At the Conference each year, the Standing Rules are reviewed and taken to a vote.
View the proposed Standing Rules for the 2022 Conference
The following were voted and affirmed at the Marijuana Anonymous World Services Conference 2015
The Conference is the guardian of the Traditions of Marijuana Anonymous (MA), the perpetuators of the world services of our Society, and the voice of the group conscience of our entire Fellowship.
General Warranties of the Conference
In all its proceedings, the World Service Conference shall observe the spirit of the MA 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 Marijuana Anonymous which it serves, the Conference itself will always remain democratic in thought and action.
Conference Relation to MA
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 the General Warranties of the Conference (see Rule 2 above), The Twelve Traditions of MA, or The Twelve Steps of MA must be made with the written consent of three-quarters of the MA groups, as defined in the resolution adopted by the October, 1989 Conference.
The Conference shall be open to all members of the Society and special workers. The voting members of the Conference (Members) are the Marijuana Anonymous World Services (MAWS) Trustees, duly-elected Marijuana Anonymous (MA) Delegates and appointed or elected MAWS committee heads and coordinators in attendance. This includes the ANLP Chairperson or another ANLP Executive Director. Each MA District may elect two Delegates. Each Member has only one vote, no matter how many positions they may hold.
Members must be sober. Sobriety is defined as abstinence from marijuana and all mind altering substances, including alcohol.
A quorum shall consist of two-thirds of the Members registered to attend the Conference.
A Chairperson, often referred to as the Chair, presides over the meeting. The MAWS President shall act as the Conference Chairperson. If absent, the Secretary shall act as the Conference Chairperson. Otherwise, any Member may be nominated and elected by a majority vote to act as Conference Chairperson.
A Member who wishes to address the Conference body gets the attention of the Chair by raising a hand, and waits until called upon. This is done in silence with two notable exceptions: “Point of Order” and “Point of Information” (see below).
A consent agenda may be presented by the Chair. Items may be removed from the consent agenda on the request of any one Member. Items not removed may be adopted by general consent without debate. Removed items shall be taken up immediately after the consent agenda.
Motions are formal proposals for action. A motion must be offered by a Member or Standing Committee. Unless offered by a Standing Committee, a motion must be seconded, that is, endorsed for discussion by another Member who calls out “second!” If there is no second, the motion is not put before the group.
If desired by the Chair or any other Member, any main motion, or amendment thereto, shall be reduced to writing, delivered to the Chair and stated before it shall be debated. Until the Chair states the question, the maker has the right to modify the motion at will or to withdraw it entirely. There may be only one main motion active, or “on the floor,” at a time.
Stating the Question
When a motion has been moved, and seconded as required, the Chair, unless he rules it out of order, immediately states the exact question that is before the Conference body for its consideration and action. Motions that have been moved, seconded as required, and stated by the Chair are no longer the property of the maker, but of the Conference body. Therefore, the original maker no longer has the sole right to withdraw or change the motion.
If the text of a motion has been distributed to the Members in advance and with sufficient time for careful reading, the motion need not be read in its entirety when moved or stated by the Chair.
Amendments are subsidiary motions that modify the wording, and often the meaning, of the main motion. Amendments made and seconded are debated and voted upon (or accepted by unanimous consent) by the Conference body before the vote for the main motion occurs. Amendments should say exactly where in the main motion the change is to be made, and precisely what words to use. The Conference body must adopt any amendment either by a vote or by unanimous consent in order to attach it to the main motion. This is true whether or not the amendment is endorsed by the maker of the main motion.
No motion shall be debated until seconded, as required, and stated by the Chair. Debate is the discussion on the merits of a pending question to determine if the issue should be adopted or not. Debate shall be managed by the Chair in an impartial manner. Members may participate in debate only when they are recognized by the Chair. Debate may be interrupted, e.g. a Member may interrupt another Member who has the floor to make a motion to Recess or Adjourn, to raise a Point of Privilege, a Point of Information, or a Point of Order. The Member making a motion is entitled to speak first; Members who have not spoken on the issue shall be recognized ahead of those who have previously spoken.
A Member may speak twice to a motion, and twice to any subsidiary motion, on the same day, but the Member may take their second turn only after everyone who wishes to speak for the first time has spoken. If debate on the motion is continued on another day, the Member’s right to debate is renewed. Each Member may speak for five (5) minutes on each turn.
Unless extended by a two-thirds vote, debate on any main motion, together with any amendments, shall be limited to forty-five (45) minutes.
When recognized by the Chair, a Member may offer a motion to close debate and require a vote on the pending motion. The proper wording is, “I move the Previous Question.” A motion for Previous Question must be seconded, is not debatable, and may be adopted by an immediate two-thirds vote or by unanimous consent.
Postponement of Motions
The following methods of postponing pending motions are subsidiary motions that require proper recognition by the Chair, must be seconded and require a simple majority vote.
- A motion to Postpone to a Certain Time is debatable, and temporarily sets the motion aside until the designated time.
- A motion to Postpone Indefinitely is debatable and, in effect, “kills” the motion.
- A motion to Refer to a Committee is debatable and may be used to facilitate informal discussion.
- A motion to Lay on the Table is not debatable, and sets the motion aside in order to take up something else of immediate urgency. The original motion remains set aside until a member moves to bring it back up.
When the Chair determines that the Conference body is ready to vote, the Chair again states the exact question that is before the Conference body.
Unanimous Consent—If it appears to the Chair that a motion or amendment is uncontroversial, it is proper for the Chair to ask if there is “any objection” to adopting the motion or amendment. If no objection is made, the Chair declares the motion or amendment adopted. If even one Member objects, however, the motion or amendment is subject to debate and vote.
Votes—Voting may be by voice, by a show of hands, by rising, or in the case of Election of Trustees, by ballot. If a quorum is present, the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Members present is required for passage of an original main motion or amendment thereto.
A Member who “abstains” is choosing not to cast a vote. The effect of abstaining is to make it incrementally more difficult for a motion to pass; a Member may instead choose to leave the room before a vote is taken.
Point of Order
Upon noticing a breach of order that may do harm if allowed to pass, a Member gets the Chair’s attention by calling out, “Point of Order.” Without waiting for recognition, the Member immediately addresses the rules violation. The Chair then rules on the point of order, briefly giving reasons. No second is necessary and no vote is taken.
Point of Information
A Member may, at any point, get the Chair’s attention by calling out, “Point of Information.” The Member then inquires as to facts relevant to the business before the body, but not related to parliamentary procedure. It is not used to give information; instead, one must wait to be recognized and make the informative point as part of debate. No second is necessary and no vote is taken.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Conference in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the Society and these standing rules.
Members desirous of a concise guide to the rules are directed to the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief (emphasis added). This practical handbook will be used at the Conference as needed.
Election of Trustees and Alternate Trustees
Trustees, also referred to as Directors, are elected using the Third Legacy Procedure to one two-year term with an option for two additional one-year terms. No Trustee may serve more than a four-year consecutive maximum. Two Alternate Trustees, also referred to as Alternate Directors, are elected to one-year terms as described below.
Trustees and Alternate Trustees must have a minimum of two years sobriety, which means abstinence from marijuana and all mind-altering substances including alcohol. A Trustee’s name may be placed on public records of MAWS and therefore Trustees and Alternate Trustees must be prepared to accept that his or her name may be revealed publicly.
A member must be present at the Conference to be elected. All qualified Conference attendees shall be eligible to be elected as Trustees or Alternate Trustees, subject to their right to withdraw their names from consideration, and provided they have substantially attended the Conference at which they are being considered. A quorum must be present, and two-thirds of the voting members present are needed to elect a Trustee.
- At the opening general session of the Conference, the names of all persons who meet the Trustee requirements are placed on an eligibility list, subject to view by all Members for the duration of the Conference.
- Candidates may strike their name from the list at any time.
- To vote, each voting Member writes the names of their chosen candidates (from the current eligibility list) on a secret ballot.
- For each round of voting, voters must write the exact number of names as there are positions to be filled (i.e., if there are three Trustee positions available, Members must write the names of three candidates on their ballot). As positions are filled, the number of names required on each ballot will change.
- Errors made by voters regarding item numbers 3 or 4 above shall require that the vote be discarded, and a new vote taken.
- The final two candidates eliminated by these procedures will serve as Alternate Trustees. The person with the most votes will serve as the first Alternate; the other will be the second Alternate.
b) Voting Process
- The first vote is taken. Any candidate receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. Note that this vote may result in no one being elected.
- A second vote is taken (if required). Any candidate receiving two-thirds or more votes is elected. If all available positions are not filled, “automatic withdrawals” begin. The names of candidates receiving one-fifth or fewer of the votes are removed from the eligibility list. However, the number of candidates remaining on the list must not be less than the number of positions still available plus one (to satisfy this requirement, candidates receiving the most votes are not automatically withdrawn; there may be cases where candidates who did not receive one-fifth of the votes remain on the list).
- A third vote is taken (if required). Any candidate receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. If all available positions are not filled, the names of candidates receiving one-third or fewer of the votes of the votes are removed from the eligibility list. However, the number of candidates remaining must not be less than the number of positions still available plus one (candidates who received the most votes are retained to satisfy this requirement; there may be cases where the candidates who did not receive one-third of the votes remain on the list).
- A fourth vote is taken (if required). Any candidate receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. If, at this point, positions remain unfilled, the names of candidates receiving one-third or fewer of the votes are removed from the eligibility list. However, the number of candidates remaining must not be less than the number of positions still available plus one (to satisfy this requirement, candidates receiving the most votes are not automatically withdrawn; there may be cases where candidates who did not receive one-third of the votes remain on the list). The Chairperson then entertains a motion to:
- Stop balloting and draw remaining names from a hat. Positions are filled in the order that the names are drawn; or
- Conduct a fifth and final vote. Any person receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. If positions remain unfilled, remaining names go into a hat, and positions are filled in the order that the names are drawn.
All Members are assigned to a Committee, except for the MAWS President who is an ex-officio member of all Committees. Members are expected to continue their Committee participation throughout the following year. The Committees and their responsibilities are:
a) Literature Committee
The Literature Committee is responsible for drafting and recommending for approval all of Marijuana Anonymous’ literature and media. Good quality literature is one of the most important service responsibilities of MA. The Literature Committee must obtain and approve a proof prior to publication. New Conference Approved Literature and media should be forwarded to A New Leaf Publications in a timely manner. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for Literature or appointee.
b) Finance Committee
The Finance Committee is charged with the responsibility of organizing the financial affairs of Marijuana Anonymous World Services. The committee drafts an annual budget and recommends other financial priorities for MAWS. The Committee also supervises the work during the year of the MAWS Treasurer and the office staff. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for the Treasurer job or appointee.
c) Policies and Procedures Committee
The Policies and Procedures Committee is responsible for issues concerning the structure and organization of Marijuana Anonymous World Service. The Policies and Procedures Committee debates and recommends changes in the structure of MA. The committee also considers the relationship between MA, MAWS, and the legal rights and obligations imposed by the communities in which MA exists. The Policies and Procedures Committee is also responsible for the Service Manual, and all other documents which affect the organization and structure of Marijuana Anonymous. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for Policies and Procedures or appointee.
d) Hospitals and Institutions Committee
The H&I Committee is responsible for setting forth guidelines to districts on service at hospitals and institutions. This includes review of the H&I Handbook, related pamphlets and literature, helping districts establish H&I committees and more effectively carry the message of MA to the marijuana addict who is confined, in treatment, or has no other way of hearing our message. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for Hospitals and Institutions or appointee.
e) Public Information Committee
The PI Committee is charged with setting forth the guidelines to the districts on organizing and maintaining MA’s outreach to the general community. The function of this committee includes creating and recommending for approval: Public Information manual, public service announcements and guidelines to be used by district PI committees as well as the MAWS office manager when communicating with the public at-large. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for Public Information or appointee.
f) Conferences and Conventions Committee
The Conferences and Conventions Committee acts as liaison between previous, present and future host district conference and convention teams to facilitate communications, information sharing and collaboration. The Committee works closely with other responsible committees to distribute information (e.g. mawsconference.org), develop an information repository and related tasks such as online registration, budget development, and district support. The Committee bears primary responsibility for developing and implementing remote conference attendance and voting, a project which was authorized at the 2013 Conference. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for Conferences and Conventions or appointee.
g) Internet Committee
The Internet Committee’s responsibility is to serve all of MAWS’ Internet-related functions and to investigate and develop ways to carry the message of recovery to marijuana addicts worldwide. The Committee is chaired by the Trustee responsible for Internet or appointee.
h) Outreach Committee
The Outreach Committee supports the primary purpose of carrying the message of recovery to marijuana addicts by facilitating correspondence with meetings and districts throughout the world. The committee will continue to facilitate international growth and connection through communication. The function of this committee includes investigating and developing ways to carry the message of recovery to marijuana addicts worldwide and to ensure that meetings and districts are aware of the support made available by MAWS. The Committee is Chaired by the Trustee responsible for Outreach or appointee.
During the 2015 Conference, the Hospitals and Institutions Committee and the Public Information Committee will convene together with shared membership.