Thursday, February 17, 2011
Medical Marijuana Patient Advocates Hold First-of-Its-Kind Virtual Nationwide Conference
Hundreds of activists in more than 20 cities will engage in skills-building and strategic planning
Oakland, CA -- As the issue of medical marijuana heats up across the country, leading patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold a two-day interactive, virtual “Boot Camp” February 19-20 to train hundreds of U.S.-based activists in skills-building and strategic planning. This first of its kind nationwide conference on medical marijuana will be conducted in more than 20 cities in 9 states, including Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Melbourne, Portland, Sacramento, San Diego, and Washington, D.C.
ASA has held numerous trainings over its 9-year history, but this will be the group’s first decentralized virtual conference in an attempt to better reach patient advocates, building greater breadth and depth in the medical marijuana movement. “I think it’s really important for people to understand that they are the power,” said U.S. Representative Sam Farr (D-CA) in a promotional video for the conference. “Government is lent to us and you hold the power to…change the laws of this land,” continued Representative Farr. “If you want to change things, all you have to do is get involved.”
Conference participants will be trained in outreach and recruitment, coalition building, leadership development, lobbying public officials, organizing protests and rallies, and working with the media. Once trained, patient advocates will have greater skills with which to develop strategies for protecting and expanding patients’ rights, as well as adopting medical marijuana policies in states without such laws. “Activists across the country are clamoring for the skills to bring about change at the local and federal level,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “This historic conference is an attempt to satisfy that demand and to build a stronger medical marijuana movement in the U.S.”
From grappling with local regulatory ordinances to passing new state medical marijuana laws, the work of patient advocates has been challenging and ongoing. Literally hundreds of local governments in medical marijuana states are deliberating land use laws that dictate how patients can cultivate and obtain their medicine. More than a dozen state governments are also currently considering new statewide medical marijuana laws. “The ‘ASA Activist Boot Camp’ will provide patient advocates with the skill-set and road map to address these political challenges,” continued Sherer.
As the country’s largest grassroots medical marijuana organization with more than 50,000 members in all 50 states, ASA is also using this conference to help push for a meaningful federal policy. Based on a conviction that Americans deserve the right to choose their own form of health care treatment whether they live in California or Florida, ASA is providing activists with the tools to bring about equal rights for all of the country’s sickest and most vulnerable citizens.
Promotional video clip with U.S. Representative Sam Farr: http://www.medicalmarijuana411.com/2011/02/10/join-americans-for-safe-access-for-a-national-call-to-action/
ASA Boot Camp flyer: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/ASA_Boot_Camp.pdf
ASA Boot Camp registration info: http://AmericansForSafeAccess.org/ActivistBootCamp
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