Staff ASA Leadership
Office of the Executive Director
Steph Sherer, Executive Director
phone: (202) 857-4272
Steph Sherer is founder and Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
Her direct experience with the medical benefits of cannabis and her political organizing background led Steph to form ASA in 2002 with the purpose of building a strong grassroots movement to protect patients and their rights. As a powerful advocate, a skilled spokesperson, and an energetic initiator of campaigns, Steph has trained over 100,000 individuals across the country on civic engagement.
Steph has become the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy and, alongside American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), has created the first industry standards in the areas of Distribution, Cultivation, Analytics, and Manufacturing, Packaging and Labeling.
Debbie Churgai, Associate Director
phone: (202) 857-4272 x. 8
Debbie first entered into the medical cannabis field by helping a company write their State license applications for cultivating and manufacturing medical cannabis. She worked in conjunction with horticulturists, physicians, and patient advocates and learned a great deal about the industry. She joined ASA in February of 2016 as the Executive Director’s assistant. In this role, she helps with all aspects of the organization and has her hand in many different projects at all times. She has served as an editor and reviewer on many ASA publications including the Cannabis and Cannabis Resin Critical Review Document that was sent to the United Nations. Her previous work experience was in the Behavioral and Public Health fields working on projects in tobacco regulation and substance abuse prevention and treatment. She has experience in project coordination, contract management, technical writing, and qualitative and quantitative research. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology.
Geoffrey Marshall, Office & Membership Coordinator
phone: (202) 857-4272 x. 1
Geoffrey Marshall joined Americans For Safe Access as the Office and Membership assistant in 2015. He brings a dedication to organization and efficiency to the role, where he works to facilitate the organization’s operations and workflows. A graduate of The College of Idaho, Geoffrey’s background has largely focused in the world of non-profit development including time at the Marijuana Policy Project. His own experience with medicinal marijuana (beside the myriad of policy arguments) prompted his work with drug policy reform and cannabis legalization. He also works as consultant for non-profit and campaign clients using the NationBuilder platform.
William Dolphin, Publications
William Dolphin is responsible for ASA's newsletters and other print publications, such as the booklets on treating specific conditions, state legal manuals, and activist training materials. He has been part of ASA's communications team since 2003, when he joined the organization after contributing to a media relations campaign for author Ed Rosenthal's landmark federal trial that generated coverage by the New York Times and major networks. His work as a writer and editor has ranged from think tanks and city governments to universities and publishers, and he has taught at San Francisco State University, Rhodes College, and UC Berkeley.
Paul Marini, Technical Director
Paul has been with ASA since its inception, serving in a myriad of roles. He is happy to bring the logistical expertise he learned in the anti-globlization movement to bear to keep things running smoothly at ASA.
Benjamin Morrison, Senior IT Consultant
Benjamin Morrison specializes in nonprofit online infrastructure, including modern web design standards, mobile design optimization, online fundraising and online/social media marketing strategy. Formally trained in art history, ceramic arts and ceramic chemistry, Benjamin branched out into web design on the Nationbuilder and Modx platforms in 2009. Former clients include retail businesses, charitable nonprofits, non-partisan political nonprofits, and educational organizations nationwide.
His philosophy in web design is encompassed very well by his company’s slogan “Getting People Involved & Keeping People Involved."
Don Duncan, California Director
phone: (202) 857-4272 x. 7
Don Duncan has served on the Board of Directors since he co-founded American for Safe Access in 2002. As California Director, he is coordinating the grassroots and grasstops campaign to fully implement the states medical cannabis laws, respond to federal interference, and build a broader and more powerful coalition for medical cannabis in California. Mr. Duncan was instrumental in galvanizing grassroots resistance to federal raids and in seeding local self-regulatory alliances for medical cannabis providers statewide. He has worked closely with elected officials, law enforcement, collective operators, and community members in local implementation efforts in several California cities and counties, and is currently working with lawmakers in Sacramento to adopt legislation to expand rights for patients.
Mr. Duncan co-founded one of the oldest and most reputable families of medical cannabis dispensing collectives in California, helping to open legal facilities in Berkeley, West Hollywood, and Los Angeles. He is a leading consultant in the field of medical cannabis and has been featured in major media coverage, including 60 Minutes, Dan Rather Reports, Retirement Living TV, and the Los Angeles Times.
Marissa Valeri, National Outreach Coordinator
phone: (202) 857-4272 x. 4
Marissa Valeri comes to Americans for Safe Access with a deep appreciation for medical cannabis, especially in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, and with a love of patient advocacy to help shape public policy and affect real change in our medical systems.
Previous to ASA, she worked for Common Cause, where she supported and managed their state organizations’ digital strategy and online communications and campaigns. Prior to that, she worked at Catholics for Choice, focusing extensively on cultivating and supporting a national network of advocates who work on reproductive health and justice issues from a Catholic perspective. She also worked with state legislators around the country to stand up and be heard in the public policy discourse.
A native of Wheaton, Maryland, she has been active and interested in health care policy, patient advocacy and politics for as long as she can remember.
David Mangone Esq., Director of Government Affairs | Legislative Counsel
phone: (202) 857-4272 x. 5
David Mangone brings both congressional and professional legal experience to his role at Americans for Safe Access. Having served as a Legislative Fellow on Capitol Hill and as an attorney in both South Carolina and D.C., he has appreciation for the conflict of federal and state laws that patients struggle with every day. Focusing on statutory interpretation and Congressional advocacy, David believes the best way to help patients in need of treatment is engage lawmakers and encourage robust regulatory change.
Patient Focused Certification
Heather Despres, M.Sc., PFC Director
Heather Despres, M.Sc. is serving as the Director of the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program. Her prior experience in cannabis testing laboratories, as well as environmental and pharmaceutical labs, brings with it years of working to ensure that the products made for medical marijuana patients is safe. Heather has degrees in chemistry and bio-molecular science from Clarkson University as well as a Master’s in Chemistry from the University of Colorado at Denver. She has recently relocated to California with her family and is looking forward to continuing to grow the Patient Focused Certification Program.
Jill Lamoureux, Patient Focused Certification Board Chair
Jill’s background is in toll road operations and municipal bond finance; she received an MBA from the University of Denver in 1999. Jill has been a leader in Colorado’s medical marijuana industry since 2008 when she and her husband began one of the state’s most respected multi-location dispensary operations. She is a founding member of and served as the first woman Chairman of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Jill has presented on medical marijuana business topics and has taught CLE courses on rules and regulations nationally and in Canada. She was the only business owner to serve on both the Department of Revenue and Department of Health regulatory advisory workgroups. Jill developed the Patient Focused Certification program for Americans for Safe Access and serves as its Program Director. Recently, she served as a subject matter expert consulting to the BOTEC team advising Washington State on rule-making issues for recreational marijuana operations.
As a former dispensary and cultivation owner and operator, she brings first-hand experience to her compliance work and procedures writing. Jill has provided regulatory consulting for all three medical marijuana trade associations in Colorado and holds contracts with both legal and consulting groups providing compliance, application management, and writing services. Currently, Jill is working on applications and procedures for dispensaries, manufacturers, and cultivation facilities in Massachusetts with Vicente Sederberg, LLC and in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Illinois, Nevada, the District of Columbia, and Canada with Denver Relief Consulting.