Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Sep 142014

Blogger Andrew Sullivan speaks out - Americans for Safe Access

Andrew Sullivan and Don DuncanPioneering blogger, journalist, and author Andrew Sullivan was the keynote speaker at the International Cannabis Business Conference in Portland, OR, this weekend. His presence might seem surprising, but the issue of cannabis and medical cannabis dovetails with his peculiar brand of left/right hybrid politics. More importantly, his participation represents an important evolution in the field of medical cannabis. Our movement is stronger when visible support for safe and legal access to medicine expands outside our traditional filed of allies.

Pictured: Andrew Sullivan and me

Mr. Sullivan’s voice is firmly established in the mainstream. He was the Editor of the New Republic, one of the nation’s oldest and venerable voices in politics. He is also one of the most widely read and recognized political bloggers. His blog The Dish is influential in the liberal and conservative blogosphere alike. Mr. Sullivan  also writes for prestigious national media, including Time Magazine and The Atlanti Monthly, and has authored or edited six books. 

Sep 092014

Is Medical Marijuana the Solution for ALS? - Americans for Safe Access

Ice_Bucket_Meme.jpgThe ice bucket challenge has raised a huge amount of awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) -- popularly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.  With the help of celebrities, politicians and thousands of participants from across the country, the ALS Association raised $94.3 million dollars for research.  However, as awareness burgeons, many remain unaware of the significant benefits that medical marijuana has in treating ALS. 

The endocannabinoid system helps us to “Eat, sleep, relax, forget, and protect.” This article is about how the endocannabinoid system can be stimulated to “protect” motor-neurons, the nerves (brain-type cells) that control body movement (Abood 2001).

Lou Gehrig’s disease (or ALS, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a fatal disease that affects degrades the neurons in the body that control movement. The hallmarks of ALS is a rapid progression of weakness and paralysis, death occurs within 3-5 years in most cases, and brain function remains intact (Rowland 2001) . The exact causes or pathogenesis of ALS is poorly understood, and while the pharmaceutical industry has made treatment options available, none of these treatments prevent disease progression and death. 

Sep 082014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: September 8, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Let's talk
  • State & Local News: National, state, and local news from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Cable TV, online, and Riverside
  • Court Support: Pasadena, Yuba City, and more
  • Take Action Now: Join ASA’s New California Discussion List and more
  • ASA Website Spotlight: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2015
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Diego, Sacramento, Nevada County, Yuba County

I want to invite you to join a new email discussion list ASA is launching to help facilitate conversations about medical cannabis issues in California. The ASA California Campaign for Safe Access (ASA-CCSA) mailing list will be a primary contact point for patients, advocates, and others to share ideas and constructive debate on state legislation, local ordinances, initiatives, and court cases. 

https://groups.google.com/a/safeaccessnow.org/forum/#!forum/asa-ccsa

Sep 052014

Vote Medical Marijuana this November - Americans for Safe Access

It is less than two months until the 2014 elections. Do you know where the candidates stand on medical cannabis? It matters. Lawmakers at the local, state, and federal level are going to make important decisions about medical cannabis that affect your life in the next two years. Cities and counties will decide whether to ban or regulate patients’ collectives, the state legislature will vote again on commercial licensing and patients’ rights measures, and the new US Congress may decide whether or not to keep paying for medical cannabis enforcement.

Sep 042014

CNN Report on Kettle Falls 5 Airs Tonight - Americans for Safe Access

Kettle_Falls_Five_CNN_Special.jpgCNN rescheduled its report devoted to the pending federal trial of five Washington State patients. The program will air soon, so check your local listings. On "Erin Burnett OutFront," CNN's David Mattingly investigates the Kettle Falls 5 case, where despite all five family members being qualified patients registered with Washington State to legally use medical cannabis, now face charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences of ten years in federal prison.

Sep 022014

Another big win for patients in California - Americans for Safe Access

By Guest Blogger Lauren A. Vazquez, Esq.

The recent California Court of Appeal decision in People v. Baniani firmly establishes the right of patients to access medical cannabis through a collective or cooperative. The Court stated what medical cannabis advocates have always believed, state law protects members of a collective or cooperative who are qualified patients and are not engaged in a profit-making enterprise. The case is the culmination of over a decade of legal decisions and challenges by medical cannabis advocates.

Americans for Safe Access won a similar victory after appealing the conviction of a medical cannabis provider in San Diego in 2012. In People v. Jackson, the court ruled that medical marijuana patients do not have to actively participate in the cultivation of medical cannabis, and that financial support provided by collective members through medical cannabis purchases constitute sufficient involvement in a collective.

Sep 012014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: September 1, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Grassroots power worked this year
  • State & Local News: National, state, and local news from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Online, Riverside, and Washington, DC
  • Court Support: Sacramento
  • Take Action Now: Organ transplants and Measure S (Nevada County)
  • ASA Website Spotlight: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2015
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco, Yuba County, Sonoma County, and Sacramento

Happy Labor Day, California. The state legislature has adjourned for the year, and on balance, it has been a good session for medical cannabis patients and other stakeholders. Your grassroots action helped stop some bad bills from becoming law this year:

  • AB 1588 would have increased the minimum buffer zone between legal patients’ cooperatives and collectives and schools statewide. We killed this bill in committee early in the session.
  • AB 2500 would have made it a crime for a legal patient to drive with even a tiny amount of cannabis detectable in their blood. ASA members and others defeated this bill in committee for the third year in a row.
  • SB 1193 was amended at the last minute to remove language beneficial to patients. ASA members generated more than 1,000 emails many phone calls in opposition to the amended bill in just one week.

We didn’t win every battle. SB 1029 would have expanded eligibility for public assistance to certain drug felons, including those convicted cannabis “crimes.” That bill died in committee.  The legislature also rejected two bills that would have regulated commercial medical cannabis activity – AB 1894 and SB 1262. Read more about that process in my blog from last week: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/regulations_in_california_will_have_to_wait_again

Aug 292014

ASA members score another win in CA - Americans for Safe Access

ASA members like you have scored one last victory in the final hours of this year’s state legislative session. We generated more than 1,000 emails and phone calls in opposition to a badly amended bill in less than one week – and it worked!

In response to that grassroots pressure, Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) will not call for a vote on SB 1193 in the Assembly. That means the bill will not be adopted this year. Well done!

Grassroots action works. Will you make a special contribution to support ASA today, so we can keep winning victories like this?

Aug 282014

Be smart. Plan ahead. - Americans for Safe Access

Register_Now_Graphic.jpgASA is hosting out third annual national conference March 27-31, 2015, in Washington, DC. The National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2015 will be our largest and most important conference yet. Hundreds of patients, advocates, scientists, and industry leaders will meet at the Lowes Madison Hotel in the heart of downtown for three days of networking, education, and action. This will be the premier medical cannabis event of the year. Will you be there?

The issue of medical cannabis has never been more visible in the national media or present in the minds of lawmakers. The medical cannabis industry and movement are evolving faster than ever before. Plan right now to join leaders in the science, politics, and activism of medical cannabis from all overt the United States and the world.  You will have a front row seat for the exciting conversations about the future of medical cannabis in the United States and play an active and important role in shaping public policy. 

Aug 252014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: August 25, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

CA Senator Noreen EvansContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: One more battle in Sacramento this year
  • State & Local News: News from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Santa Rosa, Riverside, and Online
  • Court Support: Submit dates for court support!
  • Take Action Now: Oppose SB 1193 and more
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Patient Focused Certification
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Submit dates for local meetings!

The 2014 legislative session is almost over. Lawmakers have until August 31 to pass hundreds of bills through the state Assembly and Senate, and Governor Brown has thirty days to sign or veto each. One topic not on the agenda will be SB 1262 (Correa/Ammiano), the bill that would have created statewide regulations for doctors who recommend medical cannabis and for the medical cannabis industry. That bill was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 15, so it will not be adopted this year. Both co-authors are serving their final terms in the legislature according o the state’s term limit rules, so it is back to the drawing board for statewide regulations in 2015.

Pictured: California Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), author of SB 1193

 The Assembly may still vote on a badly amended version of SB 1193 (Evans) – unless we stop them first! SB 1193 was a win-win compromise for law enforcement and patients in California. The old version of the bill, which ASA supported, reduced the amount of cannabis and cannabis plants police and Sheriff’s departments have to keep as evidence, but required law enforcement to pay reasonable compensation if they damaged or destroyed cannabis or plants later found to be legal. Unfortunately, the Assembly Appropriations Committee removed language requiring the return of wrongfully-confiscated property and reasonable compensation at the August 15 hearing.