simple message.

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


Medical Marijuana University Host a teach-in with classes on legal issues, medical issues and political issues. Utilize doctors, lawyers and professors to teach these classes. Give out certificates to those who "graduate". Accept it: You're not going to be able to communicate all the points and shades of gray about the issue you'd like to. Figure out the most important point, and how to convey it concisely. Examples of Effective Messages:

SIGNS There are a variety of ways to make signs. Here are some possibilities: 1. Choose your canvass. Poster board works well, but cardboard cut from old boxes can be just as useful and is much more cost effective. 2. Lettering. Use paints or thick markers. Choose bold colors (red, black, dark green) or bright colors (yellow, orange, pink) outlined by black. 3. Messaging. Keep it simple and short! Your audience will loose interest if you write a novel. 4. Images. These can add to or take away from your message. Again, simplicity is often more effective. Use images that are obvious, such as a cannabis leaf with a red cross or a picture of a well-recognized public official. MAKING PROTEST BANNERS 1. Choose strong material (Paint drop cloth works great. You can usually pick this up at a hardware store for about $20, which buys you a 9X12 canvass.) 2. Cut the 9x12 in half and tie (or sew) together the pieces to form a longer 4.5x24ft long banner. 3. Attach grommets (which are also available at hardware store). It's best to place the grommets about 3 feet apart from one another along the top of banner. 4. If the banner is to be hung, use rope or zip-ties. 5. Remember it is illegal in some places to affix timber or metal poles to protest banners or signs in street marches. This can be overcome by using the cardboard tubes out of rolls of cloth. 6. Paint your lettering! Keep it simple and short so that it can be seen from long distances. Black or Red on white background is the easiest to see. 7. If the banner is to be out in the weather for some weeks then it is advisable to paint all the material with a coat of paint

· Hands off our medicine! · Stop arresting medical marijuana patients · Time's up: Reschedule marijuana now! · Safe access: It's the law
LEAFLETS One of the most important tasks that is often overlooked is leafleting the public during demonstrations and actions. Activists too often end up leafleting other activists about other issues of possible interest, instead of concentrating on communicating to the asyet-unconvinced or not-yet organized. A good leaflet should include a number of elements: 1. Visual appeal. Make it pretty and legible and people will want to read it. 2. Explain clearly what the demonstration is about, in as few words as possible. People either read a leaflet immediately upon receiving it, or not at all. Try and make it as 'catchy' as possible. If more explanation is desired, put that on the back, and those that are drawn in will read on to the detail. 3. Include what our arguments are to our opponents; give information and facts that they can use themselves. 4. Include your group's contact information, and any action that allies could take: i.e. your next meeting time and place, names & numbers of representatives that should be called, etc. Use leaflets as a tool to ORGANIZE, not only to inform!

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


before adding the text to prevent mildew. 8. Weights: You want to attach weights to the banner to prevent it from flapping or blowing in the wind. The cheapest solution is to attach plastic bags filled with some rice or sand to the bottom of the banner. WARNING: make sure these weights are securely attached. It is a felony to drop or throw something from an overpass onto moving traffic.

If you are making several banners all at the same time, it may be advantageous to make a stencil and use a small paint roller. Banners made using a stencil usually look better but it still takes time to make a stencil and then touch up the banner where the paint has run under the stencil.

Applying to the ASA Advocacy Grants Program
In 2005, ASA gave over $140,000 to ASA chapters and individual activists on an "as-needed" basis. To streamline this process, ASA has created a grants program that will be administered on a monthly basis. The average grant size will be between $50-$500 with a cap of $24,000 for special projects. These grants are meant to help ASA chapters and affiliates with budgets under $125,000 and individual activists respond to local political needs. These grants are not intended to provide a safety net for groups who have failed to adequately plan for their financial needs, but to help groups with items such as printing, travel, and small projects. Grants will only be provided to ASA chapters, affiliates, and members. How to Apply The grants program will be managed by ASA's Field Director, Rebecca Saltzman. Deadlines: Grant applications will be due on the 15th of every month and will be announced by the 1st of the following month. Funds will be dispersed on the 15th of every month. Applications received later than the 15th will not be considered until the following month. Pre-application process: For grant amounts between $50-$500, please just fill out the application. For amounts above $500 please send a letter of inquiry (800 words or less) outlining the intent for funds to the grants manager one month prior to anticipated application date. Application: All applications should be singlespaced on 8.5 x 11 paper with 1" margins, pages should be dated and number. Applications can be mailed, e-mailed or faxed. All applicants should include: Cover Letter (1 page) Answers to Questionnaire (3 pages) 501 c 3 information (if applies) Last Finical statement (if applies) Any supporting documents Grant priorities and limitations: ASA funds organizations and individuals that: 1. organize or educate people to take action; 2. encourage alliances and collaboration 3. promote innovative approaches to organizing 4. further ASA's mission ASA does not fund: 1. organizations with annual budgets over $125,000 2. litigation or criminal cases 3. any drug policy issues outside of Medical Cannabis 4. direct services such as distribution of medication Contact Information for Grants Program: Rebecca Saltzman Email: Phone: (510) 251-1856 x 308 Fax: (510) 251-2036

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS ADVOCAY GRANTS PROGRAM Coversheet Date of application: __________________________________________________________ Name of individual or Organization: ___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Purpose of Grant (150 words or less) ___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Address: _____________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Phone: ______________________________________________________________________ Fax: _________________________________________________________________________ E-mail: _______________________________________________________________________ Name and title of contact for grant: ___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Detailed information about how you qualify as an ASA affiliate, ASA chapter, or ASA member: ________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Is your organization a 501 (c)3? ________________________________________________ If not please explain current status: ____________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ Total organizational budget for this year: ______________________________________ Total organization budget for previous year: ___________________________________ Total project budget: _________________________________________________________ Grant amount requested: _____________________________________________________

Questionnaire (All questions should be answered separately and should be no longer than three pages total.) A.What is the objective of the project? B. What is the project plan? C. How will you know if you meet your goals? D.How does this project fulfill ASA's mission? E. What is the budget of the project? F. How will you raise any additional funds needed? G.Applicant's information: brief description of 18

mission, history, accomplishments, and current activities. H.Non-profit applicants should list Board officers and directors, with contact information for all. I. Applicant's financial statements for past three years (if available), and organizational budget for current fiscal year and/or next fiscal year. J. Applicants seeking 501(c) (3) funds -- which is a plus but not required -- should include the IRS letter of recognition.

ASA Online Resources
POLITICAL Online Action Center Online action items to make our voices heard. Identify your representative and send a free message. 10 Ways to Get Involved Ten ways you can get active in the campaign for medical cannabis patients' rights. Resources for Organizers Everything you need to be an effective activist: handbooks, outreach materials, graphics and more. Campaigns Here are the different strategic campaigns we use to achieve our goals of safe and legal access. MEDICAL Join a Patients' Union! ASA is working with patients to form Medical Cannabis Patients' Unions based on shared diagnosis. Condition-based groups are now forming across the U.S. Patients' Unions are a support network for patients and caregivers fighting for the use of cannabis as medicine as well as a vehicle for lobbying and public education. Condition-based Booklets We have produced a number of highly informative booklets on the use of cannabis to treat specific conditions. You can download free PDFs of booklets on HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Aging, Arthritis, Gastro-Intestinal Disorders, Movement Disorders, Cancer and Chronic Pain. LEGAL Upcoming Court Dates Here is a list of upcoming court dates of medical cannabis patients, caregivers, or doctors. Please support these members of your community. Write to Medical Cannabis Prisoners Show solidarity and support for incarcerated medical cannabis patients by writing to people on our list of Medical Cannabis Prisoners. MEDIA Media Resources for Grassroots Organizers Helping local ASA affiliates get the message out is part of how we keep the issue before the public, with guidance on writing press releases, OpEds and letters to the editor, as well as getting media to events.

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


Allied and Potential Allied Organizations
AARP AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization for people age 50 and over. AARP is dedicated to enhancing quality of life for all as we age. They lead positive social change and deliver value to members through information, advocacy and service. AIDS Action AIDS Action is a national organization dedicated to the development, analysis, cultivation, and encouragement of sound policies and programs in response to the HIV epidemic. They do this through the dissemination of information and the building and use of advocacy on behalf of all those living with and affected by HIV. American Academy of HIV Medicine The American Academy of HIV Medicine is an independent organization of AAHIVM HIV SpecialistsTM and others dedicated to promoting excellence in HIV/AIDS care. Through advocacy and education, the Academy is committed to supporting health care providers in HIV medicine and to ensuring better care for those living with AIDS and HIV disease. American Civil Liberties Union The works daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Their job is to conserve America's original civic values: the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. American Public Health Association The American Public Health Association (APHA) is the oldest and largest organization of public health professionals in the world, representing more than 50,000 members from over 50 occupations of public health. APHA brings together researchers, health service providers, administrators, teachers, and other health workers in a unique, multidisciplinary environment of professional exchange, study, and action. Drug Policy Alliance The Alliance is a high profile organization working to end the war on drugs. The organization envisions new drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights and a just society in which the fears, prejudices and punitive prohibitions of today are no more. Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative The Interfaith Drug Policy Initiative was established in November 2003 to mobilize people of faith and religious groups behind more compassionate and less coercive alternatives to the war on drugs. International Association for Cannabis as Medicine The International Association for Cannabis as Medicine (IACM) is a scientific society advocating the improvement of the legal situation for the use of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa L.) and its pharmacologically most important active compounds, the cannabinoids, for therapeutic applications through promotion of research and dissemination of information. The IACM declares that it is the right of doctors to be able to discuss the medicinal use of cannabis with their patients. International Cannabis Research Society The ICRS is dedicated to research in all fields of the cannabinoids, ranging from biochemical, chemical and physiological studies of the endogenous cannabinoid system to studies of the abuse potential of recreational cannabis.

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


In addition to acting as a source for impartial information on cannabis and the cannabinoids, the main role of the ICRS is to provide a forum for researchers to meet and discuss their results. Lymphoma Foundation of America Lymphoma Foundation of America is the national organization devoted solely to helping lymphoma patients and their families. They are dedicated to helping you find the best care available for your type of lymphoma. They offer support, experience, advice, and a helping hand. All programs and services are free. MAPS The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) is a membershipbased non-profit research and educational organization. They assist scientists to design, obtain approval for, fund, conduct and report on research into the healing and spiritual potentials of psychedelics and cannabis. National Association of People with AIDS The National Association of People with AIDS is a non-profit membership organization that advocates on behalf of all people living with HIV and AIDS in order to end the pandemic and the human suffering caused by HIV/AIDS. National Multiple Sclerosis Society The mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is to end the devastating effects of MS. The Society and its network of chapters

nationwide promote research, educate, advocate on critical issues, and organize a wide range of programs- including support for the newly diagnosed and those living with MS over time. The November Coalition The November Coalition is a non-profit organization of grassroots volunteers educating the public about the destructive increase in prison population in the United States due to our current drug laws. They alert their fellow citizens, particularly those who are complacent or naive, about the present and impending dangers of an overly powerful federal authority acting far beyond its constitutional constraints. Patients Out of Time The mission of Patients Out of Time is the education of health care professionals and the public about the therapeutic use of cannabis. Their leadership is composed of medical and nursing professionals with expertise in the clinical applications of cannabis and five of the seven patients (two wish to remain anonymous) who receive their medical cannabis from the US government. Students for Sensible Drug Policy Students for Sensible Drug Policy is committed to providing education on harms caused by the War on Drugs, working to involve youth in the political process, and promoting an open, honest, and rational discussion of alternative solutions to our nation's drug problems.

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


Arts & Direct Action Groups
PUPPETRY & STREET THEATRE RESOURCES The Puppeteers Cooperative This web page has thumbnail sketches showing how to make various kinds of puppets Wise Fool Puppet Intervention Wise Fool Puppet Intervention is a theatre project dedicated to community, celebration and change. They make some of the most beautiful puppets around, as well as masks, stilts, and other street theatre props, and a handbook is available through the website. DIRECT ACTION RESOURCES Black Cross Collective First Aid for Activists: Fight the power, do no harm. Downloadable handbooks on street medic preparation. Just Cause Law Collective Downloadable handbooks for direct action legal and jail preps, legal observer handbooks, & activist handbooks. Papers on Nonviolent Action and Cooperative Decision-Making This website has a wealth of information, including very detailed agendas. Most of the material was developed in the 1980's. The Ruckus Society This site has training manuals for action planning, media, climbing, scouting, video taping, and hanging from a billboard. The orientation is high-profile small actions.

Working together: anti-oppression principles and practices
In order to build a non-discriminatory world, we suggest the following principles and practices in our lives and in our work. PRINCIPLES Power and privilege play out in our group dynamics and we must continually challenge when and how power and privilege in our practice. We can only identify how power and privilege play out when we are conscious and committed to understanding how white supremacy, patriarchy, heterosexism and all other systems of oppression affect each one of us. Developing an anti-oppression practice is lifelong work and requires a life-long commitment. No single workshop is sufficient for learning to change one's behaviors. Dialogue and discussion are necessary and we need to learn how to listen non-defensively and communicate respectfully if we are going to have effective anti-oppression practice. PRACTICES Personal Practices

· Challenge yourself to be honest and open ·
and take risks to address racism, sexism, and homophobia head on. When you witness or experience an abuse of power or oppression interrupt the behavior and address it on the spot or later, either one on one, or with a few allies; this is about ways to address oppressive behavior that will encourage change. When challenging people's behavior, try to be sensitive to promote open dialogue. Don't generalize feelings, thoughts, behaviors, etc to a whole group. Don't make people "prove" their experience of oppression by challenging,

· · ·

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.



· ·


· ·

calling them divisive or diminishing what they say. Give people the benefit of the doubt and don't make assumptions. Be willing to lose a friend but try not to "thrown away" people who fuck up because you don't want to be associated with them. Help them admit what they did and help them take responsibility for making reparations for their behavior. Challenge "macho bravado" and "rugged individualism" in yourself, your friends and in activism. Take on the "grunt" work of cooking, cleaning, set up, clean up, phone calls, email, taking notes, doing support work, sending mailings. Take active responsibility for initiating, volunteering for and following through with this work. Understand that you will feel discomfort and pain as you face your part in oppression, and realize that this is a necessary part of the process of liberation and growth. We must support each other and be gentle with each other in this process. Don't feel guilty, feel motivated. Being part of the problem doesn't mean you can't be an active part of the solution. Maintain these practices and contribute equal time and energy to building healthy relationships, both personal and political.

· Remember these are complex issues and · Create opportunities for people to develop · Respect different styles of leadership and · Don't push people of color to do things ·
because of their race (tokenism); base it on their work, experience, and skills Make a collective commitment to hold people accountable for their behavior so that the organization can be a safe and nurturing place for all. communication skills to communicate about oppression they need adequate time and space

Meeting Practices

· It is the role of the facilitator to make the · Become a good listener · Don't interrupt people who are speaking · Be conscious of how your use of language · · · · · · ·
may perpetuate racism, sexism, homophobia or ageism Try not to call people out because they are not speaking Be conscious of how much space you take up or how much you speak in a group Be careful of not hogging the show, speaking on every subject, speaking in capital letters, restating what others say or speaking for others Respect different views and opinions Balance race, gender and age participation People who haven't yet spoken get priority Racist, sexist, ageist, homophobic remarks must not be tolerated space safe and welcoming for everyone.

Organizational Practices

· Commit time for organizational discussions · Set anti-oppression goals and continually ·
evaluate whether or not you are meeting them Promote an anti-racist and sexist message and analysis in everything we do, in and outside of activist space on discrimination and oppression

This document is compiled from the "Anti-Racism Principles and Practices" by RiseUp DAN-LA, Overcoming Masculine Oppression by Bill Moyers and the FEMMAFESTO by the women of Philadelphia. 9/9/01 by Lisa Fithian

For more information, see or contact the ASA office at 1-888-929-4367 or 510-251-1856.


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