The service structure of Marijuana Anonymous is described as an inverted pyramid featuring three levels. The meeting/group occupies the broad base at the top of the pyramid. The middle level represents the district. The tip, or smallest, portion of the pyramid consists of Marijuana Anonymous World Services (MAWS).
Since the pyramid is inverted, the meeting/group is the largest and most vital part of the fellowship. Without meetings, there would be no need for the district or for MAWS. This point cannot be stressed enough; the district and MAWS exist to serve the meeting/group, which is essentially made up of individual marijuana addicts. The degree of communication and cooperation between all levels of the service structure determines the survival of Marijuana Anonymous.
The meeting or group is the primary structure in MA. A meeting or group consists of two or more marijuana addicts who meet on a regular basis. Groups are fully self-supporting, and remain so by passing the basket each time they meet. The funds necessary to sustain each meeting are contributed from the members of that meeting, and not from outside sources. This collection of monies is commonly referred to as "the seventh tradition", since it fulfills that Tradition. Meetings have no outside affiliations and no opinions on outside issues. Each meeting/group reads the MA Preamble and the MA version of "How It Works". Each meeting is autonomous; however, compliance with each of the Twelve Traditions is vital for all meetings.
A "group conscience" is basically a vote which reflects the consensus of the group on any matter brought before the group. Through an informed group conscience, the meeting/group elects a General Service Representative (GSR). The GSR is the link between the meeting/group and district levels of the inverted pyramid. The job of the GSR is to represent the group conscience to the district, reporting the group's wishes and ideas. The GSR also brings news of district and MAWS activities back to the group. GSRs may later serve on District Committees to help their district.
A district is a geographical unit containing a number of groups. Districts are generally limited by geographic boundaries that permit GSRs to meet periodically, usually once a month. This monthly meeting is called the District Service Committee (DSC) and is open to all members of MA.
All of the business of the district is discussed at the DSC meeting. A number of district officers and committee chairpersons are elected at the DSC meeting to carry out district business. Each district 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 MAWS Service Manual.
The district exists to serve its groups. District 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 MAWS. In addition, the district provides assistance to individual groups in need of help, coordinates district-wide events, and helps locate speakers.
Each district is a part of MA as a whole. Every year, each district elects two delegates and an alternate to represent that district's group conscience to World Services at the annual MAWS World Service Conference. This conference is held over Memorial Day weekend. It is here than most of the MAWS work is performed. After the conference, the delegates report back to their districts about the activities of MAWS. Throughout the delegate's one year term, he/she is the liaison between MAWS and the district.
As each meeting/group is autonomous, so is each district except in matter that affect MA as a whole. It is essential that each district provide proper accounting of their finances to MAWS as outlines in the MAWS Service Manual. Failure to do so threatens MAWS' non-profit status and therefore is harmful to MA as a whole.
Marijuana Anonymous World Services is a corporation formed to carry out the necessary business and legal affairs of Marijuana Anonymous. Trustees are the officers of MAWS, the "trusted servants" of the members of MA. Currently, there are nine trustees. Traditionally, each trustee is assigned to a particular post (President, Secretary, Treasurer, H&I, PI, Literature, etc.).
Along with the delegates, the trustees attend the MAWS World Service Conference each year. At the conference, committees Are formed to discuss issues that have arisen in the districts over the course of the year. Areas covered usually include: Finance, Literature, Policies and Procedures, Hospitals & Institutions, and Public Information. Each delegate and trustee serves on a committee. Committees make recommendations which are voted on by the delegates and trustees in a general assembly. This is how policy changes are made in MA.
Trustees also meet via conference calls or online meetings several times during the year. They monitor and coordinate the progress of MA service work which is being performed throughout the fellowship. Trustees also make interim business decisions that cannot wait until the next conference.
MAWS currently employs two paid "special workers", an accountant and an office manager. The accountant keeps track of MAWS' financial situation and does the taxes annually, which is an enormous job, considering that ever dollar that goes into every basket at every meeting needs to be accounted for.
The office manager's duties change and evolve according to need. These duties have included: maintaining the MA world-wide web site; handling all correspondence (by telephone, email, and regular mail); sending out starter kits to those interested in starter meetings; monitoring and updating the International Directory; ordering chips for meetings and districts; updating and distributing the Service Manual; taking and distributing minutes from the annual conference; and acting as a liaison between World Services and the fellowship-at-large.
Goal of the Service Structure: Fulfilling our Primary Purpose
The GSRs, delegates, trustees, and committee members at all levels of the inverted pyramid are trusted servants. They do not govern. Each individual serves at the direction and desire of the membership, with only a loving God as the ultimate authority.
It is vital to the unity of MA that information and service effort flow smoothly between the three levels of the service structure. Our unity is critical to our personal recovery, as stated in the First Tradition. Any service position at any level should be accepted with the desire to serve the fellowship. The MAWS Service Manual is an invaluable tool for all MA members in service positions, and it is suggested that each meeting obtain a copy of it.
The inverted pyramid is the model for the service structure of MA. World Services serves the district, and the district serves the meeting/group. The goal at each level of the pyramid is the same: to fulfill MA's primary purpose, as stated in the Fifth Tradition, by carrying the message of recovery from marijuana addiction to the marijuana addict who still suffers.