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 outlined in the MAWS Service Manual. Failure to do so threatens MAWS' non-profit status and therefore is harmful to MA as a whole.
The District Service Committee Meeting
The District Service Committee Meeting is where all the business of the district is discussed, all subcommittee reports are given, and all group problems are addressed. The meeting is open to all MA members. There are three levels of participants at most District Service Committee Meetings: GSRs, which have been previously discussed in this Service Manual; District Officers, which include the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and subcommittee Chairpersons; and individual MA members that wish to attend.
The District Officers are responsible for administering the general business of the district. 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 district officers should have at least one year clean and sober time, significant District Service Committee background, and a working knowledge of the Steps, Traditions, and Concepts. The suggested length of term is one year.
- Vice Chairperson
- Hospitals and Institutions
- Public Information
The Chairperson's primary responsibility is conducting the District Service Committee Meeting. This includes preparing the agenda, rationing the time for the various reports, and keeping order. A copy of a suggested District Service Committee Meeting Format (Chapter 15) and the short-form of "Rules of Order as adapted for Marijuana Anonymous" (Chapter 16) can be found in this manual. Both of these documents can be of great assistance to the district Chairperson.
Typical responsibilities of the Chairperson include:
- Make sure the meeting begins and ends on time.
- Make sure all District Service Committee commitments are filled.
- Make sure the next District Service Committee Meeting is scheduled and all participants are aware of the time and location.
- Keep meeting format and minutes of all past District Service Committee Meetings.
The Vice Chairperson is responsible for assisting the Chairperson in conducting the District Service Committee 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 outside of the District Service Committee 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 groups are up to date on the business in their districts.
The Treasurer's job is to handle all the district's money. It is therefore important that the districts 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 checking account, two signatures are suggested to issue a check. This precaution protects the district from theft, and the Treasurer from controversy. It is also suggested that three signatures be on the signature card in the event that one person becomes unavailable for any reason.
Typical duties of the Treasurer include:
- Receive contributions from the groups.
- Administer the district's checking account.
- Pay the rent for the District Service Committee 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 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 Treasurer", located in Chapter 9 of the Service Manual.
The Literature subcommittee maintains a stock of MA literature that is distributed to the groups at the District Service Committee Meeting. The literature subcommittee also creates new literature to be presented to the District Service Committee Meeting participants for approval. The literature can also be submitted to the literature committee of MAWS for their review, and ultimately for submission to the members of MAWS for approval.
The Secretary's primary responsibility is to handle all of the district's non-financial paperwork. The most important task is to record clear and accurate minutes of each District Service Committee Meeting. Some District Service Committees distribute copies of the minutes to all the participants, while other districts may choose to merely read the minutes of the last meeting at the beginning of each District Service Committee Meeting. It is also suggested that each secretary compile a log of all motions that have passed at all District Service Committee Meetings. These motions should be listed in chronological order under a heading for each officer, subcommittee, or other topic they affect.
The Hospitals and Institutions subcommittee conducts panels and meetings that carry the MA message 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 a Hospital and Institutions subcommittee does will depend on a variety of factors, including: the number of treatment facilities in the district, 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 subcommittee. H&I and PI should closely cooperate with one another, and a liaison of each subcommittee should attend the other subcommittee's meetings. The H&I manual explains more about how to conduct panels, interact with facility administrators, and organize subcommittee work. This manual can be found in Chapter 18.
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 Public Information/Hospitals and Institutions committee may prove particularly valuable for District chairs of this subcommittee. While gathering, combining and disseminating PI/HI ideas and efforts is a primary responsibility of the MAWS PI/HI Trustee, district membership on this committee may significantly enhance the productivity and efficacy 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 manual can be found in Chapter 11.
The Correspondence subcommittee maintains the district phone lines and P.O. Box by responding to communications from other 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 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. Fund raising should not take the place of group contributions in funding the District, but rather supplement these contributions. For MAWS policy regarding events and fund-raising, see Chapter 13.
This subcommittee usually consists of one person. The responsibility of this person is to maintain an accurate inventory of chips possessed by the district, as well as to distribute chips to the groups. The Chips person must remember to order chips so that the district 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 groups to MA World Services. The Third Legacy Procedure (Chapter 20) 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 attend the MAWS Conference and vote on all matters that are to be decided according to the conscience of the district's groups. The Delegate votes on policies affecting MA as a whole, and participates in the selection of Trustees and Service Committee chairs. The Delegate also serves as a voting member in the nonprofit corporation, MAWS, Inc., and as such must meet all legal requirements as stated in the Bylaws of MAWS, Inc., including the sobriety requirements stated in Article V (Chapter 28, p 82). The Delegate thus participates in decisions that are necessary for carrying out the business and legal affairs of MA.
The Delegate has an important responsibility to report the conscience of the groups for which he or she speaks. An essential part of the service of the Delegate is to attend the MAWS World 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. He or she 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 (Chapter 16). 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 (Chapter 20) procedure 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 groups' GSRs helps assure that the Delegate is speaking for the groups.
When the Delegate casts a vote at the Conference, he or she 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 and serving as the Convention liaison between their district and the host district(s). Also, Delegates may need to be polled between MAWS Conferences in accordance with Article 9 of the Conference Charter (Chapter 26).
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 suggested 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
- Report the group's and district's conscience to MAWS in setting the Conference agenda by a date that is 90 days prior to the Conference and at the Conference.
- Voting member at MAWS Conference.
- Present report on status of their district and meetings at the Conference.
- Report Conference information to meetings and district at DSC meetings.
- Report minutes from quarterly trustee meetings at DSC meetings.
- Report quarterly MAWS financial statement at DSC meetings.
- Liaison for district to annual Convention.
- Inform MAWS Office Manager of meeting changes.
- Find persons in districts to answer #800 line when it is their district's turn.
- Be available to be polled during the year.
- Be service sponsor to next year's delegates informing them of their duties and what to expect at the conference.
- Be liaison between MAWS Treasurer and District Treasurer