Standing Rules

Proposed Standing Rules to be ratified at the Marijuana Anonymous World Services Conference 2024

Rule 1 – Purpose

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.

Rule 2 – 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.

Rule 3 – 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. Voting Members 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 and Service Manual Chapter 19 The MA World Service Conference.

Rule 3.1 Conference Body

The Conference Body shall be comprised of all registered Trustees, A New Leaf Publication (ANLP) representatives, Delegates, Participating Observers, Special Workers or member volunteers. Passive observers of the Conference (those watching via a livestream, etc.) shall not be considered attendees or part of the Conference Body.

Rule 4 – Voting Members

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 (“MA World Services”) Trustees, duly-elected District Delegates, and the ANLP Chairperson or another ANLP Officer. Each MA District may elect two Delegates. Each Member has only one vote, no matter how many positions they may hold. Others (including observers) are not voting members. 

Members must be sober. Sobriety is defined as abstinence from marijuana and all mind-altering substances, including alcohol.

Rule 5 – Quorum

A quorum is the minimum number of voting Members required to be present to conduct business, and is established at the beginning of the Conference by taking a count of voting Members. Two-thirds of this count shall determine the quorum.

When the Conference Agenda includes inducting a new District, then that business shall take place following the adoption of the Standing Rules and the Consent Agenda. If a new District is inducted, the quorum shall be recounted to include their Delegate(s) as voting Members. Thereafter the quorum count shall not change during the remainder of the Conference.

A count of voting Members shall be taken immediately following each scheduled break in the agenda to ensure a quorum is present. If voting Members have left and the number of votes returned on any motion matches quorum exactly, the results of that vote must be unanimous to pass. Should the number of voting Members drop below quorum, business requiring a vote can no longer be conducted.

Rule 6 – Chairperson

The MA World Services Board President shall act as the Conference Chairperson (the Chair). If absent, the Secretary shall act as the Chair. The Chair has the discretion to appoint any MA member as acting Chair.

A member who wishes to address the Conference body gets the attention of the Chair by raising a hand (electronically if the Conference is virtual), and waits to be recognized by the Chair. This is done in silence with two notable exceptions: Point of Order and Request for Information.

Rule 7 – Consent Agenda

The consent agenda contains the routine, procedural, informational, and self-explanatory items that are considered non-controversial (by the Agenda Committee) and typically found in an agenda (such as the Conference schedule, Standing Rules, approval of previous years’ minutes, and the ratification of a Convention host). The consent agenda is used to expedite voting for items on which there is often unanimous consent so that debate and explanation is unnecessary. If any individual wants debate or further discussion, there is no unanimous consent and the item is removed. Items not removed will be adopted by unanimous consent without debate. Removed items shall be taken up immediately after the consent agenda is passed,  and will be discussed using the regular standing rules.

Rule 8 – Motions

Motions are formal proposals for action, put forth at the Conference by a Standing Committee or any Conference attendee. Any motion or amendment thereto shall be presented in written form. 

Any motion moved by an individual must be seconded, as in, endorsed for discussion by another attendee. A motion is seconded when any member of the Conference Body states, “This is (name), I second the motion.” If no one seconds the proposed motion there will be no further consideration.  Motions presented by a Standing Committee inherently are proposed by more than one individual and as such do not require to be seconded.

Before the Chair “States the Question”, by repeating the motion as currently written, the motion maker and the person who seconded the motion have the right to modify the motion at will, which includes accepting “Friendly” Amendments.  The motion maker may also choose to withdraw it entirely, but no longer has the ability to do so once the Chair has stated the question. 

Immediately following Friendly Amendments, the Chair reads the motion in its current state (states the question) that is before the Conference Body for its consideration and action. Motions that have been Moved, Seconded, and Stated by the Chair now belong to the Conference Body as an Active Motion on the floor. The motion maker, the original motion author(s), the person who seconded the motion, and the Conference Body can no longer make changes without a formal motion to amend. There may be only one main motion active, or “on the floor,” at a time.

At the Chairperson’s discretion, if the text of a motion is unchanged, has been distributed to the members in advance and with sufficient time for careful reading, lengthy motions need not be read in its entirety when moved or stated by the Chair.

Rule 9 – Amendments

Amendments are subsidiary motions that modify the wording, and often the meaning, of the main motion. Amendments should say exactly where in the main motion the change is to be made, and precisely what words to use.

To streamline the Conference process, “friendly” amendments are allowed after a main motion is seconded and before the Chair states the question. “Friendly” amendments are given by someone trying to improve the motion and are typically in the spirit of the motion. Should the original motion maker and the person who seconded the motion not agree to the “friendly amendment” that is being suggested, the person proposing the “friendly” amendment can make an official motion to amend once the Chair has stated the question.

Official motions to amend are made after the Chair has stated the question and the main motion is on the floor. Amendments made and seconded are debated and voted upon (or accepted by unanimous consent) by the Conference Body before the vote on the main motion occurs.

Rule 10 – Debate

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 (motion) 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. A member may only interrupt another member who has the floor to make a Motion to Recess or Adjourn, a Request for Information, a Point of Order, or to raise a Point of Privilege. The member making a Motion, or one of the original authors of the motion, are entitled to speak first. Members who have not spoken on the issue shall be recognized ahead of those who have previously spoken. 

Debate on any main Motion, together with any amendments, shall be limited to one hour (60 minutes), unless otherwise ruled by the Chair or extended by a two-thirds vote. At the end of the sixty minutes, the Main Motion (and its subsidiary motions) shall be postponed, referred to a committee, or moved to a vote.

Debate shall begin with two (2) members in favor of and two (2) members opposed to the Motion. Each member may speak for two (2) minutes on each turn (three (3) minutes for those with English as a second language). Unless given permission by the Chair to continue, at the end of the given time limit the member will no longer have the floor. A member may speak twice to a Motion, and twice to any subsidiary motion, on the same day. If debate on the Motion is continued on another day, the member’s right to debate is renewed. The Chair has the discretion to solicit information from the Motion Maker, or any authors of the motion,  to clarify specific questions raised in the debate.

Rule 11 – Previous Question

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 to move the Previous Question must be seconded and voted on immediately. There will be no discussion about whether or not to move the previous question. However, debate on the pending Motion cannot close until at least four (4) speakers have been given the opportunity to speak, two (2) in favor, and two (2) opposed.

Rule 13 – 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 vote of two-thirds to pass.

  1. A motion to Postpone to a Certain Time is debatable, and temporarily sets the Motion aside until the designated time.
  2. A motion to Postpone Indefinitely is debatable and removes the Motion for consideration for the remainder of the Conference.
  3. A motion to Refer to a Committee is debatable and may be used to facilitate informal discussion.
  4. 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 for debate.

Rule 13 – Voting

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 not controversial, 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 is done by using Zoom Reactions. A green indicates “In Favor” ; a red ✖ indicates “Opposed” ; and a gray indicates “Abstain.” In the case of election of Trustees, a secret ballot is conducted via email. During voting, only the Chair, Meeting Manager(s), vote counter(s), and specifically designated volunteers may speak to the voting process. A Request for Information may be made only if seeking information to guide one’s vote.

Two-thirds of voting Members “In Favor” is required for passage of any action. Since MA requires a two-thirds vote for a Motion to pass, to “Abstain” is the equivalent of an “Opposed” vote.

Rule 14 – Point of Order

If a member notices a breach of the rules of order that may do harm if ignored, the member gets the Chair’s attention by calling out, “Point of Order.” Without waiting for recognition, the member immediately addresses the rule violation. The Chair then rules on the Point of Order, briefly giving reasons (if needed, with guidance from the Parliamentarian). No second is necessary, and no vote is taken.

Rule 15 – Request for Information

A voting Member may, at any point, get the Chair’s attention by calling out, “Request for Information.” No second is necessary and no vote is taken, as this is not related to parliamentary procedure. The Request for Information must be stated as a question and be vital such that not addressing the question would impede the Member’s ability to vote on the Motion. The Chair may rule a Request for Information out of order at their discretion. Request for Information is not used for the requestor to give information to the Conference Body but rather to gain information in order to cast a vote. 

Rule 16 – Parliamentary Authority

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (or the concise guide Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised in Brief) shall govern the Conference in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with the Bylaws of MA World Services and these Standing Rules. Robert’s Rules will be used during the Conference at the discretion of the Chairperson and the Parliamentarian.

Rule 17 – Election of Trustees using the Third Legacy Procedure

Trustees, also referred to as Directors, are elected using the ‘Third Legacy Procedure” to one (1) two year term, and are eligible for election to serve two (2) additional consecutive one year terms. No Trustee may serve more than four (4) years consecutively. Alternate Trustees, also referred to as Alternate Directors, are elected to a one-year term, as described below.

To qualify to serve as a Trustee or an Alternate, a member must have a minimum of two (2) years of continuous sobriety. Sobriety is defined as abstinence from marijuana and all mind-altering substances, including alcohol. A Trustee’s name may be placed on public records in the State of California, and therefore, Trustees and Alternates must be prepared to accept that their name may be revealed publicly.

A member must be present at the Conference to be elected Trustee. All qualified Conference attendees shall be eligible to be elected as Trustees or Alternates, 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) Election Procedure

    1. 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. Names listed must be at least one (1) character different to differentiate between the eligible candidates.
    2. Candidates may strike their name from the list at any time.
    3. Before the first round of voting begins, each Candidate may provide a brief summary of their service history such as; serving as a sponsor; service at the levels of meeting, district, and World Services including service sponsorship; and any relevant career qualifications such as having nonprofit management experience, being an attorney or CPA, and/or having bookkeeping or accounting experience. (Note: Not having a lengthy service resume does not preclude an eligible candidate for selection to the Board). Depending on the Conference schedule, and at the discretion of the Chairperson, this summary may be provided in writing and shared in a document that will be available to the Conference Body.
    4. Each candidate will introduce themselves to the Conference Body for the purpose of associating names with faces.
    5. To vote, each voting Member selects names, exactly as listed, of their chosen candidates, from the current eligibility list, on a secret ballot.
    6. For each round of voting, voting Members must select the exact number of names as there are positions to be filled (i.e., if there are three Trustee positions available, Members must select the names of three candidates on their ballot). As positions are filled, the number of names required on each ballot will change.
    7. Errors made by voting Members regarding item numbers 5 or 6 above shall require that the vote be discarded, and a new vote taken.

b) Voting Process

    1. The first vote: Any candidate receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. Note that this vote may result in no one being elected.
    2. The second vote (if required): Any candidate receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. If all available positions are not filled, ‘automatic withdrawals’ begin. Generally, the names of candidates receiving one-fifth or fewer of the votes are removed from the eligibility list.
      • The number of candidates remaining on the list must be one (1) more than the number of positions still available. To satisfy this requirement, there may be cases where candidates who did not receive one-fifth of the votes remain on the list.
    3. The third vote (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 are removed from the eligibility list.
      • The number of candidates remaining must be one (1) more than the number of positions still available. To satisfy this requirement, there may be cases where candidates who did not receive one-third of the votes remain on the list.
    4. A fourth vote (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.
      • The number of candidates remaining must be one (1) more than the number of positions still available. To satisfy this requirement, there may be cases where candidates who did not receive one-third of votes remain on the list. At this point, the Chair entertains a motion to:

a.) stop balloting and draw remaining names from the hat; or

b.) conduct a fifth and final vote.

* If 4a.) above carries, the remaining names go into a hat and positions are filled in the order that the names are drawn.

**If 4b.) carries, a FINAL VOTE is taken. Any person receiving two-thirds or more of the votes is elected. If no election is made, remaining names go into the hat and positions are filled in the order that the names are drawn.

c.) Designation of “official” Alternate Trustees and “Alternate Waitlist”

The number of Alternate Directors to be designated as “official” Alternate Directors, for logistics purposes, such as receiving email accounts and attending the monthly Board of Trustees meetings, shall be determined by that year’s Conference Body. The remaining Alternates (all other remaining candidates not chosen as Trustees by the Third Legacy) will be designated as being on an “Alternate Waitlist”. The Alternate Waitlist shall be listed in the reverse order that the remaining candidates were removed (e.g., the last candidate removed before all available Positions on the Board of Trustees were filled, would be the “First Alternate-in-Waiting”, and so on, so that the final name on the “Alternate Waitlist” is the first Candidate removed by the Third Legacy Procedure.)

“Alternates-in-Waiting” will only be called upon as official Alternate Directors in the event one or more of the official Alternates are called to serve as Trustee(s) due to a vacancy on the Board of Trustees.

For a visual aid visit: mawsconference.org/the-third-legacy

If you have any questions regarding the Third Legacy Procedure contact the Policies and Procedures Trustee: [email protected]

Rule 19 – Standing Committees

All registered attendees are required to participate in one or more Committees, except for the MA World Services President who is an ex-officio member of all Committees. Members are expected to continue their Committee participation throughout the following year. Trustees act as Chair for their specific committee at the annual Conference, or appoint a suitable chairperson, and oversee the committee’s responsibilities throughout the following year.