The Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association is a patient-focused organization developing strategies and solutions to challenges in cannabis patient markets through actionable items in line with our mission of unity, collaboration and action.



A unified patient advocate voice promoting common legislative and policy interests and goals


Collaborative opportunities among patient advocates, organizations, businesses and government entities progressing common interests and goals for medical cannabis markets


Actionable items resulting in meaningful, measurable change


Executive Director

Ashley Wynn-Grimes, MS, RN-BC LSSBB, CEO & Founder, Cannabis Nursing Solutions, is a Registered Nurse of over 12 years and author of Asa’s Medicine–a children’s book centering on a pediatric medical cannabis patient. She has worked in various healthcare settings including telemetry nursing, quality improvement and professional development. Ashley is a change agent in the nursing industry through her non-traditional approach to her healthcare career most notably through the creation of Cannabis Nursing Solutions (CNS). As a trusted medical source of cannabis education, consultation and support, CNS provides patients and nursing professionals with the information they need to understand how cannabis interacts with the human body so as to provide optimum medical benefit. Ashley has taken her expertise in healthcare, professional development and process improvement to develop a standardized approach for nursing professionals. CNS’ continuing nursing education activity is approved by the American Holistic Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Through evidence, standardization and change management, Ashley plans to fundamentally alter the way healthcare providers view medical cannabis. Ashley holds a Bachelors of Science in Nursing and a Masters in Nursing Education. She also has a certification in Professional Development and is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt.

General Counsel & Founder

Rita Montoya, J.D., is an Indigenous (Opata) and Mexican mother and life-long advocate for underserved communities. Her cannabis industry efforts focus on equitable access for communities of color and Indigenous environmental stewardship. An attorney by training with a demonstrated commitment to and a career in public service, she had the privilege of standing up with and on behalf of thousands of individuals in their pursuit of justice under the United States Constitution. Her professional accomplishments include securing a non-death plea agreement for a client potentially facing the death penalty; preventing a developmentally delayed non-citizen juvenile, turning 18 years old while in jail, from being sent to federal immigration authorities; and securing Withholding of Removal under the Convention Against Torture for a client from Nigeria facing torture and death by his own government if deported by the United States. Rita received her Juris Doctorate from the American University, Washington College of Law in Washington, D.C. during which she received the American Bar Association Award of Excellence: Law School Newspaper Editorial for an article about abolishing the death penalty. She completed international legal studies at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and post-graduate legal studies in law and policy at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. As a medical cannabis patient living with chronic illness and pain for 30+ years, Rita utilizes her personal and professional experience to inform her advocacy on behalf of medical cannabis patients and advocates. Introduced to the medical, science-based benefits of plants as a student at the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine in San Francisco, California, Rita founded the Cannabis Patient Advocacy Association (CPAA) to develop strategies and solutions to challenges in the cannabis patient marketplace through actionable items. Her current work with the CPAA focuses on establishing medical cannabis access to the incarcerated and those under court supervision; ensuring all patients have access to affordable, medical quality cannabis products; and providing opportunities for Black and Indigenous People of Color in the cannabis industry as a means of reparations for enslavement, genocide and systemic racism in the United States. Rita currently provides affordable legal, business, compliance and corporate social responsibility platform services to start-up, small and family-owned businesses.