Director of Advocacy
After retiring from a successful administrative career in the energy sector, Maria now directs her energy towards giving back. Whether it's advocacy in Tallahassee, activism at council meetings or philanthropy with our many partners, Maria keeps her focus on the patients of Florida. She has been a very important asset to the medical community and strives for excellence in all that she does.
In the hot summer of 2017, there was published a Bill named SB-8A. Upon local governments it thrust a contentious choice...ban medical cannabis dispensaries in locations under their jurisdiction or allow any fully licensed MMTC to open a dispensary wherever pharmacies are allowed.
This set off a firestorm of misinformation about the state of the medical cannabis program in Florida. With “Reefer Madness” rearing its head again, anxious politicians rebuked the mandate from Tallahassee by banning dispensaries...to the detriment of the 71% of their constituents and the patients of their towns. Seeing the urgent need to combat the choking off of patient access, CannaWarriors from across the State rallied to meet the local legislators and provide good information and factual stories of the healing cannabis can bring. These efforts were rewarded with several large counties, including Orange County, voting to allow dispensary access for their citizens. The struggle continues, as not all local governments have decided this issue further delaying the process. Maria is committed to doing her part to see that the rights of the people are not consumed by our governmental machine. Engaging the issue now at the State level in Tallahassee, Maria has joined forces with notable Florida influencers such as Jodi James with FL Cannabis Action Network and Gary Stein with CFL NORML. There are many issues that need to be addressed in our Sunshine State’s medical cannabis program. As part of this passionate community, the Director promises to deliver accurate and transparent information to the people and politicians alike.
SMRT Collective are family members of active duty and retired Veterans. In order to support the members of our military, we put veterans issues at the forefront of our philanthropy efforts. Our Sunshine State veterans organizations Mission Zero, Weed for Warriors Project, and Buds for Vets are our partners. The highlight of our philanthropy mission is the annual Civilian Support Operation, which raises awareness of the egregious $75 card fee that is a hurdle for many patients. In its inaugural year the CSO provided the card fees for 1 member of each of these organizations. 2018 will see the expansion of the CSO with the exciting announcement leading up to veterans day. Maria is proud to direct support to these veteran organizations individual missions such as… Mission Zero’s fight to end veteran suicide, last year's Weed for Warriors Project Irma and Puerto Rico restoration efforts, and Buds for Vets effort to raise awareness for veteran and physician interaction.
No less important on the Director’s heart include We Are Rare...raising awareness for schizencephaly and the groundbreaking work being done by Rady Children's Institute for Genomic Medicine. Maria is always willing to support a homegrown cause. From helping to fund advocacy and activism such as Dispensary Ban Warriors Unite!, Gary Stein’s Your CannaFight Tonight, and the SMRT Science segment of The Marijuana Solution podcast.
Maria is always willing to support a homegrown cause. From helping to fund advocacy and activism such as Dispensary Ban Warriors Unite!, Gary Stein’s Your CannaFight Tonight, and the SMRT Science segment of The Marijuana Solution podcast.
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