Guest blog by MMPA Organizer Matt Allen - In Massachusetts, optimism and ambition are high among medical marijuana advocates as the new legislative session is starting up. Turnout at our stakeholder's meeting November (facilitated by ASA Executive Director Steph Shrer) exceeded expectations, helped us build connections amongst one another, and left everyone motivated to take action and work together to pass medical marijuana reform in the next two years. In addition the meeting provided Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance with valuable information about the hopes and concerns of the medical marijuana advocacy community that we were able to relate to Chairman Smizik, lead sponsor of the medical marijuana bill that will be filed, and a long time supporter of our cause. Individual patients and family members who want to see Massachusetts catch up to other states in the region like Rhode Island, Vermont, and Maine, are now contacting their state reps and asking them to cosponsor the medical marijuana bill that will be filed next week. We accomplished a lot last year through outreach at community events and lobbying legislators as well as seeking support from other public health groups. But our coalition wasn't even founded until the middle of last session. This time we are organized and will be able to present a unified grassroots presence at the state house from day one. As the organizer for MPAA I've already had the opportunity to join some patients on visits to their reps to discuss the issue, and it has been awesome! We are getting the message out that this is a real public health issue and that its wrong to deny patients their medicine. Legislators are listening, and the public is behind us. And we are growing! Visit us at masscompassion.org to follow the campaign in Massachusetts, or e-mail [email protected] if you're a Massachusetts resident who wants to get more involved.