Blog Voices from the Frontlines
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.
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.
Reps. Rohrabacher and Farr Send Letter to DOJ to Cease Federal Prosecutions - Americans for Safe Access
Today, U.S. Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) sent a letter Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice questioning whether the continued medical marijuana prosecutions being waged by Department are in compliance the spending medical marijuana restriction in the DOJ budget. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was included in the final budget bill that President Obama signed in December. Despite this amendment, DOJ has continued to press forward with prosecuting state-legal medical marijuana conduct in several states, such as the Kettle Falls Five in Washington State and forfeiture actions against Berkeley Patients Group, Harborside, and others in California.
Today's letter clarifies the intent of the amendment and respectfully insists that the federal prosecutions must end against state-legal medical marijuana conduct. In a press release today, Rohrabacher said, “the continuing prosecution of these cases represents a clear defiance of the will of the people, as represented by the United States Congress. Good people, as a result, are victimized by their own government.” Farr added, “No reasonable person would agree with the Department’s interpretation of the amendment. The DOJ can try to parse its wording but Congress was perfectly clear: Stop wasting limited funds attacking medical marijuana patients.” However, DOJ spokesman Patrick Rodenbush has said the amendment doesn’t apply to cases against individuals or organizations, but merely stops the Department from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws.”
The amendment states that DOJ may not use funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. While DOJ appears to be taking an extraordinarily narrow view of "implementation," it is abundantly clear from the House floor debate that the amendment was intended to protect state-legal medical marijuana conduct from federal interference (see below):
ASA's new Activist Newsletter reports on the latest developments affecting medical cannabis patients and advocates.
In this month's issue, you'll learn about historic new bills in Congress, Georgia's new medical cannabis law, the new international medical cannabis patients coalition that is pressuring the UN for global change, and developments in the Kettle Falls Five case.
You'll also see some of what happened at ASA's exciting National Unity Conference and Lobby Day in Washington DC, and learn who was honored with the 2015 ASA Excellence Awards. Read all about it now.
The Dr. Oz Show Asks Americans To Start Talking About ‘Marijuana as Medicine’ - Americans for Safe Access
Today people from around the world highlighted the importance health awareness by celebrating World Health Day. Among the many great public awareness efforts conducted today we would like to thank the Dr. Oz Show for issuing a PSA calling for a new dialogue on medical marijuana.