Blog Voices from the Frontlines
Take Action Washington: Make sure the 502 fix bill is also a fix for patients! - Americans for Safe Access
We just learned that as early as this morning, the Washington State Senate will be voting on House Bill 2136. The bill’s purpose is to fix issues plaguing the implementation of Initiative 502.
While we were able to create a separate licensing structure for medical cannabis businesses in 5052, HB 2136 would only exempt patients who sign up for the registry from sales tax, still burdening patients with a 37% excise tax.
In the wake of the third installment of CNN’s Weed documentary series Dr. Sanjay Gupta is upping the ante suggesting it’s time for a “medical marijuana revolution.” Dr. Gupta sees signs of revolution everywhere and isn’t equivocating about what he wants saying, “We should legalize medical marijuana. We should do it nationally. And, we should do it now.”
We couldn’t agree more. However, since there are so many subjects that can’t be fit into one hour of television it’s worth asking what would a medical marijuana revolution really look like? What would get in the way? On April 20th ASA hosted a Google Hangout to discuss Weed 3 and a three key themes emerged:
When asked if he supported the CARERS Act, in an interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta last night, President Obama said “I think carefully prescribed medical use of marijuana may in fact be appropriate and we should follow the science as opposed to ideology on this issue…” The President was talking about groundbreaking bipartisan legislation that would end federal interference in medical cannabis in California and other medical cannabis states. His comments are another sign of how far we have come. Read more about the President’s interview, an important case in federal court, bills in the state legislature, and local developments around medical cannabis in the California Weekly Roundup for Monday, April 20, 2015.
You can hear more about what the President’s comments do and don’t mean in a Live Google Hangout tonight. The program will feature ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, PA State Senator Mike Folmer, medical cannabis researcher Jahan Marcu Ph.D, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets Matt Kahl, and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley. Join the interactive event live from your computer or mobile device tonight at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT at http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_live
Be sure to read ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer’s blog about our 13th birthday!
And finally, don’t forget to email you California Assembly Member in support of AB 258. A vote on the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act in the State Assembly could come at any moment this week.
Today is the 13th anniversary of the founding of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which has become the nation’s largest and most influential patient advocacy group. ASA wants to say a very special thank you to the members, donors, and volunteers who have helped us accomplish so much!
We’re getting a big birthday present today. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical cannabis products into the living rooms of millions of Americans, is broadcasting Weed 3 on CNN tonight 9:00 PM ET/6:00 PM PT. We expect this broadcast to have a big effect on the national dialog about medical cannabis. You can talk with an all-star line of medical cannabis experts about the program and its significance on a Live Google Hangout tomorrow, April 20th, at 7:00 PM ET/4:00 PM PT.
Grassroots action can yield surprising results. Just one week after medical cannabis patients and advocates were on Capitol Hill talking to lawmakers, two congressmen sent the Department of Justice a letter telling them to cease prosecuting medical marijuana cases.
That letter from Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) is another example of why we had honored them as 2015 recipients of Americans for Safe Access Excellence Awards on the last night of our third annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference.
Every year at our annual conference, ASA honors individuals and organizations who have made extraordinary contributions to advancing the cause of medical cannabis. As cosponsors of the budget amendment that forbids the DOJ from spending tax dollars interfering with state medical cannabis laws, they deserved our recognition as Elected Officials of the Year, along with Senator Barbara Mikulski, who shepherded the historic amendment through the conference committee.
As many of you know, Senate Bill 5052 sailed through the Senate concurrence process with a vote of 41-8. With the legislation poised to hit Governor Inslee’s desk in a matter of hours and a five day window to make needed changes to the bill NOW is the time to make your voice heard!
Washington It’s Not Over Yet. Ask the Governor to Use His Veto Power to Protect Patients! - Americans for Safe Access
First, a heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who took action on the advocacy alert ASA sent out on Friday. Your efforts helped fuel a sizzling closed-door discussion in both the Republican and Democratic Caucuses that dragged on for hours, sparking the robust debate we witnessed on the House Floor. Things did not go as we hoped, but you still have a chance to help protect patients by telling Governor Inslee to VETO SB 5052.
And if there’s any doubt how hard some of these Representatives fought for you, watch this clip of three passionate Floor speeches that encapsulate the overall tone of the bipartisan discussion.
Today, almost 14 months since the Epilepsy Foundation issued a call to action on medical marijuana, ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer spoke as part of the organization’s Medical Cannabis Panel on the eve the Foundation's lobby day on behalf of medical cannabis legislation.
In those 14 months, 15 states have passed new legislation allowing medical use of cannabis or specialized extracts of the plant, with the vast majority specifying epilepsy or other seizure disorders as the reason for the law and frequently the only qualifying condition.
The trend in cities and counties last week was to crack down on medical cannabis cultivation and distribution. San Joaquin County is moving to ban all cultivation, except by commercially licensed providers. That is bad news for patients who want or need to grow their own. Read ASA’s report on why patient cultivation is so important, and then share it with your local lawmakers to help stop this trend.
Meanwhile, Butte County is fining cultivators, and the City Council in Redding just voted to turn up the heat on growers there. The Mayor in San Jose is still pressuring dispensaries, and the police department in Pasadena just raided a reputable testing lab. The LA City Attorney says he has closed over 500 dispensaries there, but hundreds more not qualified under the city’s ordinance are still open.
Read all the news and find out about medical cannabis events, hearings, chapter meetings, and court support dates in ASA’s California Weekly Roundup for Monday, April 13, 0215.
Today is a BIG day in Olympia. The medical cannabis bill, SB 5052, is scheduled for a floor vote in the Washington State House of Representatives. Now is the time to act.
A bipartisan group of leaders introduced the Patient Protection amendment to the most recent version of the bill last night, and we need your help to get the votes to get this amendment included!
Click here to send an email to your Representatives asking them to vote YES on the Patient Protection amendment (5052-S2 AMH APPL BLAC 080). Without this amendment included in the final House version of the bill, we are asking Representatives to vote NO on SB 5052.