A district or region is a geographically or virtually defined unit containing a number of meetings. Districts/regions are generally limited by some type of boundaries that permit GSRs (Group Service Representatives) to meet periodically, usually once a month. This monthly meeting is called the District/Region Service Committee (DSC/RSC) and is open to all members of MA. To apply for recognition as a World Service District, click here.
All of the business of the district/region is discussed at the DSC/RSC meeting. A number of officers and committee chairpersons are elected at the DSC/RSC meeting to carry out business. Each district/region has a Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer and Chairpersons for subcommittees such as Hospitals and Institutions (H&I), Public Information (PI), Literature, Correspondence, Chips, and Events. Detailed job descriptions of each post can be found in the MA World Services (MAWS) Service Manual.
The district/region exists to serve its meetings. Services include: purchase and distribution of chips, printing and distribution of literature and meeting schedules, community outreach (through H&I panels and PI), maintenance of telephone services and written correspondence, and collection and distribution of monies to MA World Services. In addition, the district/region provides assistance to individual meetings in need of help, coordinates district/region-wide events, and helps locate speakers.
Each district/region is a part of MA as a whole. If formally recognized as a district, each district elects up to two delegates and an alternate to represent that district’s group conscience at the annual MA World Service Conference. This conference is typically held over Memorial Day weekend. It is here that most of the MAWS work is performed. After the conference, delegates report back to their districts about the activities of MAWS. Throughout the delegate’s one year term, they are the liaison between MAWS and the district. Regions are welcome to send representatives to conferences, but their representatives do not have voting privileges.
As each meeting/group is autonomous, so is each district/region except in matters that affect MA as a whole. It is essential that each district using the MAWS tax ID provide proper accounting of their finances to MAWS as outlined in the MAWS Service Manual. Failure to do so threatens MAWS’ non-profit status and therefore is harmful to MA as a whole. Regions cannot use the MAWS tax ID in their banking processes.
The District/Region Service Committee Meeting
The DSC/RSC meeting is where all the business of the district/region is discussed, all subcommittee reports are given, and all problems are addressed. The meeting is open to all MA members. There are three levels of participants at most DSC/RSC meetings: GSRs, which have been previously discussed in this Service Manual; District/Region Officers, which include the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and subcommittee Chairpersons; and individual MA members that wish to attend.
The DSC/RSC Officers are responsible for administering the general business of the district/region. Great care should be taken in selecting the people who serve in the capacity of Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer. Our trusted servants should demonstrate the ability to serve as an example to others. The DSC/RSC officers should have at least one year clean and sober time, significant District/Region Service Committee background, and a working knowledge of the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts. The suggested length of term is six months.
The Chairperson’s primary responsibility is conducting the DSC/RSC meeting. This includes preparing the agenda, rationing the time for the various reports, and keeping order. A copy of a suggested DSC/RSC Meeting Format (Chapter 15) and the short-form of “Rules of Order as adapted for Marijuana Anonymous” (Chapter 16) can be found in the MA Service Manual. Both of these documents can be of great assistance to the district/region Chairperson.
Typical responsibilities of the Chairperson:
- Make sure the meeting begins and ends on time.
- Make sure all DSC/RSC commitments are filled.
- Make sure the next DSC/RSC meeting is scheduled and all participants are aware of the time and location.
- Keep meeting format and minutes of all past DSC/RSC meetings.
The Vice Chairperson is responsible for assisting the Chairperson in conducting DSC/RSC meetings, and for conducting the meeting in the Chairperson’s absence. The Vice Chairperson can also be of assistance in helping to administer the business of the District/Region outside of the DSC/RSC meeting by assisting the subcommittee chairpersons with their responsibilities, and by informing the group secretaries of the chronic absence of their group’s GSR. This ensures that all meetings are properly represented and that the individual meetings are up to date on the business in their districts/regions.
The Treasurer’s job is to handle all the district’s/region’s money. It is therefore important that districts/regions select their Treasurer with care. The Treasurer should be someone who is financially secure, good at managing finances, and has a suggested minimum of one year clean and sober. Experience in business, bookkeeping, banking, or accounting is also helpful but not required. In administering the district/region checking account, two signatures are suggested to issue a check. This precaution protects the district/region from theft, and the Treasurer from controversy. It is also suggested that three signatures be on the bank’s signature card in the event that one person becomes unavailable for any reason.
Typical duties of the Treasurer include:
- Receive contributions from the meetings.
- Administer the district’s/region’s checking account.
- Pay the rent for the DSC/RSC meeting location.
- Reimburse approved expenses to officers and subcommittee chairpersons.
- Keep records of all transactions and promptly make out receipts whenever necessary.
- Report on the financial condition of the district/region at each meeting.
- Comply with all MAWS requirements.
- Create and organize a Budget and Finance Subcommittee with regular meetings as needed.
- A more detailed description of the Treasurer’s job can be found in the “Guidelines for District/Region Treasurer”, located in Chapter 9 of the Service Manual.
The Literature subcommittee maintains a stock of MA literature that is distributed to the meetings at the DSC/RSC meeting. This subcommittee also creates new literature to be presented to the DSC/RSC meeting participants for approval. Literature can also be submitted to the MA World Services Literature Committee for their review, and ultimately for submission to the members of the annual conference body for approval.
The Secretary’s primary responsibility is to handle all of the district’s/region’s non-financial paperwork. The most important task is to record clear and accurate minutes of each DSC/RSC meeting. Some DSC/RSCs distribute minutes to all the participants, while other districts/regions may choose to merely read the minutes of the last meeting at the beginning of each DSC/RSC meeting. It is also suggested that each secretary compile a log of all motions that have passed at all DSC/RSC meetings. These motions should be listed in chronological order under a heading for each officer, subcommittee, or other topic they affect.
Hospitals and Institutions
The Hospitals and Institutions (H&I) subcommittee conducts panels and meetings that bring MA to marijuana addicts who have no other way of hearing our message. These addicts may be located at treatment centers, recovery houses, mental health facilities, chemical dependency units, prisons, or other institutions. The amount of work an H&I subcommittee does will depend on a variety of factors, including: the number of treatment facilities in the district/region, the number of MA members interested in participating in H&I service, and the amount of collective experience of those members.
H&I responsibilities often overlap those of the Public Information (PI) subcommittee. H&I and PI can cooperate with one another, and a liaison of each subcommittee may want to attend the other subcommittee’s meetings. The H&I Handbook explains more about how to conduct panels, interact with facility administrators, and organize subcommittee work. Contact the World Services H&I Trustee for the latest Handbook version.
Considering the shared primary purpose of MA at all levels, ‘to carry its message to the marijuana addict who still suffers,’ membership in the World Services level PI/H&I Committees may prove particularly valuable for District/Region chairs of this subcommittee. While gathering, combining, and disseminating PI/H&I ideas and efforts is a primary responsibility of the MAWS PI/H&I Trustees, district/region membership on this committee may significantly enhance the productivity of that committee to the benefit of all in our efforts to honor the Fifth Tradition.
The Public Information subcommittee informs addicts and others in the community about the MA program of recovery. Many PI projects serve primarily to encourage people to write or call MA for more information about meetings. Dispersing this information can take on various forms, such as: distributing flyers, mass mailings, announcements in the self-help sections of local newspapers, and public service radio announcements, to name a few. The PI Handbook provides guidance about how to coordinate this type of service work, and can be downloaded on the Service Manual/Handbooks webpage.
The Correspondence subcommittee maintains the district/region phone line, PO Box, email account, and other communications from addicts or the community at large. It must be remembered that the first contact the outside world has with MA is often with a member of the correspondence subcommittee.
Dances, picnics, campouts, and special speaker meetings are but a few of the events put on by this subcommittee. Activities like these both provide a greater sense of belonging and camaraderie among MA members, and produce additional district/region income. It should be kept in mind that these activities are designed to enhance MA’s primary purpose of carrying the message to the marijuana addict who still suffers, and do not replace meetings. Fundraising should not take the place of meeting contributions in funding the District/Region, but rather supplement these contributions. For MAWS policy regarding events and fundraising, refer to the Service Manual.
This subcommittee usually consists of one person. The responsibility of this person is to maintain an accurate inventory of chips possessed by the district/region, as well as to distribute chips to the meetings. The Chips person must remember to order chips so that the district/region will always have a sufficient supply for its meetings.
Each district elects two Delegates and an alternate(s) whose primary responsibility is to represent the conscience of the district’s meetings to MA World Services. The Third Legacy Procedure found in the Service Manual should be used to elect Delegates. Delegates should be elected at least 90 days prior to the Conference to allow them sufficient time to become familiar with the Conference Agenda. Outgoing Delegates may serve as “service sponsors” to the incoming Delegates.
The Delegate’s primary responsibility is to serve as liaison between the District and MAWS throughout the year that begins with each Conference. This begins with Delegates attending the MAWS Conference and voting on all matters that are to be decided according to the conscience of the District’s meetings. The Delegate votes on policies affecting MA as a whole and participates in the selection of Trustees and Service Committee chairs.
Delegates participate on one or more committees at the Conference and are expected to continue such participation throughout the following year. Delegates are responsible for reporting on MAWS’s activities to the Districts throughout the year and for insuring that MAWS receives updated contact information for the DSC Chair, Treasurer, Communications and other officers so MAWS can communicate with them regarding world-level activities and issues that are within their purview.
The Delegate serves as a voting member in the MAWS nonprofit corporation and as such must meet all legal requirements as stated in the Bylaws of MAWS, including the sobriety requirements stated in Article V (see Bylaws of Marijuana Anonymous World Services a California Public Benefit Corporation). The Delegate thus participates in decisions that are necessary for carrying out the business and legal affairs of MAWS.
The Delegate has an important responsibility to report the conscience of the district for which they speak. An essential part of the service of the Delegate is to attend the MAWS Conference. The Delegate should be prepared to work in a cooperative and helpful manner over long hours and sometimes trying circumstances.
The Delegate should forever strive to place principles before personalities. They ought to listen carefully and respectfully to differing opinions and tolerate fairness of debate. The Delegate should seek to streamline and further the fair decision-making process and seek to avoid unnecessary disruption of the process of debate and decision.
The debate and decision process involving scores of Delegates meeting in a short period of time can be confusing and difficult. MA has adopted an abbreviated and modified set of rules based on Robert’s Rules of Order (see Rules of Order as Adapted for Marijuana Anonymous in Service Manual). The Delegate should read and understand these rules and be prepared to follow them.
Delegates should strive to avoid issues of personality and prestige. Our Third Legacy Procedure (see Service Manual) is designed to remove issues of politics and prestige from the process of selecting persons to serve in service positions such as Trustee or Delegate. The Delegate should seek to avoid engaging in a campaign or political process and should seek to avoid ego and disappointment concerning the Delegate’s own role in the MA service structure.
After the Conference, the Delegate returns home to report on the Conference. This is an important step in preserving the unity of MA as a whole. At least one Delegate should attend each DSC Meeting to assure that all members have an opportunity to know what is being done at the MAWS level to further the purposes of MA. The Delegate should provide a copy of the final Conference report to the district and the district should make this report available to all members. Regular communication with the meetings’ GSRs helps assure that the Delegate is speaking for the meetings. When the Delegate casts a vote at the Conference, they should have in mind that this decision must soon be explained back home. This is an essential part of the democratic process. During the year, the Delegate’s responsibilities include ensuring that their District provides an updated meeting schedule to the Office Manager of MAWS on a quarterly basis. Also, Delegates may need to be polled between MAWS Conferences in accordance with Article 9 of the Conference Charter (see Service Manual).
The Delegate should provide Trustee call minutes and MAWS financial reports to the District Service Committee on a regular basis.
The Delegate’s term of office is one year. A Delegate may serve no more than two consecutive terms. The clean and sober time to serve as a Delegate is one year. “Clean and sober” is defined as abstinence from marijuana and all mind altering substances including alcohol.
Conference Delegate Responsibilities
- Attend the MAWS Conference.
- Submit before the Conference and present a written status report on the district and its meetings.
- Vote on motions according to the conscience of the district’s meetings.
- Serve on one or more Conference Committees at the Conference and throughout the year.
- Report at District Service Committee meetings.
- Conference information.
- Minutes from Trustee meetings.
- The ongoing activities of MAWS’ committees.
- MAWS quarterly financial report.
- If the District uses the MAWS Taxpayer Identification Number, ensure that financial statements are being sent to the MAWS Treasurer in a timely fashion.
- Keep MAWS informed and up to date.
- Submit meeting schedule changes to the Office Administrator.
- Submit contact information for District officers and chairs to the Office Administrator.
- Submit Conference agenda items on behalf of a meeting and/or district by a date that is at least four months prior to a Conference.
- Act as service sponsor to successor delegates, informing them of duties and what to expect at a Conference.
For assistance with completing this form, contact the Conference Agenda Committee at [email protected].