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I want to invite you to get registered for the California Citizen Lobby Day on June 15 in Sacramento. Our fourth annual medical cannabis lobby day will be the biggest and most important one yet. We need hundreds of patients, advocates, industry workers, and other stakeholders in the Capitol this year to make a grassroots showing of strength and unity.
Your participation matters this year because more than a dozen bills in the state legislature touch on every aspect of medical cannabis –licensing and regulations, manufacturing concentrates, cultivation, vaporizers, organ transplant discrimination and more. The decisions that lawmakers make this year will affect how patients get medicine for years to come. Which bills are adopted or rejected will also set the political stage for an anticipated vote on legalizing cannabis for adult use in 2016.
You will be planting seeds this year for legislation next year to protect patients from discrimination in employment, housing, parental rights, and equal access to health care. We know this grassroots strategy works. Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) introduced AB 258, the ASA-sponsored Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, this year as a direct result of last year’s lobby day.
The best outcomes result from having those affected by laws at the table when they are written. With so much at stake, you cannot afford to be silent. Research shows that a visit from ordinary citizen like you is six times more likely to influence an undecided lawmaker than a visit from a paid lobbyist.
On Monday, June 15, ASA will brief you on the bills, train you to be an effective citizen lobbyist, and provide you with background information on your lawmakers – including their personal priorities and top campaign donors. We will go together to the State Capitol for a group picture and meetings with lawmakers that afternoon.
This year we will also be meeting one day in advance, on Sunday, June 14, for two workshops designed to support advocates at the local level. ASA Director of Patient Focused Certification Kristin Nevedal will discuss regulating medical cannabis cultivation, and ASA California Director Don Duncan will talk about strategies for local voter initiatives. Our goal is to be sure you go home with the skills you need to push back on local bans and adopt sensible regulations in your city or county. Workshops are $15 each or $25 for both. Please register in advance, as space is limited on Sunday.
Lobby day and workshop participants are invited to a comedy show hosted by comedian and cannabis personality Ngaio Bealum on Sunday night and a special VIP reception with lawmakers on Monday afternoon. We will be giving awards to the authors of AB 258 at the reception. Enjoy cocktails and complimentary hors d'oeuvres while you mingle.
Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available. Check the website for more information.
See you in Sacramento!