9 Ways to Help Build ASA This Summer
August 26, 2019 | Geoff Marshall
A lot has changed for ASA (and this country) in the 17 years that we’ve been working for safe access to medical cannabis. Something that hasn’t changed is that we are still focused on serving patients and we are still absolutely dependant on the hard work and financial support of our members and activists. With major changes coming to the medical cannabis landscape in the near future we want to take this opportunity to ask for your support to keep ASA fighting for patients.
Connect with your community
It’s easier than ever to connect with a community of medical cannabis patients. With social media and better laws, more medical cannabis users are openly sharing their experiences. We know that stories from friends and family members benefiting from cannabis are very persuasive to voters considering new laws and lawmakers and regulators adjusting and improving existing medical cannabis programs. Here are a few ways you can help us with this mission:
- Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Youtube and subscribe to our Medical Cannabis Brief newsletter for up-to-date medical cannabis news stories in a daily or weekly email.
- Connect with a representative from a local ASA chapter or with a local advocacy organization on Facebook. We have tons of free tools and resources on our website and experience to share with advocates so let us help you address the needs in your medical cannabis community.
- Connect with your local cannabis dispensary. Often the local dispensary is the focal point for the medical cannabis community and we want to help support those patients. Tell your dispensary to talk to us about sponsoring our work and their local patients. Tell them to get the Patient Focused Certification ensuring that they are an industry leader in safe access. Ask them to offer our online Cannabis Care Certification education program for patients and caregivers to their customers free of charge. Let them know that ASA is important to you and you want to see them working with us.
- Connect outside the medical cannabis community. As we mentioned, sharing your story is important for lawmakers and regulators to hear. Use our online tools to quickly connect with your elected officials. Talk to your physician about continuing their education with our Cannabis Care Certification for medical professionals. Get an ASA t-shirt and talk to people about what safe access means for your life.
Build up ASA as an organization
If you’re already doing a lot of the outreach I mentioned above you are already doing amazing work to build up ASA. Here are some next steps to build our capacity and help support us for continuing the fight into the future.
- So you’ve connected with other advocates online, at a dispensary, or at an ASA chapter meeting. You know these advocates are doing amazing work for safe access and you want to help. Link up and then become a leader within the chapter. We receive inquiries from patients and potential patients all the time who are looking for support and advice from their community. Become someone that we can connect those people too. If you don’t have a chapter serving your area, maybe you and your community can begin one. Start logging your patient experience using the Releaf App. Being in our group helps us gather anonymous user data that we use to build the case for safe access.
- We’re a tiny office with a small staff here in Washington, DC and we absolutely depend on local advocates to help keep us informed. Let us know if there is an event going on in your area that you would like ASA to be represented at. Although we can not travel to every event, we love it when our advocates table for us. Can you work at a table and tell attendees about ASA? What about a community health fair that you or your chapter would like to attend? Let us know and we can help get you advocacy materials and handouts for your event.
- It costs money to run ASA. While you may think the vast majority of our funding would come from the medical cannabis industry, the sad fact is that the industry accounts for less than 10% of our funding. Most of our support comes from patients and advocates who pay their $10 monthly membership dues or make a donation whenever they can. While we would prefer that industry help support us more, we are proud that so many folks who don’t have a lot to spare, give what they can to support our work. If you can afford to support safe access, or know an organization that would like to help, please make a donation to show your support.
- Besides making a direct donation there are other ways to give ASA your financial support. Select ASA as your charity on Amazon Smile and we’ll receive a donation from Amazon every time you shop (and you don’t pay anything extra). Install the Pocketchange browser extension and you can make mini-donations everytime you see a medical cannabis story online. Order a Support Cannabis Research shirt or grab a bottle of soap from Dr. Bronners! If you have a cannabis business and you’d like to support us please reach out and let us know.
- Encourage the dispensaries, cannabis brands and organizations you support to sponsor ASA. Let them know what ASA means to you and tell them how they can help patients by supporting ASA. If you appreciate ASA and especially if you’ve received a Unity Conference scholarship or other direct support from us, please consider reaching out to an ASA sponsor to send them an email thanking them for helping make that possible.
There are tons of suggestions here and we appreciate any and all of them that you can help us with. We're also very open to suggestions so if you have ideas feel free to comment below!