Step-by-Step Guide 1: A city or county in your region is considering an ordinance
Before the hearing…
- Find out as many pertinent details as possible. When and where will the meeting be held? How does the public comment section of the meeting work? What body will be discussing the ordinance (ie city council, planning commission, etc.)? Who is proposing the ordinance? Why?
- Call or email Sonnet at the ASA office – (510) 251-1856 or firstname.lastname@example.org – and give her all the details you know. Sonnet will send out an alert to our local email lists.
- Send lobbying packets by email or fax to the body that is considering the ordinance. If time permits, follow up with phone calls.
- Contact patients and advocates in the area. Ask them to join you at the meeting to speak out in favor of reasonable regulations for dispensing collectives. Confirm that at least five to ten patients will be able to testify, and designate one or two people as the media spokes people. Tell them how to identify you when they arrive at the meeting.
- Dispensary regulations can be complicated and it’s important to know what you can win politically and what is important to fight for. So, be sure to contact ASA to discuss strategy around such issues as proximity limitations to schools, on-site consumption, arbitrary caps on the number of facilities, and the extent of law enforcement involvement.
At the hearing…
- Print out several copies of the ASA talking points about dispensing ordinances and distribute them to patients and advocates at the hearing. Remind everyone to be respectful and to thank the council for considering this complex issue. Remember that most local government officials know little about medical marijuana and need to be educated.
- Submit the ASA lobbying packet into public record when you speak.
- If media is present, make sure they speak with the media spokes people.
After the hearing…
- Contact Sonnet to tell her what happened.
- Make follow up calls to the officials involved, thanking and offering further assistance to the council members. Often, cities and counties will have several hearings on medical cannabis dispensaries before passing an ordinance. Make sure they know that you and the ASA staff are willing and qualified to assist with this process. Also, remind them to look at the sample ordinance in the ASA ASA lobbying packet.
- If further lobbying is needed, please download the ABCs of Citizen Advocacy for guidance.