Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Nov 242014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: November 24, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

US AG Eric HolderContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Join the conversation about medical cannabis
  • State & Local News: National California, San Francisco, Fresno, Santa Ana, La Mesa, San Diego, Diamond Springs, Riverside County
  • Public Meetings & Events: Riverside, Santa Ana, Placerville, Washington DC, and Online
  • Court Support: No dates reported this week
  • Take Action Now: Expand the Green Zone (SF), Join the ASA-CCSA Discussion List, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Resources for Policy Makers
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Diego

Thanks to everyone who joined me last week for the latest live Google Hangout, What Legalization Means for Medical Cannabis. I appreciate the comments and questions. The broadcast is still available if you missed it live.

I know you have a lot to say about medical cannabis in California, too. While medical cannabis and legalizing cannabis gain momentum nation wide, California cities and counties are still cracking down. Read about increased pressure in La Mesa, Santa Ana, Diamond Spring, and San Diego in the News Section of this message. You will also see that Riverside and Fresno are using harsh fines to shut down cultivation. What does this mean for California? How is it impacting you? What can we do about it?

Nov 172014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: November 17, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

People talkingContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Thursday - What Legalization Means for Medical Cannabis 
  • State & Local News: National California, San Mateo County, Costa Mesa, Nevada County, Galt
  • Public Meetings & Events: San Francisco, Santa Ana, Washington DC, and Online
  • Court Support: Pamona, Redbluff, Redding, and more
  • Take Action Now: Expand the Green Zone (SF), Join the ASA-CCSA Discussion List, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Resources for Providers
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco ASA, East Bay ASA, Lake County ASA, and OC NORML

There is a lot of momentum behind legalizing cannabis for responsible adult use right now. Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia joined Washington and Colorado in legalizing cannabis on Election Day. Voters in California will probably decide on the issue in November of 2016. What does that mean for medical cannabis patients, cultivators, and providers? How will it impact local regulations and state laws? Will patients keep all of the rights they have now? Will medical and non-medical cannabis consumers continue to face discrimination in employment, housing, parental rights, and access to health care?

Nov 112014

For Myself and Other Veterans Medical Marijuana is the Difference - Americans for Safe Access

22.

1309286.jpg

Think about that number for a moment. Sadly, a report from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) finds that 22 American lives are taken every single day as a result of military conflicts overseas. Except these men and women aren't dying on the battlefield, they are dying right here on American soil. From the tiniest towns to the biggest cities, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons and daughters are taking their own lives to end the pain and suffering.

Let's put things into perspective. On average, there were close to 4,150 American troops killed during each year of the Vietnam War. In comparison, the VA estimates nearly twice as many veterans killed themselves in 2010, as a direct result of their military service. Most of these forgotten heroes are over 50 years old. Nearly all suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or have a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The VA has struggled with these problems for over a decade. So, what if there was a medicine that could save just one of these American heroes. What if we could save more than that?

Nov 102014

Washington 2014 Elections Recap - Americans for Safe Access

Election2014.jpgNow that the dust has settled and the bulk of mail-in ballots have been counted, it’s a good time to assess the new political landscape for patients in Washington State. Election results fall into three basic categories: 

I. State Measures and Advisory Votes
II. Legislative Candidates
III. Congressional Races

State Measures and Advisory Votes
There were three initiatives and two advisory votes on the ballot this year. Of particular interest to the cannabis community was a measure to repeal or maintain Senate Bill 6505. Ballot wording caused a lot of confusion, which ultimately worked against the interests of patients and providers. Essentially, voters were deciding whether cannabis should qualify for tax exemptions given to other agricultural products.

Nov 102014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: November 10, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

CA State AssemblyContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Let's talk about medical cannabis and the election
  • State & Local News: California, Santa Ana, Santa Cruz, La Mesa, Nevada County, De Luz, Berkeley
  • Public Meetings & Events: San Francisco, Santa Ana, Washington DC, and online
  • Court Support: Los Angeles, Visalia, and more
  • Take Action Now: Pardon Dr. Mollie Fry, Join the ASA-CCSA Discussion List, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Resources for Patients
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Grass Valley, Yuba County

Election Day in California is over, and medical cannabis advocates can expect a legislative playing field in 2015 that is largely unchanged from this year. Seventeen Assembly Members identified as medical cannabis supporters were up for election on Tuesday. Fifteen were reelected to their offices, and two were elected to serve in the Senate.  Fifteen Assembly Members identified as opponents were seeking reelection, but only thirteen succeeded. The supporter/opponent ratio in the Senate, where only twenty out of forty seats were on the ballot, remained unchanged.

Nov 072014

California Election Roundup - Taxes, Bans, & Regulations - Americans for Safe Access

Group of peopleElection Day was good for medical cannabis patients on the national level. All of our champions in Congress were reelected, paving the way for more progress in Washington, DC, in 2015 and 2016 – despite the Republican gains in both Houses. Guam became the first US Territory to legalize medical cannabis, and 58% of voters in Florida supported the state’s medical cannabis amendment (it needed 60% to be adopted). Successful legalization votes in Washington, DC, Oregon, and Alaska are likely to reinforce the increasingly mainstream nature of medical cannabis nationwide. 

Things did not go so well here in California. Voters decided on a total of nineteen local ballot measures last week, and the outcomes may be challenging for patients moving forward. Voters seem keen on imposing new taxes on medical cannabis, but reluctant to repeal bans on cultivation and distribution or to reform onerous local regulations. That tendency may cast a shadow over the debate about regulating commercial medical cannabis activity in the California legislature next year. State lawmakers may be less inclined to be accommodating towards the emerging medical cannabis industry absent a mandate from voters in local races like these.

Click here to see the final vote counts on all nineteen local ballot measures.

Nov 052014

4 Key Outcomes of Election Day - Americans for Safe Access

NewsPhoto18.jpgWhat a wild election night! A big thanks to everyone who voted, and an especially big thanks to everyone who worked on a campaign this year to help ensure safe access for patients. As the saying goes, "Democracy is not a spectator sport," and this election medical cannabis advocates across the country put in an incredible amount of work and their voices were heard.

Some positive notes from yesterday's election:

  • Every single one of of "Patient Champions" in Congress were reelected, allowing the medical cannabis community to maintain it's strong political leadership in both the Senate and the House. See who the Patient Champions are at VoteMedicalMarijuana.org.
Nov 042014

First victory on Election Day: Guam - Americans for Safe Access

Map of GuamMedical cannabis advocates can claim an early victory in today’s elections. The US Territory of Guam has legalized medical cannabis. Early returns say that voters there approved a ballot measure to allow medical cannabis use for "debilitating medical conditions" by a margin of 56%. Guam joins thirty-four states and the District of Columbia in adopting some form of medical cannabis law. A commission will work out the details of the territory’s medical cannabis program next year.

Guam is an independently governed US territory located in Micronesia in the western Pacific Ocean. The US Constitution gives Congress the authority to “make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory” (Section 3.2). The US Department of Justice indicated in 2013 that they would make enforcement of federal medical cannabis laws a low priority in states with effective regulations and in cases and where activity did not include certain criteria. Arguably, the same principle applies in US Territories.

Nov 032014

Volunteer today : Florida patients need 15 minutes of your time - Americans for Safe Access

volunteer_needed.jpegThe Florida Medical Marijuana (United for Care) campaign is coming to an end in Florida and although the statewide support for Amendment #2 appears to be favorable - the campaign still needs some volunteers to hit the phones and phone bank up until November 4th.  Will you become a volunteer today and help us bring safe access to the south?

Leading up to November, the United for Care field team spent months tabling at events and collected over 25,000 pledge (to vote) forms from voters in support of Amendment #2. We now have to call the pledged voters who have not yet voted and make sure they are planning to go vote on Election Day. 

Nov 032014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: November 3, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:

  • Message from the CA Director: California has a lot on the line tomorrow
  • State & Local News: California, Lake County, San Diego, Humboldt County, Nevada County, Del Rey Oaks, Oceanside, Santa Cruz, San Jose, Malibu
  • Public Meetings & Events: Berkeley, Online, Washington DC
  • Court Support: Redding, Norwalk, and more
  • Take Action Now: Pardon Dr. Mollie Fry, Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act, and more
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Vote Medical Marijuana 2014
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco, Yuba County, Sonoma County, Sacramento

Tomorrow is Election Day, and there is a lot on the line in California. We will elect 53 members to the US House of Representatives, 80 State Assembly Members, 20 State Senators, 8 Statewide Officers, and numerous city and county officials. Voters in 10 different cities and counties will also decide on 12 different medical cannabis ballot measures that will affect if and how legal patients get their medicine.  Locate your polling place and help make a difference by casting a ballot tomorrow between 7:00 AM and 8:00 PM.