On February 11th, 2012, the Patient Care Association with California Assemblymember Tom Ammiano and the United Food Commercial Workers Association (UFCW) held the first ever medical marijuana hospitality suite at a California State Democratic Convention. Besides Assemblymember Ammiano and his staff, the suite hosts included board members from the Patient Care Association (the association of medical marijuana collectives and cooperatives in San Diego), the Cannabis Education Project, the local and regional heads of UFCW (German Ramirez and John Getz), and the international director of the UFCW medical marijuana division Dan Rush. New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) also participated in the suite, with their director, Gretchen Bergman, on hand for the events. Acclaimed San Diego “Artivists” Mario Torero, Maya Ramirez Schwarz, True Delorenzo, Patricia Maldonado, Pablo Acevedo, Marisol De Las Casas and Monica Cuyto Flores also participated with their art show, “The Tragedy of the Drug War”.
The room also included a visual timeline of the history of marijuana politics in California and a screening of “Medicinal Cannabis and its Impact on Human Health”. There were also displays on local and state ballot initiatives to regulate medical marijuana, as well as information on the Patient Care Association.
Wine was provided for the guests, as well as popcorn for the movie screening. DJ Drdiggs provided the soundtrack for the evening, a blend of mellow cumbia, samba, and Latino fusion.
The Medical Marijuana Suite was held in the Sapphire Ballroom area of the Hilton Bayfront, the location of the 2012 California Democratic Convention. The Medical Marijuana Hospitality Suite started at 10pm, following the official dinner convention dinner with Al Franken that occurred just feet away from the suite.
The suite proved to be extremely popular. Delegates from all over California dropped by to learn more about medical marijuana and out of curiosity about the suite. Guests included delegates from Butte County, Humbolt County, and the Bay Area, as well as representatives from the Los Angeles area, the UC Santa Cruz Democratic Club, and many other delegates from around the state.
A number of local San Diego County Democratic Central Committee members stopped in, as well as the director of the San Diego County Democratic Party, Ryan Hurd, and lavished praise on the suite. “It was excellent,” exclaimed San Diego delegate, Jessica Hayes, “very educational and very entertaining!” Even California House Assembly Speaker, John Perez, made an appearance.
Representative of campaign to end human trafficking, Kath Rogers, one of the many visitors to the suite said, “This was by far the most well done, and well attended, hospitality suite of the convention.” Mike Copass, current chair the local chapter of the Progressive Democrats for America, also praised the suite, stating, “In a very short amount of time, the Patient Care Association and the Cannabis Education Project, have come a long ways in changing the perception of medical marijuana, and educating the public, and this hospitality suite is another excellent step in this campaign.”