Saturday, October 4, 2014

Grassroots Lobbying Webinar for Medical Cannabis Advocates: Part II

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Special thanks to Jennifer Bevan- Dangel for providing us with such useful information.

Lobby Like a Pro 2:
The Outside Game
Jennifer Bevan-Dangel
Common Cause Maryland

•This week’s goals:
•How to build the outside campaign
•Press strategies and when to use them
•Coalitions, grassroots, and other support
•Tips and tricks

Strategy vs Tactics

•Tactics: the elements that make up a campaign
•Strategy: the most efficient way to your goal
•Unless you have unlimited time and resources, strategy is key
•Stategies/tactics must all work together
•Takes a leap of faith; set your strategy and
keep to it
•Re-evaluate if the landscape changes
•Strategy is driven by your targets
•You can have multiple targets; may require
multiple strategies
•Strategy and targets can evolve over a
multi-year campaign

Ask yourself…
•What is your objective?
•Who is your target?
•What is needed to move your target?
•Who else will be a critical target?  What motivates them?
•How do you most effectively put
those pieces in place?
•Who will try to block reform and how do you
counter them?
•Who will help you and how do you maximize their support?
•Where is the press on this now and how hard will it be to get them engaged?
•Is there an easier target or an easier way to get things done?
•Taking an hour to brainstorm will save countless hours later!

Types of Strategies
•Inside game
•Target is easy to move, just needs smart lobbying
•Grasstops pressure
•Use key people, ie other elected officials, coalition partners, major donors to
move your target
•“Hero” opportunity
•Positive press coverage and minimal grassroots outreach can move your target
•Inverse is the threat of negative press
•Grassroots pressure
•Apply direct pressure from the grassroots through petitions, action alerts,
call-ins, etc
•Full-court press
•Building a movement from scratch; press, grassroots, grasstops, and lobbying

Elements of a Strategy
•Is your target blocking change? The hero to save you? A potential leader? The
•Create a message box, keep consistent throughout a campaign.
•Know your real objectives
•Don’t let your immediate objective – ie passing a bill – creates a strategy
that could undermine your ultimate objective – ie getting a regulatory system
that will work in real life
•Make sure you have the real target
•Is there a “man behind the curtain” blocking reform?
•Know who your key partners will be and work together
•Ideally you can all be on the same page with strategy
•If you can’t agree at least stay coordinated; good cop/bad cop
•If partners would be toxic, communicate but keep arm’s length

Draft Strategy
•Objective: Pass Bill 999, to allow medical marijuana in MD
•Target: Committee Chair Carter-Conway
•Secondary Target: Senate President Miller, swing votes on committee
•Strategy: Create a hero moment for Conway, other Senators
•Tone: “you can be a leader”, “our kids will thank you”
•Health industry, big pharma
•Nurses, recreational marijuana advocates, parents groups
•Build coalition of health groups
•Parent lobby night
•Press outreach, goal: editorial in Sun
•Report on how pharma is trying to block these advances
• petition

•Maryland ranks worst in the nation when it comes to the compactness of our
congressional districts.  Four of our eight districts are among the most
gerrymandered in the country.
•Maryland’s current plan has been called “comically gerrymandered”.  Critics
have called the map “highly partisan and racially charged”.
•Elected officials cannot adequately represent constituents when the district
slices through counties, communities, and neighborhoods.
•Gerrymandered districts create situations where all votes are not equal, and
they undermine confidence in the democratic process.

Maryland must take the politics out of redistricting and create a fair and
equitable process for drawing the lines.
•There are different models for drawing district maps in a fair and equitable
manner such as citizen, independent, or non-partisan commissions. 
•We need to study the types of reforms that have been enacted in other states
and determine what will work best in Maryland.
•The final process that Maryland adopts must ensure that minority communities
have a seat – and a voice – at the table.
Voters should chose their elected officials – elected officials should not chose
their voters.
•An independent process allows for greater transparency and public participation
when drawing district lines.
•Minority communities have a greater ability to ensure adequate representation
that will listen to their concerns.
•Elected officials can get to know their communities and fairly and adequately
represent all the neighborhoods in their districts.


We must act now to get a new process in place before the lines are drawn again
in 2022.
•Maryland draws new congressional and legislative districts every ten years, to
update the maps for population changes.
•If we establish a commission to study different processes now, we can have a
new process in place by 2022 when the maps will be drawn again.

Maryland’s congressional districts are drawn for politics – not people. 

Build a team
•Steering committee:
•Should meet regularly, must agree on strategy and tone, should have sense of
time commitment from each group/person and their specific strengths
•This layer drives the train. They are dictating tactics and keeping the effort
moving forward.
•Coalition members:
•Should meet often enough to stay informed and engaged. Should understand the
tone and the general structure of the campaign. Know their level of engagement
and helpful relationships.
•This layer should have specific deliverables, steering committee holds them
accountable to perform.
•Must agree with the objective of the campaign. Willing to put their name to the
effort. Should be asked to do more (ie call legislators or circulate petition)
but don’t expect it to always happen.

Do you want them on your team?
•Some groups are worth spending time to cultivate, get engaged.
•Other groups should not be at the table or should be kept at arms’ length.
•Your coalition should reflect your strategy.
•Scenario: advocates for legalization of marijuana want to help your bill. How
do you include them?
•Are they respected? Are they strategic? Do they have good/bad relationships?
•Will they change the tone or message of the campaign?
•Will they respect your goals and strategies?
•Do you work well with their leadership – mutual trust and respect?

•Opinion coverage
•Letters to the Editor: 100-200 words; anyone local to the paper can submit.
Tend to relate to a story in the paper.
•Op-eds: 250-500 words. You can draft and place; or cultivate VIPs to place
them. Should have a theme or unique perspective.
•Editorials: Written by the paper editorial board. Tend to be related to
timely/relevant topics. You can cultivate by meeting with the editorial board.
•Earned media
•Press conference: actual event, press is invited. Advisory out in advance to
notify, release out immediately before/after for them to quote. Can also do
webinars, conference calls.
•Release: get out information, quotes, recent research or reports, etc. Draft
the release so the press can use it as written.

Tips for Talking with Press
•What are reporters looking for?
•Something different today than yesterday.
•Surprising, unexpected, counterintuitive. The first, biggest, most
•Raises new issues, problems, solutions – contains tension.
•Linked to what’s already in the news.
•Intriguing to your neighbor.
•Compelling human stories.
•Prepare your message
•Know your message before you speak to a reporter. Stick to your message and you
will feel more in control of the interview.
•Use concise, clear language to convey your message. Avoid jargon, acronyms.
•Keep it to no more than three points.
•Talking with reporters
•When a reporter calls, ask questions first. Be cautious without being
•Don’t say “no comment.” If a reporter asks you about something you don’t want
to talk about, simply say: “I’d rather not talk about that, but I’d like to tell
you about this.” And then return to the main message you want people to know.
•Be candid and honest – never tell a reporter something untrue. If you don’t
know the answer to a question, tell the reporter you will try to find out or
refer him/her to another good source if possible.
•Don’t argue with reporters. Don’t be defensive.
•Nothing is off the record.
•Be sensitive to reporters’ tight deadlines. Call back promptly.

Press tips
•Paid media
•Advertising space in local or online papers; radio ads
•Don’t forget blogs and political bloggers.
•Use Twitter to reach reporters.
•Re-tweet their articles and tag them in your tweets.
•Know the reporters that cover your issue
•Have a quick list of folks to call when a story breaks
•Occasionally give a key reporter a scoop on a good story
•Get to know them as people; grab a coffee or lunch
•Be a resource
•Thank reporters after a good article, thank editors after a good editorial
•Make sure your target sees your press hits!

•What type of person will care about your issue + take action?
•Where do you find them?
•How do you get them engaged and keep them engaged?

•Have the materials in place to quickly connect
•Website, fact sheets, petition and/or postcards, contact info for legislators
•Have a system for collecting names
•Have the system in place before the names!
•Go where they are
•Table at festivals, ask to speak to groups, get partners to circulate
•Use social media to connect
•Promoting posts pays
•Be strategic! You can’t be everywhere; focus on people who can influence your

•Facebook, Twitter = must have
•Tumblr, Linked In, Instagram – ‘nice to have’
•Use consistent hashtags
•Legislators are using social media; almost all are on facebook, most are on
twitter.  Organize a coordinated moment of action where the target’s twitter
page gets inundated with tweets on the issue.
•Wordpress is cheap, easy to use but just gives a website platform
•Integrated tools with targeted email systems can be worthwhile. Nationbuilder,
GoDaddy both good tools
•Web domains are pretty cheap, worth buying related names
• or for petition sites
•Use Word templates for quick, snazzy fact sheets
• growing in popularity
•Get business cards from Staples and print your own.
•Include website, facebook, and twitter on EVERYTHING

Building the pressure
•Use different types of grassroots contacts:
•Mass email        1 person
•Personalized email    2-3 people
•Real letter        5-10 people
•Phone call        20 people
•In-person visit    50 people
•Fake it till you make it
•Literature drops in and around your target’s neighborhood
•Grassroots outreach to people your target will run into
•Gathering names in front of target’s favorite grocery store
•Getting someone the target knows well can do more than getting 500 people off
the street

•Town hall or forums
•Brings new people in, gets existing people more engaged. Can invite target to
speak, puts pressure on them to commit to action. Can generate press coverage.
•Tele-town hall; done through conference call. Cost associated with this
•Volunteer activities:
•Grassroots canvass; go door-to-door.
•Phone banking; there are services that let you do patch-through calls to
legislators offices.
•Working fairs, festivals, other events.
•Train leaders to give presentations and speak to groups. Have a power-point
they can use.
•House parties to engage new people, get petitions signed.
•‘Flashy’ events:
•Fun run or walk; sit-ins; circle the state house; picnic or party; etc
•Be creative!

Tricky Tricks
•Think through how the tactics interplay with each other
•A big grassroots petition drive could be press worthy if done in a unique or
clever way
•Always ask for money
•You can always spend money so don’t hesitate to ask for it!
•You can ask a non-profit to be your fiscal agent to collect and spend tax
deductible donations.
•You don’t need an official organization to be a ‘coalition’
•Give yourself a flashy name and always make yourself seem bigger than you are
•Don’t be afraid of the limelight…
•Your story is powerful and you are the best advocate
•… but don’t forget to share it.
•Reporters like to have different sources so line up other speakers

Resources -training-links/ ou-dont-want-to-miss

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Medical Cannabis Advocates Urge AG Holder to Remove Plant from Schedule 1 Before Leaving Office

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Eric Holder has recently announced that he is resigning his position as Attorney General. Around that time the Justice Department leader told Katie Couric,
"I think it's certainly a question we need to ask ourselves, whether or not marijuana is as serious of a drug as heroin, especially given what we've seen recently with regard to heroin -- the progression of people from using opioids to heroin use, the spread and the destruction that heroin has perpetrated all around our country. And to see by contrast, what the impact is of marijuana use. Now it can be destructive if used in certain ways, but the question of whether or not they should be in the same category is something that we need to ask ourselves and use science as the basis for making that determination."

The Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis invites all advocates to call and write the Attorney General's office on September 30th 2014 asking him to remove cannabis from Schedule 1 before he leaves office.

Please leave a message on the comment line 202-353-1555 AND send an email with attn: Atty. Gen. Holder in the subject line to

To track the progress of this effort join our event page on Facebook.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lobbying Training Webinar for Medical Cannabis Advocates, Part II

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Part two of the Lobby Like A Pro training webinar will take place on Tuesday, September 23rd from 8:00-9:30 p.m. Jennifer Bevan-Dangel of Common Cause will share general lobbying guidance such as communication tools, strategies, and background about governments and how they work. Don't miss this great opportunity to learn effective strategies for engaging your elected officials.

For details on how to register please visit the event page.

If you missed part one notes from that session are stored on Google Drive.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Why a Chemist Mom Turned Medical Cannabis Advocate

Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis co-founder, Gena Dalton of Alabama, was recently featured on the front page of The Huntsville Times.

Gena's daughter, Charlotte, who was eventually diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, had her first status seizure at seven months old. It lasted thirty minutes. One month later, in March of 2013, the infant had another status seizure, this time for forty-five minutes.

The local hospital had no sense of urgency. Sometimes babies have seizures, Dalton was told, as Charlotte was sent home with an appointment for the following month. Not having it, Gena quickly got her baby into LeBonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis for extensive testing.  "Mid-May I get a call from a neurologist at LeBonheur: Charlotte had a sodium channel deletion (Dravet Syndrome). He told me whatever I do, don't read the internet. Of course, the first thing I do is read the internet."

Gena found an article in the Colorado Gazette about a little girl, also named Charlotte, who has Dravet Syndrome and experienced dramatic seizure reduction on cannabis oil. Though the medical details reminded Dalton of her own Charlotte, this straight-laced mother and chemist assumed it was just pro-marijuana propaganda. "Wouldn't researchers and the government already have a handle in this to help thousands of suffering children? Wouldn't something this simple already be considered?"

For Gena, what follows has the feel of destiny. "By late summer 2013 I went through a period of hard depression and grief. I never watch TV. Ever. But for some odd reason, in late August I turned it on. As fate would have it, CNN's documentary WEED aired that night." That's when she knew this was real.

Dalton was thrilled the help her daughter needed existed but heartbroken that it was inaccessible. Illegal even. Nevertheless, she was now a mom on a mission. Gena wrote dozens of letters to politicians sharing Charlotte's story and asking for help. The negative replies were piling up when one legislator, Mike Ball, asked for more information.

While Gena and her mother set about shoring up Mike Ball's support, police officer dad Dustin Chandler was forging a coalition across the state. "I went on a stalking mission to find Dustin. I knew if we worked together we would accomplish more together than separately."

Gena, Dustin, and other Alabama parents were crucial to the passage of Carly's Law, legislation that allows the University of Alabama to conduct a CBD oil trial for epilepsy, but their victory was hard won. "We were told, 'Can't you guys just wait until next year when we don't have to worry about reelection?' NO!, we said. Our children might not be alive next year." After many media appearances and trips to the state house in Montgomery, Carly's Law passed. Unanimously.

As fate would have it, Gena's work was far from over. "You know, everything has a place and a reason, though we may not be able to see it at the time. Back in March, my family, shoot, the entire state, was ecstatic." However, Gena's joy quickly transmuted to guilt and grief when the CBD bill in nearby Georgia failed to pass due to partisan politics.

"I literally cried when I found out Georgia's HB 885 had failed.", said Gena. "We live in America. How could one state support initiatives to help sick children and another a few miles away did not? I thought about the children in Georgia going without and the families feeling desperate and hopeless. It hurt my soul. I called Dustin nearly in tears saying, 'We have to do something!'. He put me in touch with Corey Lowe in Georgia and BAM!, you guys were born.", Dalton told fellow Parents Coalition members on our leadership organizing page. "Had HB 885 passed, we wouldn't be here on this thread tonight."

Parents across the country who, like Gena, helped pass medical cannabis legislation in home states hit roadblocks accessing these laws for their children due to federal restrictions. The Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis advocates the removal of cannabis from Schedule 1 so research can happen in the United States and patients can have safe access. To join our efforts contact us at cbdoilky@gmail com or visit our Facebook page.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Lobby Like a Pro Training Notes for Medical Cannabis Advocates

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If you missed part 1 of Gail Rand's citizen lobbyist training with Jennifer Bevan-Dangel of Common Cause Maryland never fear. The training notes are available here in Google Drive format. Don't miss this opportunity to learn effective citizen lobbying skills from a seasoned advocate. This segment includes general lobbying approaches not specific to medical cannabis, but useful to our efforts nevertheless.

Remember Part 2 of this training is September 23rd 2014 at 8:00 p.m. To sign up visit the event page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Citizen Lobbyist Training Webinars for Medical Cannabis Advocates

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Join Gail Rand of Maryland and Jennifer Bevan-Dangel of Common Cause will host online lobbying training webinars for parents and other advocates. Part I is scheduled for tonight, September 9th 2014 at 8:00 p.m. Though not specific to medical cannabis, this segment will cover basic citizen lobbying approaches essential to anyone advocating a cause.

Part II of this series, entitled Help for Parents with State Laws to Lobby Like a Pro, is scheduled for September 23rd 2014 at 8:00 p.m.

To pre-register for part I please visit the event page and click the Go to Meeting link.

To pre-register for part II please visit that event page and click the Go to Meeting link as well.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Parents Coalition Endorses the Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act (HR 5226)

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The Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis endorses the Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act (H.R. 5226) of 2014, which removes therapeutic hemp from the Controlled Substances Act.

This legislation resolves legal ambiguity, allowing the production of therapeutic hemp in the United States. This would increase supply, improving access and affordability.

While the Parents Coalition recommends all cannabis be rescheduled for medicinal purpose, H.R. 5226 would allow immediate access to therapeutic hemp for many with serious health conditions.

Where state laws permit, this bill would allow patients to cross state lines with their treatment, enabling families who moved across country for CBD oil to return home without risking prosecution.

Since the Parents Coalition represents families from across the country that helped pass legislation in home states, and some still trying, we understand laws change slowly and that progress is a gradual process. Though limited, this legislation is an important first step for improving access and quality of life. Our work continues until all cannabis strains are removed from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, so medical research flourishes in the United States and patients have compassionate access.

About the Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis

We are parents of children with epilepsy, autism, and other serious conditions potentially treatable by therapeutic hemp and medical cannabis. Many of us helped legalize strains in home states only to have our children's access stymied by federal restrictions. In 2014 we joined forces nationally, urging the federal government to remove hemp and cannabis from its list of banned Schedule 1 substances. Rescheduling or other reclassification of these plants would foster patient access and hasten medical research.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Help From Parents on How to Change Medical Cannabis Laws in Your State

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On Wednesday, August 13, 2014 from 8:00 - 9:00 p.m eastern time Shannon Moore of Maryland will host a Google Hangout training session for those planning to change medical cannabis laws in their states. Parents who have helped pass legislation will discuss what worked and what they wish they had done differently. Featured are Gail Rand of Maryland, Annette Maughan and Jennifer May of Utah, Stephen Carlin of North Carolina, Maria La France of Iowa and Gena Dalton of Alabama. To listen in connect though Google or You Tube. Also, visit the Facebook event page here

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Medical Cannabis Parent Advocates Participate in Rare Disease In-District Lobbying Days

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Rare Disease Legislative Advocates is hosting In-District Legislative Lobby Days from August 4th - September 5th 2014. The organization raises awareness about the unique needs of those living with rare disorders and seeks legislation on their behalf.

Many children of parents advocating for medical cannabis suffer from rare diseases such as Lennox Gestaut Syndrome, Dravet Syndrome, and other debilitating conditions. Those parents are participating in RDLA's Rare Disease In-District Lobby Days to raise awareness about these rare disorders and to inform legislators that some of these conditions are treatable by medical cannabis.

Shelley Gillen of Nebraska, whose son has Lennox Gestaut Syndrome, is a lead organizer with the Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis. "As a result of registering with RDLA I almost immediately had appointments with my state's two senators and my district congress person.", said Gillen. "Also, RDLA was very accommodating about working around my schedule so I don't have to miss work. I tried in the past to set up appointments with my senators and legislator, but was discouraged and unsuccessful due to what seemed like inflexible scheduling on their part."

To participate in Rare Disease Legislative Advocates In-District Lobby Days visit their Facebook event page or the website. For tips on how to prepare for your meeting visit the RDLA's resources page.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Google Hangout: Parents Helping Parents Change Medical Cannabis Laws

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Wednesday, July 30th at 8:00 p.m. eastern time, parents who helped pass medical cannabis or CBD laws are sponsoring a Google Hangout to mentor others planning legislative action in their own states next session.

The Hangout is facilitated by Shannon Moore of Maryland. "We passed our law in Maryland this past April. We worked very hard and learned a lot about successful organizing strategies.", said Moore. "I want to help our friends in other states pass laws that will help their kids. And, I want to bring medical cannabis refugees home to their loved ones. A number of us who have worked to pass state laws are going to share strategies that worked for us. Our hope is to see all kids have access who need it and to give parents the tools they need to be successful citizen lobbyists."

Featured speakers include Annette Maughan and Jennifer May of Utah, Maria La France of Iowa, Gena Dalton of Alabama, and Jill Swing of South Carolina.

For details on how to watch the Hangout visit the Facebook event page , follow the direct Google + link, or watch on YouTube.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Medical Cannabis Refugees Invite Obama To A Day In The Life

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Last month the Obama Administration announced that the President will be doing a series of "A-Day-In-The-Life" visits with average Americans throughout the country. The Parents Coalition to Reschedule Medical Cannabis has begun a letter writing campaign to The President on behalf of families seeking medical cannabis treatments for sick children or adults. Those who have had to move from home states for treatment elsewhere or those living in prohibitive states and unable to move are invited to submit their stories to The Coalition in WORD format at

The letters will be bundled and submitted to the White House after July 7th. The campaign is being coordinated by Kristi Baggarly, a lead Coalition organizer from Georgia.
"I found out about President Obama's tour through the White House email updates", said Baggarly. "This email caught my eye for some reason and, while I think the campaign is driven by his desire to learn more about the economic hardships of Americans, I thought that he should also hear about the struggle of families who are literally fighting for their children's lives.  This fight often leads to the financial distress that many Americans experience, and the economic downturn certainly has not helped. I realize that this may not be something that is on his radar, but I believe in the power of our team and that we can help bring some awareness to our national leaders.  We all have done what many considered the impossible at the state level, and there is no doubt in my mind that working together, we can bring this kind of change across the country!"
Annie Galloway moved her family from Vermont to Colorado so her epileptic daughter could obtain Charlotte's Web, a non-psychoactive cannabis/hemp oil high in cannabidiol, to treat her seizures. From Galloway's letter:

"I chose to leave our family, friends, my work and her Care Team to see if this treatment would offer her a better life.  She has suffered with Intractable Epilepsy for almost 5 years.  Since being here we have met a wonderful group of families who are like ours, we have joined together to support one another as we try this new life changing therapy.  I hope that you will visit our home so that you can learn more about what it is like to live with such a serious medical condition and what it is like to be trying to give my daughter a better chance at life with the controversial treatment of Cannabis.".
Thousands of American families live this reality right now. If yours is one of them The President needs to hear your story. To find out more visit The Coalition's event page from this effort here.
Further Reading:
Editor's Note:
The Parents Coalition to Reschedule Medical Cannabis recently expanded its presence from being a southern regional group to a collection of national advocates. Our Facebook page is still listed under our former name, Southeast Coalition for Medical Cannabis Research, but that will soon change.

Parents Barrage Attorney General Holder With Postcards Urging Rescheduling of Cannabis

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A national postcard mail in campaign to Attorney General Eric Holder will go live the morning of July 1st 2014. The timing is specific so the cards arrive on the same date in a flurry of pleas for the rescheduling of medical cannabis. Post Cards for a Cause is inspired and coordinated by Pennsylvania parent medical cannabis activist, Dana Nadzam Ulrich.
"Postcards are the easiest and cheapest way to get our message to those who can make this change.", said Ulrich. "That being said, postcards will also allow your messages to be seen all along their route to their destinations. Many hands and eyes will fall upon your cards as they travel from all corners of the country."
And spread the message they will. Post cards depict sick children sharing the message of their unnecessary suffering. Many parents have ordered hundreds, even thousands to pass out to friends and relatives for the mass mailing. Even if it is too late for you to order yours from Vista Print you could still print a picture of yourself or your child, or a ribbon from your condition on card stock and pass them out to family and friends to be mailed on the first. Here is a small sample of some of the cards going out Tuesday. To see a more visit Post Cards for a Cause.

In Memory of Sabina Rose.

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Who could deny this epileptic baby his right to this treatment?

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Or this epileptic angel?

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Who would deny this beautiful young woman her best
chance to live?

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Or this sweet girl.

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Who would deny this boy a world less assaulting to his senses?

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Who wouldn't do everything possible to protect her access?

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Or do everything in his power to save these children?

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Who wouldn't bend over backwards and sideways to give him a
better quality of life?

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She deserves better.

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And, so does she.

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What is their quality of life?

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Our his?

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What would you do Mr. Holder, Mrs. Burwell, President Obama if these were your children?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Special Needs Parents Group Urges HHS Secretary Burwell to Reschedule Cannabis

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Parents Coalition to Reschedule Medical Cannabis has begun a letter writing campaign urging the new Health and Human Services Secretary, Sylvia Burwell, to reschedule medical cannabis. Mrs. Burwell was sworn into office on June 9th to replace outgoing Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The effort is being spearheaded by Jill Swing of South Carolina, a lead Coalition organizer. She decided to take this on after reading the federal Controlled Substances Act and learning that the HHS Secretary has the power to recommend rescheduling any drug on the list.
"Sub-chapter I-Control and Enforcement, Part B Section 811:.Rules of the Attorney  General under this subsection may be initiated by the Attorney General (1) on his own    motion, (2) at the request of the Health and Human Services Secretary or (3) by petition of any interested party." 
"Up until that point all the focus was on the Attorney General concerning rescheduling, but now I learned there was another person who could make that happen.", said Swing. "What I hope to accomplish is that by sharing our stories, we will reach her on a personal level (she has two young children) and encourage her to request that Attorney General Eric Holder reschedule. Also, under her Agency there is something called the 'Guidance to Procedures for the Provision of Marijuana for Medical Research' which is an additional review for any non NIH-funded protocols. Marijuana in the ONLY Schedule I substance that has to undergo such scrutiny in order to allow research to be done. So, in addition to asking her to reschedule, we will be asking her do away with this policy, to make marijuana more accessible for research."

The Parents Coalition to Reschedule Medical Cannabis invites anyone who wants to write a letter to join this campaign. Interested persons can join the Facebook event Letter to Secretary of HHS, Sylvia Matthews Burwell. The page includes the Secretary's address for the header and more details about the campaign. Send a one page letter in WORD format detailing yours or your child's struggle and how medical cannabis has or might help to Jill by July 6th at Pictures welcome. All letters will be bundled together and sent on July 7th. The Coalition also invites state legislators who have passed medical cannabis laws to write letters detailing the barriers Schedule I status for cannabis creates to patient access in their states.

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