THE MEANING OF THE M.A. CONFERENCE CHARTER
The MA Conference Charter is a body of principles by which the MAWS Conference is guided. It provides for the means by which group conscience is taken, and the way in which decisions are made by MA as a whole.
The Conference Charter is not a legal instrument in the strictest sense. It is truly an informal agreement between the Society of MA as a whole and MAWS, setting forth the guidelines by which MAWS can best serve MA as a whole while maintaining MA’s Twelve Traditions.
The Conference Charter is modeled after Alcoholics Anonymous, and benefits from the experience of that organization. The Charter is an important and flexible set of principles that guide us in performing worldwide service. The Charter is nevertheless amendable to reflect new conditions and ideas.
THE CONFERENCE CHARTER OF MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS
Originally adopted at MAWS Conference, 1989
- PURPOSE: The World Service of Marijuana Anonymous is the guardian of world services and of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Marijuana Anonymous. The Conference shall be a service body only, never a government for MA.
- COMPOSITION: All members of MA are welcome. The Conference shall be composed of Trustees, Delegates, appointed or elected Marijuana Anonymous World Services committee heads and coordinators, and non-voting attendees. Trustees, Delegates and appointed or elected Marijuana Anonymous World Service committee heads and coordinators may vote. The recommended length of sobriety for Conference Members is at least one year, unless otherwise defined as longer in the Service Manual. (Sobriety is defined as abstinence from marijuana and all mind altering substances, including alcohol.)
- CONFERENCE RELATION TO M.A.: The Conference will act for MA in the perpetuation and guidance of its world services, and it will also be the vehicle by which MA can express its views upon all matters of vital MA policy and all deviations from our Traditions. Delegates, Trustees, and Service Committee Heads should be free to vote as their conscience dictates and decide what questions should be taken to the group level, for information, discussion, or their own direct instruction.
ANY CHANGE IN ARTICLE TWELVE OF THE CHARTER OR IN THE TWELVE TRADITIONS OF M.A. OR IN THE TWELVE STEPS OF M.A. MUST BE MADE WITH THE WRITTEN CONSENT OF THREE-QUARTERS OF THE M.A. GROUPS, AS DEFINED IN THE RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE OCTOBER, 1989 CONFERENCE*.
- CONFERENCE RELATION TO THE M.A.W.S. BOARD OF DIRECTORS/TRUSTEES AND ITS CORPORATE SERVICES: The Conference guides, advises, and makes policy for the MAWS Corporation and elects the Board of Trustees. The Conference will be expected to afford a reliable cross section of MA opinion for this purpose.
A QUORUM SHALL CONSIST OF TWO-THIRDS OF ALL VOTING CONFERENCE MEMBERS.
It will be understood that a two-thirds vote of Conference members voting shall be considered binding upon the Board and Corporation, provided the total vote constitutes at least a Conference quorum. But no such vote shall impair the legal rights of the Board and the service corporation to conduct routine business and make ordinary contracts relating thereto.
It will be further understood, regardless of the legal prerogatives of the Board, that a three-quarters vote of all Conference members may bring about a reorganization of the Board, the corporation, or its structure, or all other service entities including A New Leaf if and when such reorganization is deemed essential. Under such a proceeding, the Conference may request resignations, may elect new Trustees/Directors, and may make all necessary arrangements regardless of the legal prerogatives of the Board.
- COMPOSITION OF DISTRICT SERVICE COMMITTEES (DSC): District Service Committees may be composed of Group Service Representatives, District Officers, and Sub-Committee Chairs who will elect Delegates to the World Service Conference.
- PURPOSE OF D.S.C. AS IT RELATES TO M.A.W.S.: District Service Committees shall convene at least once a year for the election of Delegates to the World Service Conference.
- METHODS OF ELECTING DELEGATES TO THE WORLD SERVICE CONFERENCE: Delegates shall be elected by the Third Legacy Procedure.
- TERMS OF OFFICE FOR DELEGATES: A Delegate’s term is one year with a two term maximum of continuous service.
- THE WORLD SERVICE CONFERENCE: The Conference shall meet yearly, unless otherwise specified, at a location determined by the previous Conference. Special meetings may be called when necessary. The Conference may also render advisory opinions at any time by mail, e-mail or telephone poll in aid of the Board.
- COMPOSITION, JURISDICTION, AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS/TRUSTEES OF MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS WORLD SERVICES: The Board shall meet at the annual World Service Conference. The Board is elected by the Corporation members who are by definition the same as the voting members of the Conference.
The Board is the chief service arm of the Conference, and is essentially custodial in its character.
Except for decisions upon matters of policy, finance, or MA Traditions that may seriously affect MA as a whole, the Board has entire freedom of action in the routine conduct of the policy and business affairs of the MA World Services Corporation.
The BYLAWS of MAWS Corporation, or any amendments thereto, are subject to the approval of the Conference by a two-thirds vote. The Board will first consult the Conference on any issues likely to affect MA as a whole. The Board reserves the right to decide which of its actions or decisions may require the approval of the Conference.
- GENERAL PROCEDURES OF THE WORLD SERVICE CONFERENCE: The Conference will hear the financial and policy reports of the Board. The Conference will consult with the Trustees/Directors, officers, and staff members on all matters presented as affecting MA as a whole; engage in debate; appoint necessary committees; and pass suitable resolutions for the advice or direction of the Board and its related services.
The Conference may also discuss and recommend appropriate action regarding serious deviation from MA Traditions and harmful misuse of the name “Marijuana Anonymous”.
The Conference may draft any needed BYLAWS or amendments thereto, and will name its own officers and committees.
The Conference, at the close of each session, will draft a full report of its proceedings, to be supplied to all delegates and Conference members; also a summary thereof which will be sent to MA groups (via their Delegates).
When Conference recommendations are quoted or summarized outside the Conference minutes, the source or presenter of the recommendation shall be prominently identified.
- GENERAL WARRANTIES OF THE CONFERENCE: In all its proceedings, the World Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the M.A. TRADITIONS, taking care that the Conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference members shall ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that though the Conference may act for the service of MA, it shall never perform any acts of government; and that, like the SOCIETY OF M.A. which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.
* See attached copy of the 1989 resolution
Approved by the General Service Conference of Marijuana Anonymous October 1989.
Amended by the World Service Conference, May 1995
Amended by the World Service Conference, May 2006
RESOLUTION OF THE THIRD UNITY CONFERENCE OF MARIJUANA ANONYMOUS
We, the members of the Third General Conference of Marijuana Anonymous, here assembled at Northridge, California in October of the year 1989, declare our belief that we are willing and ready to assume full and permanent responsibility for carrying the message of spiritual recovery through Unity and Service to the marijuana addict who still suffers.
We declare that the members of Marijuana Anonymous (of Greater Los Angeles), of Marijuana Addicts Anonymous, of Marijuana Anonymous (of Greater Seattle), and of Marijuana Smokers Anonymous – our pioneering groups – have become Marijuana Anonymous and are entirely capable of assuming the guardianship of the Twelve Traditions of Marijuana Anonymous.
BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED: That the General Service Conference of Marijuana Anonymous should become, as of this date, October 15, 1989, the guardian of the Traditions of Marijuana Anonymous, the perpetuators of the world services of our Society, and the voice of the group conscience of our entire Fellowship.
AND IT IS UNDERSTOOD: That neither the Twelve Traditions of Marijuana Anonymous nor the warranties of Article XII of the Conference Charter shall ever be changed or amended by the General Service Conference except by first asking the consent of the registered MA groups of the world. (This would include all MA groups known to the general service offices around the world.) These groups shall be notified of any proposal for change and shall be allowed no less than six months for consideration thereof. And before any such Conference action can be taken, there must first be received in writing within the time allotted the consent of at least three-quarters of all those registered groups who respond to such proposal.
WE FURTHER UNDERSTAND: That, as provided in Article XII of the Conference Charter, the Conference binds itself to the Society of Marijuana Anonymous by the following means: that in all its proceedings, the General Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the MA Tradition, taking great care that the Conference never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds, plus an ample reserve, be its prudent financial principle; that none of the Conference members ever be placed in a position of unqualified authority over any of the others; that all important decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by substantial unanimity; that no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy; that though the Conference may act for the service of Marijuana Anonymous and may traditionally direct its world services, it shall never enact laws or regulations binding upon MA as a whole or upon an MA group or member thereof, nor shall it perform any acts of government; and that, like the Society of Marijuana Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.