Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Apr 142014

Maryland Fianlly Becomes the 21st Medical Marijuana State - Americans for Safe Access

Governor Martin O'Malley signed HB 881 into law today, making Maryland the 21st medical marijuana state. The Maryland House of Delegates voted 125-11 last week to adopt HB 881, a medical marijuana bill that protect patients with severe pain, nausea, wasting syndrome, seizures, and severe muscle spasms from arrest and prosecution. Qualified patients will be able to obtain their medicine from licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, which will rely on licensed growers for their supply. Patients will be required to get approval from physicians who are approved by the state, and must obtain an identification card before they will be eligible to access a licensed dispensary.

Apr 142014

ASA California Roundup: April 14, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:

Message from the CA Director - A New Medical Cannabis Bill in CA

California News

  • Medical-Marijuana Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill (National)
  • California Gets Stricter Medical Marijuana Regulations (California)
  • Marijuana: Another Contributor to California's Drought (California)
  • How medical marijuana is helping Californian children with epilepsy (California)
  • Vague state marijuana rules cost cities (California)
  • Medical marijuana supporters launch effort (Costa Mesa)
  • Medical marijuana activist sues Redondo police (Redondo Beach)
  • Marijuana addressed by Gridley City Council (Gridley)
  • Permit issued for Arnold medical collective (Calveras County)
  • Lathrop just says no to medical pot dispensaries (Lathrop)
  • Long Beach voters favor Measure A tax on medical marijuana (Long Beach)

Events

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – San Diego Public Safety Committee Hearing (San Diego)
  • Saturday, April 19, 2014 – CBD Seminar (Grass Valley)
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 – CA Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee Hearing on SB 1262 (Sacramento)
  • Tuesday, April 22, 2014 – CA Assembly Public Safety Committee Hearing on AB 1894 (Sacramento)
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – Medical Cannabis Forum with District Attorney Candidates (Sonoma)

Court Support

  • Monday, April 14, 2014 – Court Support for Ronnie Chang (San Diego)
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 – Court Support for Taryn Hughey & Ryan Metroka (Oroville)
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014 – Court Support for Joe Grumbine (Long Beach)

Take Action

  • National: Support HR 689 and HR 710
  • Join Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • ASA Live

ASA CA Chapter Spotlight

  • San Francisco ASA

ASA Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - East Bay ASA (Oakland)
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - Lake County ASA (Clearlake Oaks)
Apr 082014

Maryland is almost the 21st Medical Cannabis State - Americans for Safe Access

Maryland House Delegate Cheryl GlennThe Maryland House of Delegates voted 125-11 yesterday to adopt HB 881, a medical marijuana bill that improves upon the law that was adopted by the state last year. If signed by Governor Martin O'Malley, HB 881 will protect patients with severe pain, nausea, wasting syndrome, seizures, and severe muscle spasms from arrest and prosecution. Qualified patients will be able to obtain their medicine from licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTC), which will rely on licensed growers for their supply. Patients will be required to get approval from physicians who are approved by the state and must obtain an identification card before they will be eligible to access an MMTC.

"We're excited to welcome Maryland as the 21st medical marijuana state," said Mike Liszewski, Policy Director with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), who testified before House and Senate committees. "This bill is a vast improvement over the current law in Maryland and will provide patients with needed protection from arrest and prosecution, and give them a means to safely and legally obtain medical marijuana."

Apr 072014

ASA California Roundup: April 7, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:

Message from the CA Director - Californians in DC

California News

  • Supreme Court Approves Returning Medical Marijuana to California Patient Stopped in Arizona (National)
  • AAN endorses cannabis for MS (National)
  • More Pot, Safer Roads: Marijuana Legalization Could Bring Unexpected Benefits (National)
  • Rural County Representatives of California Report Medical Marijuana Bills to Develop Statewide Regulatory Scheme on the Legislature’s Agenda (California)
  • Long Beach’s Measure A would set tax on medical marijuana (Long Beach)
  • More than 450 medical pot shops file to renew taxes in Los Angeles (Los Angeles)
  • Group using cannabis oil to treat children’s seizures told to shut down by L.A. City Attorney (Los Angeles)
  • Stockton man heads to prison for supplying medical marijuana (Stockton)
  • 400 marijuana plants seized from underground garden in Hilmar (Merced County)
  • Council pledges to ban outdoor marijuana grows (Martinez)
  • State Medical Board issues settlement, disciplinary order for Upper Lake doctor; probation, courses ordered (Lake County)
  • Judge upholds Bakersfield's marijuana dispensary ban (Bakersfield)

Events

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - CA Senate Human Services Committee Hearing on SB 1029 (Sacramento)
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014 – Book Signing with Peter Hecht, Author of Weed Land (Sacramento)
  • Monday, April 14, 2014 – Court Support for Ronnie Chang (San Diego)
  • Thursday, April 17, 2014 – Court Support for Joe Grumbine (Long Beach)
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 – CA Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee Hearing on SB 1262 (Sacramento)
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – Medical Cannabis Forum with District Attorney Candidates (Sonoma)

Take Action

  • Support HR 689 and HR 710
  • Join Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • ASA Monthly Activist Newsletters

ASA CA Chapter Spotlight

  • San Diego ASA - 2013 Chapter of the Year

ASA Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – Nevada County ASA (Grass Valley)
  • Tuesday, April 8, 2014 – San Diego ASA (San Diego)
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014 - San Diego ASA (Imperial Beach)
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014 - Yuba County ASA (Foothills)
Apr 062014

ASA’s DC Conference is underway! - Americans for Safe Access

Photo: Jim Tozzi, former OMB and regulatory expert, is the first speaker at the ASA conf @safeaccess #unity14 #mmot #mmjASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference is underway at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in the heart of Washington, DC. More than two hundred and fifty patients, scientists, industry workers, and other stakeholders will meet for a second day today, before taking their message to the halls of Congress tomorrow afternoon.

The opening speaker yesterday morning acknowledged that the standing-room only crowd might be surprised to see someone like him at a conference like this. Jim Tozzi, PhD., who holds a Doctorate degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Florida, is a national expert in the politics and practice of government regulation. Dr. Tozzi is an influential player in Washington, DC. He worked for five consecutive Presidential Administrations, including service as the senior regulatory policy official at the White House Office of Budget and Management; and was appointed to the Administrative Conference of the United States, the administrative agency responsible for overseeing the federal regulatory process.

Dr. Tozzi is also the author of the Data Quality Act, a law that requires government regulation to be based on good science. ASA sued the Department of Health and Human Services using the Data Quality Act in 2004. Although that lawsuit was ultimately unsuccessful, it marked an important milestone in our efforts to influence the administrative agencies in hopes of harmonizing federal policies with the laws of the states that already permit medical cannabis use. It was also the beginning of an important association between Dr. Tozzi and ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. Steph regards this unlikely ally as a mentor, and when a reporter asked Dr. Tozzi in 2004 what he thought of Steph’s work, he replied “She is doing God’s work.”

Mar 312014

ASA California Roundup: March 31, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:

Message from the CA Director - Maral v. Live Oak – Local Politics Matter

California News

  • Crime Reduces at Steeper Rate in States Allowing Medical Marijuana, Study Says (National)
  • Medical marijuana eases some MS symptoms, neurologists report (National)
  • California Supreme Court upholds ruling on local medical marijuana cultivation bans (California)
  • Police Lobby Wants to Gut Medical Pot in California (California)
  • Leland Yee corruption case: State senator faces uphill fight against strong FBI evidence(California)
  • On marijuana legalization in California and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s remarks (Califonia)
  • Petition drive seeks to overturn Watsonville medical marijuana ban (Watsonville)
  • Shasta County expecting busy marijuana grow season as number of illegal farms explodes (Redding)
  • City to ban pot growth; Council requests ordinance draft before next meeting; mayor says public welcome to comment on it (Colusa)
  • Measure A Gives Long Beach Voters Option To Tax Medpot (Long Beach)
  • Fresno County imposes marijuana growing fines (Fresno County)
  • Fresno man pleads guilty in marijuana growing operation near Newman (Stanislaus County)
  • The 102 Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries closed since Proposition D (map) (Los Angeles)

Events

  • April 5-7, 2014 - The 2nd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)
  • Wednesday, April 23, 2014 – Medical Cannabis Forum with District Attorney Candidates (Sonoma)

Take Action

  • Oppose AB 2500 – Don’t turn patients into criminals!
  • Join Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • Limiting Law Enforcement Encounters

ASA Merchandise

  • ASA Cloud Vaporizer Pen
  • ASA Condition-Specific Booklets for Kindle

ASA Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
  • Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - Yuba County ASA (Valley)
  • Thursday, April 3, 2014 - Sonoma ASA (Santa Rosa)
Mar 302014

Maral v. Live Oak – Local Politics Matter - Americans for Safe Access

A local ban on all medical cannabis cultivation stands after the California Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal on Wednesday in Maral v. Live Oak, an appellate decision permitting cities and counties to prevent patients from growing their own medicine, despite the fact that it is allowed under state law. The decision means that a ban on all cultivation adopted by the City of Live Oak in 2011 will be precedent for other cities and counties to follow.

The Maral decision is a second blow to patients’ rights in California. Last year, the state supreme court held in Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center that local governments could ban distribution of legal medicine. Maral and Riverside are a one-two punch for California patients and providers. By allowing local governments to prevent any cultivation or distribution of medical cannabis, the courts are, in effect, authorizing jurisdictions to opt out of crucial parts of Proposition 215.

Mar 272014

MD Senate Passes a More Patient-Friendly Medical Cannabis Bill - Americans for Safe Access

Today the Maryland Senate passed SB 923, which would authorize the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission ("Commission") to license and regulate medical cannabis growers and "medical marijuana treatment centers" where patients may purchase their medicine. The law passed by a vote of 45-1 and would fix the Maryland's current but non-implementable medical cannabis law, and substantially improves upon the legislation passed last week by the Maryland House of Delegates (HB 881) to fix the current program. We are urging all of our Maryland members to support the Senate version of the bill when it goes back to the House (see action alert below).

While both the House and Senate versions of the law would correct the catastrophic flaw in the current program, which only allows patients to enroll in programs run by an "Academic Medical Center" (or "AMC," which are hospitals that can do research on human subjects). However, due to federal funding and accreditation, no AMC appears willing to participate so long as marijuana falls under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Even if marijuana were removed from Schedule I, the program would be extremely limited and likely would exclude many Marylanders would benefit from medical cannabis therapy. However, the current Maryland law has at least one true positive, and that is the creation of the Commission, which has been working attempt to implement the current program in a thoughtful manner, in spite of the legal and bureaucratic hurdles that stand in their way. The Commission has already issued draft regulations for the current law, and appears to be well-positioned to issue regulations and implement the new law. Additionally, Governor Martin O'Malley indicated back in January that he will sign legislation to fix the current program. 

Mar 262014

ACTION ALERT: Ask your Member of Congress to sign Rohrabacher and Farr's letter to defund DOJ attacks on medical cannabis - Americans for Safe Access

As the federal Department of Justice (DOJ) continues to crack down on the implementation of state-authorized medical cannabis programs, Congressmen Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) are leading an effort to defund the DOJ’s anti-medical cannabis efforts.  These two Members of Congress have drafted a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies (CJS) Chair, Frank Wolf (R-VA) requesting that the CJS budget defund the DOJ from being able to crack down on state-authorized medical cannabis patients and providers. If this request is accepted by Chairman Wolf, the DOJ would no longer be able to raid, arrest, prosecute, convict, and incarcerate any state-authorized medical cannabis patients or providers acting in compliance with state law.

 

So far, 15 Members of Congress have signed onto the letter (see list below), which is a great start, but we need more representatives to sign on. If your member of Congress has not yet signed the letter, please call your Member of Congress TODAY to make sure they sign on as well. We encourage you to use the sample script when calling.

You can also email your Member of Congress by clicking here

Mar 242014

Alabama's High-CBD Seizure Disorder Treatment Bill Contains Technical and Practical Flaws - Americans for Safe Access

Note: updated 3.25.14

Last week Alabama passed SB 174, also known as Carly's Law, which is designed to create limited access to high-CBD cannabis preparations. While this bill can be viewed a some measure of progress to come out of the part of the country that that traditionally has been the least receptive to medical cannabis, the bill contains substantial problems that will prevent Alabama many patients from benefiting from it.

The bill differs from other successfully implemented medical cannabis laws in many ways. While every other medical cannabis bill in the country allows access to a number of conditions, SB 174 only creates legal access for patients with seizure disorders who have been diagnosed by the University of Alabama-Birmingham's (UAB) Department of Neurology. Some have said this is a "CBD-only" bill, but it does in fact allow for up to 3% THC in the preparations. The bill does not protect patients, caregivers, and UAB healthcare workers from arrest, but instead offers them an affirmative defense. Wisely, the bill does explicitly prohibit a state agency from removing the child custody rights from a parent who has enrolled their child in the UAB program. It appears the UAB would be the source of the high-CBD preparations, but it is not clear how UAB would obtain or produce it, but it is clear that the medicine can not be in its original plant form. Lastly, it requires that all patients obtain a "prescription" for the high CBD-preparations from the UAB.