Blog Voices from the Frontlines
ASA is proud to announce the 2015 ASA Excellence Award Winners! Since 2002, ASA has promoted excellence in the medical marijuana movement. The ASA Excellence Awards program recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Safe Access, programs that exemplify the highest standards, and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand safe access.
We will present the awards at the ASA Excellence Awards Banquet on March 30, 2015, during the National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference. Join us and advocates from across the country as we celebrate those who make a difference in the lives of patients every day.
Although medical cannabis has been legal in California for more than eighteen years, legal patients still face pervasive discrimination. I hear from patients facing discrimination in employment, housing, parental rights, or access to health care every week. This discrimination can have serious consequences for patients – sometime even lethal consequences. ASA is sponsoring legislation this year to prevent discrimination against legal patients who need organ transplants, in part, because at least one member has already died after being denied a place on the organ transplant waiting list due to his medical cannabis use.
Do you face discrimination as a medical cannabis patient? Are you a victim or workplace drug testing? Have you been denied prescription pain medication because you use medical cannabis? Have your parental or custody rights been infringed? ASA needs to hear from you. Our 26-question CA Discrimination Survey will help us talk to lawmakers, the media, and others about the very real discrimination faced by medical cannabis patients in California today.
The survey data could lead to better laws, court decisions, and untimely, less stigma about medical cannabis use. Please take a couple of minutes to complete the mostly yes-or-no questions, and then forward the link to others who might have useful input – http://www.safeaccessnow.org/ca_discrimination_survey
Thanks for helping!
ASA formally announced its 3rd annual Unity Conference, "Wellness is Winning: Advancing Evidence Based Medical Cannabis Policy," by running an ad in the USA Today. The conference, which is being held in Washington, D.C. on March 27-31, 2015, will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Tuesday, March 31st, ASA will host a press conference at 11am, followed by Congressional lobbying visits by hundreds of patient advocates.
The quarter-page USA Today ad, which ran all last week in the newspaper's NFL Superbowl Preview publication, appeared on news stands across the country. This week, a digital version of the ad is running online for millions of Internet viewers. Sponsors of the ad include the American Herbal Products Association, Cannabis Training Institute, Patient Focused Certification, and OrganiCann.
Looking to become a volunteer? We can use your help right now, and you can have a lot of fun with this project! Will you host a house party or reception for your friends and loved ones to help send a medical cannabis patient to our conference and lobby day in Washington, DC?
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) knows that the best outcomes happen when medical cannabis patients have a voice in the conversation about policies that affect their lives. We need to have patients from all over the country at our National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference and lobby day in Washington, DC, March 27-31st. Unfortunately, many patients with a lot to contribute to the national dialog cannot afford the trip. That is where we need your help.
We want volunteers from around the country to host a house party of reception with your friends and loved ones to sponsor a patient’s trip to Washington, DC. It takes approximately $1,000 to get a patient to the conference (depending on where they live). Donors sponsored 125 patients from thirty four states last year. Those patients learned about medical cannabis and advocacy skills at the conference, before participating in the largest medical cannabis lobby day in US history. We visited more than 300 Congressional offices that day.
On January the 8th, 2015, Delegate Kenneth R. Plum pre-filed HB 1605 which is a bill to amend Virginia’s current--but non-functional--law relating to possession or distribution of marijuana for medical purposes. In support of this bill and to express to our elected officials our need for safe, legal access to medical marijuana in Virginia for all legitimate patients, Safe Access Virginia will be holding a lobby day on January 21, 2015. We will meet with our legislators to share patient stories and to express our support of this bill as well as HB 1445, which was introduced by Delegate David Albo in December. We will also be asking legislators to support both bills, while advocating for HB 1605 as it covers everything HB 1445 does, plus more.
What: Virginia Patient Advocates Medical Marijuana Lobby Day
When: January 21, 2015; 8:00 A.M. until 5:00 P.M.
Where: General Assembly Building (1000 Bank Street) in Richmond, VA
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, California! I hope you are all having a safe and healthy holiday. There is good news and bad news at the local level in this week’s California Weekly Roundup. The good news is that the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, a Native American tribe in Mendocino County, will soon start cultivating medical cannabis on tribal land. And I am also happy to see the City of San Diego continuing its march towards safe and legal access in Southern California.
Unfortunately, there is bad news for patients in other communities. The City of Vallejo just voted to close all of the patients’ collectives there, and Kern County is suing local providers. You will also see a short piece this week about plans to ban outdoor cultivation in Redding.
While the prospects for medical cannabis look good for the state on the long term, patients and providers are still stuck in crosscurrents at the city and county level. Local advocacy is still important, and I want to help you succeed in your hometown. You can use ASA’s free online Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to learn advocacy skills, craft a strategy, and build a coalition. You can also use this weekly email blast to let others know about community meetings, city council meetings, and other important events. Just send an email to CARoundup@SafeAccessNow.org before 12:00 PM on Friday to be included in Monday's distribution.
The California legislature is back in session, and you can expect a lot of activity around medical cannabis. Assembly Member Jones-Sawyer (D-Santee) has introduced AB 26and Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) introduced AB 34. Both bills will seek to regulate and license commercial medical cannabis activity, but neither is in its final form yet. That means there is still time to speak up about what you want to see in state legislation.
ASA will be sponsoring legislation this year to protect legal medical cannabis patients who need organ transplants from discrimination. You can read more about the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act online. You can sign a petition supporting the legislation in the Take Action Now section of this message.
You can use the tools and strategies in ASA’s free Medical Cannabis Advocacy Training Center to help you participate in the legislative process this year. Read more about the online resource in the ASA Website Spotlight section of this message.
Deadlines are fast approaching and we are less than 3 months away from the 3rd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference and Lobby Day.
Last year’s conference was amazing. We heard from leaders in the science, politics, and activism of medical cannabis from all over the United States and the world. Check out highlights from last year’s conference here.
The 3rd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference is going to be bigger and more important than ever before. 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.
I will be joining hundreds of other medical cannabis advocates in Washington, DC, March 27-31 for ASA’s third annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference and Citizen Lobby Day. I am going because, in the wake of last year’s historic vote to end funding for federal interference, there has never been this much momentum for a comprehensive national medical cannabis policy. I am excited to talk with patients, researchers, industry leaders, and other advocates about what is on the horizon for medical cannabis. But I am even more excited to talk face-to-face with members of Congress about what we want to see in a bill this year!
I want to see as many Californians in DC as possible. What Congress does with medical cannabis will have a big impact on patients and the industry that serves them. We know the best outcomes for stakeholder come when they have a seat at the table. Your voice really matters. Research shows that visits from ordinary citizens are six times more likely to influence lawmakers than visits from a paid lobbyist!
If you have not done so already, get registered and make your travel arrangements now. Have a look at the “ASA Website Spotlight” section of this message to learn about a free tool ASA has designed to help you raise money to be a part of this important event.
Message from the CA Director: Happy New Year, California!
News: National, California, Humboldt County, Los Angeles, Oceanside
Public Meetings & Events: Oakland, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC
Court Support: Redding
Take Action Now: Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act, Join the ASA-CCSA Discussion List, Expand the Green Zone
ASA Website Spotlight: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2015
Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: None this week
Happy New Year, California! We had a big year in 2014, and are looking to accomplish even more in 2015. Just consider some of what you helped ASA achieve this year…
- We scored a huge victory when Congress finally adopted an amendment to the omnibus budget bill that removes funding for federal interference and intimidation in California and other medical cannabis states.
- Californians re-elected all of our supporters in the legislature in the midterm elections.
- Voters in Santa Ana approved new medical cannabis regulations that will provide safe and legal access for patients in that community.
- ASA certified the first patients’ cooperatives and collectives in San Francisco and Berkeley under our new Patient Focused Certification program, which endures quality and integrity in the medical cannabis industry. Congratulations, SPARC and Berkeley Patients Group!
- ASA members helped persuade the influential California Medical Association to oppose the practice of denying organ transplants to cannabis users.
- ASA helped to improve two major legislative proposals regarding commercial medical cannabis regulations in California by successfully amending legislation more than a dozen times. ASA also helped stop a bill in the state legislature that would have established unscientific DUI limits for legal patients.