The first time I went to Olympia was in November, to speak up against the fleecing of our medical cannabis laws. That was the first time I saw Kari Boiter. She was busy rushing to meetings and greeting patients she knew. She was speaking to committees on behalf of safe access for patients and protection for providers.
A few weeks ago I saw Kari on Lobby Days with many advocates I already knew, working on a project called, "Health Before Happy Hour". She greeted me with a friendly smile and then rushed off to another meeting.
Last week I was able to sit with her and talk. Kari empowered me to speak again to the Legislature about my needs as a patient. She offered to help me get meetings with key lawmakers I had been trying to get meetings with. She listened when I told her my thoughts and views, and that was important because I feel like she is the first person that has really cared enough to ask and then listen. She told me that my needs are important, and that the things I feel are valid, and then she helped me collect my thoughts enough to be able to speak them effectively to the lawmakers.
Yesterday I spoke to the Legislature, and I think I did okay. When I think of activism, I think of Kari Boiter. Kari empowered me to become part of the process.
"I really feel that the state of the medical cannabis community is hanging in the balance right now. We need some diplomatic messengers,to take our message to the lawmakers and make sure they are doing this correctly. That does involve diplomacy. That involves finding the most effective way of being heard. What I am trying to do is create a space where lawmakers want to listen to us. They are hearing us. They are not just listening to us and hearing us, they are taking those considerations into account in the bills they are passing. If we continue to say to them that we disagree with them, and do not explain why we disagree and what we want changed,providing solutions for them not just critism, I really feel it will be difficult for them to understand and craft laws that protect patients.
What I am trying to do is make sure that they not only understand that we oppose the laws they are proposing to combine medical with recreational use, but also give them a blueprint of what an effective law would look like. What would be better for the patient, and what regulations we will accept and need. We do recognize in fact that the medical cannabis laws as it stands right now is not what the voters intended, it is not what the lawmakers intended, it is not what the patients intended. I am here to work with lawmakers to get something better in the law. "
Kari Boiter worked as a Legislative Assistant to the Chair Of Health and Human Services Appropriations Mary Lou Dickerson 2010-2013
Working with Mary Lou Dickerson on first State Level Legislation to legalize Cannabis. House Bill 1550
Advocate For Richard Flor and Chris Williams
White House Petition to reduce sentence for Chris Williams
Organized Journey For Justice
Received Award for Medical Cannabis Advocate of the Year 2013 , from Americans for Safe Access