FOR ME, MAPS feels as if it is in the chrysalis stage of organizational development, the transformative time between caterpiller and butterfly, when the caterpiller is reconstituted into a butterfly. MAPS is carefully undergoing a similar transformation this year, to prepare for the next stage of our mission to develop psychedelics and marijuana into legal prescription medicines.
To begin with, MAPS is undergoing a management review, conducted by Jerry Hauser and Rebecca Epstein of The Management Center (TMC). TMC works exclusively for Peter Lewis, a philanthropist who has been a major supporter of MAPS, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and numerous other non-profit organizations. According to TMC, Peter “saw too many talented, committed leaders of progressive organizations struggling to manage effectively. TMC’s mission, therefore, is to help progressive organizations achieve great results more easily; our strategy is to do this by providing management assistance and coaching.” Fully funded by Peter, TMC provides its services at no cost. As part of the preparation for the management review process, MAPS is refining its multi-year projected budgets in addition to articulating more clearly its goals, strategies and performance measures. MAPS has hired a new bookkeeper/accountant to improve the sophistication and clarity of our financial systems. MAPS is also extensively redesigning our membership database and donation systems, in a process directed by volunteers Mark Nelson and Seth Hollub. MAPS will soon have an online database with direct links to our Web Store and automatic credit card processing for donations and merchandise orders. These new systems will create a platform for membership growth that can be managed with existing staff.
MAPS is also enhancing our governance structures. MAPS has added Shawn Hailey as a fourth member of the Board of Directors (the other three being John Gilmore, Marybeth Home and myself). Shawn and his twin brother created a successful company (primarily focused on the development of software tools for the manufacture and design of computer chips) that experienced remarkable growth over almost two decades before they took it public. In addition to guiding MAPS in the management of our internal, organizational growth, Shawn is also leading a project to estimate when MAPS will reach a “point of sustainability” whereby income from product sales (of future prescription drugs) and from therapeutic services (from MAPS-run psychedelic psychotherapy clinics) would be sufficient to cover operational, research and educational expenses, without the need for supplemental donations.
Another aspect of MAPS’ transformation and growth is that the chances of initiating a drug development effort with medical marijuana has reached a new level of possibility. On May 15, DEA Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner formally submitted her recommendation to DEA that it approve Professor Lyle Craker’s application for a Schedule 1 license to grow research-grade marijuana under contract to MAPS. On May 23, MAPS held a press conference on the sidewalk in front of DEA headquarters to inform the public that it is now up to DEA to decide whether to accept or reject the Judge’s non-binding ruling. We’ve initiated a new Congressional sign-on letter campaign and need all MAPS members and friends to contact their Representatives to urge them to sign Rep. John Olver’s (D-MA) and Dana Rohrabacher’s (R-CA) Congressional Sign-on Letter in support of Prof. Craker’s application (see page 9).
MAPS has also reached a new level of social acceptability, as evidenced by the April 19 article in Time magazine in which MAPS is presented in a favorable light (see insert).
The prior support of MAPS members has enabled us to reach this chrysalis stage. Your continued support will enable MAPS to grow into a more capable and efficient organization in our 21st year.