Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Sep 302014

Wisconsin's first pro-cannabis billboard - Americans for Safe Access

MADISON, Wis., Sept. 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The League of Marijuana Voters launched a billboard Monday that highlights two Wisconsin state senators' obstruction of medical marijuana legalization. The first ever billboard advocating for medical marijuana legislation in Wisconsin is part of a new campaign targeting Senators Leah Vukmir (R-Wauwatosa) and Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) for preventing passage of a bill that would allow people suffering from debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. The group is coordinating with the local Southeastern Wisconsin NORML chapter to raise awareness in the Senators' districts.

The billboard, which faces eastbound traffic on I-94 by 121st St. in West Allis, features silhouettes of the two legislators, their names, and their phone numbers. It reads, "WI patients have NO access to medical marijuana," and encourages voters to, "Ask [them] why!" The ad will run from September 29 through November 9. The billboard was designed by a volunteer and paid for by more than 100 individual donors. Planning and fundraising for more billboards around the state are currently underway.

Sen. Vukmir, who chairs the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, refused to allow a committee vote on the Jacki Rickert Medical Cannabis Act (JRMCA). Sen. Lazich (R-New Berlin), who serves on the committee, was also vocal in her opposition to the bill.

"Studies have repeatedly shown that marijuana has significant medical benefits," said League of Marijuana Voters co-founder Eric Marsch. "It can inhibit epileptic seizures, reduce the nausea associated with chemotherapy, and relieve the pain associated with multiple sclerosis, among other things. People suffering from serious illnesses should not be punished for using medical marijuana if it can relieve their symptoms and improve their quality of life."

In April, the legislature passed a bill ostensibly allowing people suffering from seizures to use CBD oil, a marijuana extract. Unfortunately the bill requires the federal FDA approve an investigational drug permit for CBD oil before anyone in Wisconsin can access it, something unlikely to happen anytime soon, and it doesn't cover the vast majority of illnesses that medical marijuana treats. By contrast, the JRMCA would immediately allow patients suffering from a wide variety of debilitating conditions to use medical marijuana.

"We want to make medical marijuana a major issue in these last few weeks before the election," Marsch said. "Most Wisconsin voters support access to medical marijuana, and the legislature cannot keep sweeping this issue under the rug."

A 2010 Dane County Advisory Referendum showed 75.49% of voters in support of medical marijuana. In February 2013, a Fox News poll showed 85% of American voters in favor. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws that allow seriously ill people access to medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The League of Marijuana Voters is a new group of volunteer activists from pro-marijuana-reform organizations across Wisconsin including Wisconsin NORML, IMMLY, and The Ben Masel Project. Its function is to organize and sponsor large-scale, high-visibility demonstrations of public support for marijuana law reforms.

See the billboard at

Sep 292014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: September 29, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Woman signing petitionContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: There's a lot going on!
  • State & Local News: National, state, and local news from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Ventura, Lincoln, Nevada City, and more
  • Court Support: Santa Rosa and more
  • Take Action Now: Tell Riverside County Not to Ban Cultivation
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Medical Cannabis: Voices from the Frontlines
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Ventura, Yuba County, and Sonoma County

Things may be quiet in the State Capitol right now, but there is a lot going on with medical cannabis in California. Did you know that there are currently twelve campaigns for local ballot measures in ten different cities and counties in the state? Voters will make important choices about medical cannabis in Butte County, Lake County, Nevada County, Santa Cruz County, Shasta County; and in the cities of Encinitas, La Mesa, Santa Ana, and Santa Cruz on November 4.

Sep 262014

Join us in Fort Lauderdale on October 11 - Americans for Safe Access

On October 11, join friends and advocates from across the state to learn from pioneers and experts in the legal medical marijuana movement. The Florida MMJ Quest is an event that promotes the growth of responsible and favorable social, economic and legal aspects for medical marijuana in the state of Florida.

These are exciting times in Florida with regard to the efforts in legalizing medicinal cannabis.  On November 4th, 2014, Floridians will head to the polls and vote on Amendment 2, The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative.

Sep 242014

Patients and industry win in Nevada - Americans for Safe Access

Medical cannabis patients and industry teamed up to win an important victory in Nevada yesterday. A crowd of more than 100 patients, industry workers, lawmakers, and other stakeholders persuaded the state’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health to abandon plans to limit the number of licensed cultivation facilities authorized under state law.

Law enforcement lobbyist were pressuring the Division to limit cultivation statewide, but Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and other stakeholders told staff that limits would choke off access to medicine for legal patients. Staff listened. There will be no limits on cultivation permits – for now. We will have to stay vigilant to be sure medical cannabis opponents do not keep pushing to roll back safe access in the state. 

Pictured: Serina Choi and Lauren Payne from NLS with me at their office in Las Vegas

Sep 222014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: September 22, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Supervisor JeffriesContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Local bans call for action. Are you ready?
  • State & Local News: National, state, and local news from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Riverside, Ventura, Washington, DC, and online
  • Court Support: Redding and more
  • Take Action Now: Tell Riverside County Not to Ban Cultivation
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Advocacy
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: None this week

Pictured: Riverside County Supervisor Kevin Jeffries

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors delayed a vote on an ordinance banning medical cannabis cultivation in the unincorporated areas of Riverside County until November 25. That is good news for local advocates, who need more time to rally the base in opposition to the proposed ban. See the Take Action section of this message to find out what you can do to help right now.

The proposal by Supervisor Jefferies is the latest in a series of moves by local governments to roll back the right of legal patients and caregivers to cultivate medical cannabis. Lake County banned cultivation in June, and the ACLU is currently challenging a ban adopted by Fresno County in March. Other cities and counties may soon follow suit.

Sep 192014

Charges Dismissed Against San Diego Medical Cannabis Delivery Driver - Americans for Safe Access

Dropped_Charges.jpgSan Diego, CA - Jose Calva, a young medical cannabis patient who was arrested while delivering cannabis medicine, has had charges of possession of marijuana for sale and transportation for sale dismissed in Downtown San Diego Superior Court yesterday before Judge Walsh.

Jose was stopped and arrested in spring after an officer saw receipts and medicine in his car. 39 grams was taken from Jose even though he provided his medical cannabis recommendation on the scene. The officer failed to verify Jose’s patient status and took him to jail.

Sep 182014

US House Votes on Marijuana-Related Welfare Issue - Americans for Safe Access

Late Tuesday evening, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 4137, the Preserving Welfare for Needs Not Weed Act, by voice vote. Sponsored by Rep. David Reichert (R-WA), the bill would prohibit recipients of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds from using their TANF funds at stores that sell marijuana. The fact that the passage of the bill occurred as a voice vote rather than a roll call vote makes it impossible to know which members voted for or against the bill. That is one reason why ASA will not be scoring this vote on Thankfully, the bill appears to stand little chance of passage in the Senate.

Even if passed into law, the value of the legislation would be minimal in terms of blocking the use of public assistance funds for medical marijuana.  By preventing the ability of TANF recipients to access funds from ATMs in medical marijuana dispensaries, the practical impact would only harm those with financial hardship and mobility issues, because TANF recipients could still make financial withdrawals from other nearby ATMs. The only dispensary consumers who could not work around the burden that H.R. 4137 seeks to create would be poor patients who have the greatest mobility issues. 

Sep 172014

Families have nowhere to turn after continued raids - Americans for Safe Access

BR_Pot_Delivery_02.aurora_standalone.prod_affiliate.11.JPGThe war on drugs took a brutal turn in California this past month. While states like Colorado experience the benefits of legal cannabis, areas like Modesto, California remain in the cannabinoid-deficient dark ages as MNET (Modesto Narcotics Enforcement Team) continue to perpetually raid one local cultivator of CBD, thus depriving the patients that rely on his CBD-rich medicine, from accessing it.  

The Healing Connection, a cannabis collective and delivery service from Modesto, California was raided last month for the third time since February 2012. Founder, Stephen Boski, was inspired to cultivate a CBD-rich strain of cannabis to help his friend Jason David's son Jayden to control his seizures when MNET ( Modesto Narcotics Enforcement Team) raided Stephen's home on August 28, 2013 and stole 30 patients' ( many of them children's ) twelve month supply of CBD-rich medication. Despite hours of professional testimony and support for Jason and Jayden as well as other California families that came to show support at Modesto's City Council meetings following the 2013 raid, the Council showed no willingness to reverse the city's stance prohibiting cannabis collectives.  

Sep 162014

NFL May Ease Marijuana Policy. Barely.

primary.jpgOn any given Sunday in the NFL, winners and losers can be hard to predict, as every fan and athlete knows. Now medical cannabis advocates are tasting disappointment, too, along with more than a few players, after an expected improvement in league policy fizzled in the late stages of the game.

The NFL Players Association (NFLPA) has approved a change in the NFL's drug policy that includes only a modest increase in the threshold of detectable marijuana metabolites that triggers league sanctions. The current limit is an infinitesimal 15 ng/ml, with the new standard only 35 ng/ml. Sure, that's more than double, and high enough to get one current player off suspension, but 10-times that amount was what most expected.

Sep 152014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: September 15, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access


  • Message from the CA Director: Hangout with me on Thursday
  • State & Local News: National, state, and local news from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Sacramento, Corcoran, Porterville, Richmond, San Francisco, Riverside, Ventura, Washington, DC, and online
  • Court Support: Oroville, Redding, and more
  • Take Action Now: Join ASA’s New California Discussion List and more
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Campaigns & Projects
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco and Lake County

I want to invite you to join me for a live Google Hangout on Thursday, September 18, at 7:00 PM. Don’t worry. You do not have to go anywhere. A Google Hangout is an interactive online event that you can join from you computer or mobile device.

What happened in the state legislature this year? What is likely to happen next year? What does the proposed voter initiative to legalize adult use of cannabis in 2016 mean for patients in California? Let’s talk. There is an interactive Q&A option. Feel free to email questions in advance, too. I’ll be hosting these interactive events monthly for the rest of the year.

Just log onto a little before 7:00 PM on Thursday to participate in the Q&A part of the broadcast. You can also watch on YouTube at