This is Reprinted from the MMMA- Original Section Can be Found HERE
Organizing Your Own Local Compassion Club
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association (3MA) was organized as a statewide umbrella group to serve all of Michigan’s medical marijuana community. We are incorporated with non-profit status and have established ourselves as Michigan’s leading advocate for medical marijuana patients.
Through our network of Compassion Clubs, we promote community education, provide patient advocacy and encourage our members to engage in open communication to develop a better understanding of medical marijuana and the legal rules that govern it’s use. While we’re not a substitute for local action, uniting ourselves under one umbrella, into one community and one state, does enable us to be heard in Lansing.
Organizing a Club is Easy
To serve local communities 3MA Compassion Clubs are organizing and meeting in libraries, back rooms and private homes around the state. These patient support groups fill a vital need at the local level for medical marijuana patients, their caregivers and those who care about them. Thank you for your willingness to help start a Compassion Club in your hometown and be assured, organizing a club is easy and even easier to keep going once it is started. It only takes a spark!
3MA Compassion Clubs are primarily patient support groups. A place for medical marijuana patients and others to safely meet, learn, and provide mutual support — no different than any other condition-based patient support group in America. Compassion Clubs provide reliable sources of information, offer emotional support, and assists with referrals. Things people do when they are a community.
These Compassion Clubs are neither medical marijuana hook-up sessions nor are they a place to swap seeds or clones. It wouldn’t be appropriate for patients at an HIV/AIDS support group to break out their medications and start swapping around. It’s not appropriate at our meetings either. We must insist that no open use or transfer of marijuana, seeds, or clones be allowed during Compassion Club meetings. Clubs that allow this to happen risk losing MMMA affiliation. Transfers of medical marijuana and genetic material are private matters that can not be facilitated by the club. Conversely, what members talk about or do in private, away from the meeting, is none of our business either.
These Meetings ARE NOT Smoke Sessions
Any recreational marijuana user attending 3MA Compassion Clubs looking to score will be sorely disappointed. Our meetings are open to the public and are often held in public places. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act prohibits smoking medical marijuana in public and smoking anything — just like tobacco products — is illegal inside public buildings anywhere in Michigan. These are not smoke sessions, they are a place where people who have lived in the shadows for too long can finally come together and openly support each other.
By organizing into a statewide network of community-based, “grass-roots” Compassion Clubs, we become a powerful force encouraging legislators, law enforcement officials, and our opponents to work with us rather than against us. Acting together as a united block of voting power we ensure that Michigan’s medical marijuana community is recognized and respected. Local Compassion Clubs, working in concert as the MMMA give voice to the 3,006,820 Michigan citizens who voted to protect patients and allow medical marijuana as a viable treatment option.
Compassion Club Guidelines and Expectations
As a Michigan Medical Marijuana Association sanctioned club, local clubs are semi-autonomous groups and will be required to adhere to our guidelines and meet our expectations to remain sanctioned.
- Compassion Clubs must be open to everyone over the age of 18, minor’s will be allowed if accompanied by a parent
- Compassion Club meetings must be held at least once every 30 days at a regular location
- Compassion Clubs must operate within the law of the State of Michigan
- The primary focus of Compassion Clubs is to educate and inform community members about the legal and political issues surrounding medical marijuana in Michigan, and to provide local feedback to MMMA so we can fully address all the concerns raised by Michigan’s medical marijuana community.
- Compassion Club meetings must be structured to include a minimum of 20 minutes of MMMA discussion materials at least once every month. This material will be sent to the club each month, or can be downloaded directly from our website.
- The balance of each official meeting should include discussion about specific issues that directly effect the members of your group, and local issues that effect them such as, which physicians are receptive to writing a medical marijuana recommendation, encounters with law enforcement, occurrences of discrimination, and most importantly, the safety of group members.
- Sanctioned MMMA Compassion Clubs must be self-sustaining and may raise funds through
- dues/meeting fees, sales of MMMA memberships and merchandise, donations, and fundraisers.
- No open use of medical cannabis, smoked or otherwise, can be allowed during our meetings.
- Keep the focus on patient outcomes. What is best for the patient must always be the #1 priority and the primary focus.
- We are about medical cannabis, not the larger issues of Prohibition or responsible adult use. Do not stray too far into those areas.
- Avoid exaggerated claims of the medical efficacy of cannabis. The MMMA position is, “marijuana TREATS the SYMPTOMS of many diseases”.
- Do not claim cannabis or cannabinoids CURE any disease. Do not claim that cannabis or cannabinoids treat the disease itself. This is non-negotiable.
- No one knows all the answers about the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. Be sure the information you impart to anyone is accurate.
- Don’t pretend to know things you don’t, if you’re asked a question you don’t have an answer for, tell people you don’t know but you will find out, or tell them where to find the information.
- Be honest with people and they will respect your leadership and want to follow you.
- Always stay on the MMMA message
- Positive patient outcomes is the number one priority
- Keep it legal in all you do, and respect both the liberties and the limits of the Act.
You Are Responsible for Your Club
Compassion Club sponsors are required to ensure all this happens. The sponsor may delegate the duty of showing up and leading the meeting to others within the club, but it remains the responsibility of each club sponsor to make sure our guidelines are followed.
Please stay in regular contact with the state MMMA office for updates. We are here to serve you and the more communication flowing back and forth the better. Keep it flowing, and by the same token, if you need to hear from us, please contact us, all MMMA Directors are accessible 7 days a week.
MMMA Compassion Clubs are simply community-based support groups of patients, caregivers, families and loved ones, local caregiver groups, and the public, who meet regularly to learn and provide mutual support. Compassion Clubs discuss issues effecting Michigan’s medical marijuana community, and promote the open exchange of ideas and information.
MMMA Compassion Clubs form when friends and neighbors come together to support, learn from, and educate each other. Some programming is provided on a regular basis to local groups by the central MMMA office. In addition, Compassion Clubs are encouraged to develop their own local programming based on local needs and resources.
The most important benefit of each meeting however comes from the empowerment members feel from the social networking and community building that is a positive side effect of these meetings. We are inclusive, color-blind, compassionate, tolerant, law-abiding people coming together to support local members of Michigan’s medical marijuana community.
Interact With Other Clubs
Compassion Clubs are also encouraged to interact with other Clubs in surrounding areas or across the state for a variety of purposes including networking, community volunteer days & festivals or to co-sponsor fundraising events. We expect club sponsors to visit other clubs to share ideas and identify common goals that clubs can rally around to raise funds of awareness.
Compassion Clubs are semi-autonomous groups, required to adhere to a few simple guidelines to be recognized by the MMMA, but flexible to structure their organization, officers, activities and meetings to suit member need.
Clubs are not required to incorporate, or to become sanctioned by the MMMA, but clubs that do take advantage of incorporation will be eligible to participate in additional MMMA revenue-sharing programs.
3MA Assists Local Sanctioned Clubs by Providing:
- Speakers ready to address clubs on a wide range of topics
- Help with community outreach and new member recruitment
- Providing clubs with news and Information to educate and stimulate member discussion
- Caregiver training and certification programs
- Help clubs identify revenue streams and fund raising opportunities
- Help clubs understand how to get publicity
- Supplies through our e-Services network*
Our Personal Views
At Denali Healthcare, we fully support original model Compassion Clubs with speakers, fund raising, and internet promotion. We do not assist or promote ‘Compassion Clubs’ that provide or sell cannabis in violation of the MMMA.