Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Sep 012014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: September 1, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access


  • Message from the CA Director: Grassroots power worked this year
  • State & Local News: National, state, and local news from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Online, Riverside, and Washington, DC
  • Court Support: Sacramento
  • Take Action Now: Organ transplants and Measure S (Nevada County)
  • ASA Website Spotlight: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2015
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco, Yuba County, Sonoma County, and Sacramento

Happy Labor Day, California. The state legislature has adjourned for the year, and on balance, it has been a good session for medical cannabis patients and other stakeholders. Your grassroots action helped stop some bad bills from becoming law this year:

  • AB 1588 would have increased the minimum buffer zone between legal patients’ cooperatives and collectives and schools statewide. We killed this bill in committee early in the session.
  • AB 2500 would have made it a crime for a legal patient to drive with even a tiny amount of cannabis detectable in their blood. ASA members and others defeated this bill in committee for the third year in a row.
  • SB 1193 was amended at the last minute to remove language beneficial to patients. ASA members generated more than 1,000 emails many phone calls in opposition to the amended bill in just one week.

We didn’t win every battle. SB 1029 would have expanded eligibility for public assistance to certain drug felons, including those convicted cannabis “crimes.” That bill died in committee.  The legislature also rejected two bills that would have regulated commercial medical cannabis activity – AB 1894 and SB 1262. Read more about that process in my blog from last week:

Aug 292014

ASA members score another win in CA - Americans for Safe Access

ASA members like you have scored one last victory in the final hours of this year’s state legislative session. We generated more than 1,000 emails and phone calls in opposition to a badly amended bill in less than one week – and it worked!

In response to that grassroots pressure, Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa) will not call for a vote on SB 1193 in the Assembly. That means the bill will not be adopted this year. Well done!

Grassroots action works. Will you make a special contribution to support ASA today, so we can keep winning victories like this?

Aug 282014

Be smart. Plan ahead. - Americans for Safe Access

Register_Now_Graphic.jpgASA is hosting out third annual national conference March 27-31, 2015, in Washington, DC. The National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference 2015 will be our largest and most important conference yet. Hundreds of patients, advocates, scientists, and industry leaders will meet at the Lowes Madison Hotel in the heart of downtown for three days of networking, education, and action. This will be the premier medical cannabis event of the year. Will you be there?

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. Plan right now to join leaders in the science, politics, and activism of medical cannabis from all overt the United States and the world.  You will have a front row seat for the exciting conversations about the future of medical cannabis in the United States and play an active and important role in shaping public policy. 

Aug 252014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: August 25, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

CA Senator Noreen EvansContents:

  • Message from the CA Director: One more battle in Sacramento this year
  • State & Local News: News from communities all over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Santa Rosa, Riverside, and Online
  • Court Support: Submit dates for court support!
  • Take Action Now: Oppose SB 1193 and more
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Patient Focused Certification
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Submit dates for local meetings!

The 2014 legislative session is almost over. Lawmakers have until August 31 to pass hundreds of bills through the state Assembly and Senate, and Governor Brown has thirty days to sign or veto each. One topic not on the agenda will be SB 1262 (Correa/Ammiano), the bill that would have created statewide regulations for doctors who recommend medical cannabis and for the medical cannabis industry. That bill was held in the Assembly Appropriations Committee on August 15, so it will not be adopted this year. Both co-authors are serving their final terms in the legislature according o the state’s term limit rules, so it is back to the drawing board for statewide regulations in 2015.

Pictured: California Senator Noreen Evans (D-Santa Rosa), author of SB 1193

 The Assembly may still vote on a badly amended version of SB 1193 (Evans) – unless we stop them first! SB 1193 was a win-win compromise for law enforcement and patients in California. The old version of the bill, which ASA supported, reduced the amount of cannabis and cannabis plants police and Sheriff’s departments have to keep as evidence, but required law enforcement to pay reasonable compensation if they damaged or destroyed cannabis or plants later found to be legal. Unfortunately, the Assembly Appropriations Committee removed language requiring the return of wrongfully-confiscated property and reasonable compensation at the August 15 hearing.

Aug 242014

Regulations in California will have to wait - Americans for Safe Access

The California Assembly Appropriations Committee held SB 1262 (Correa/Ammiano) in committee on August 15, meaning the bill will not proceed to the floor for a vote or be adopted this year. The controversial bill would have regulated doctors who recommend medical cannabis and commercial medical cannabis activity. Because both co-authors are serving their final term in the state legislature this year, it will be back to the drawing board for statewide medical cannabis regulations in 2015. This is the third time that the legislature has failed to adopt regulations for the state's seventeen year-old medical cannabis industry.

Aug 212014

I wish I could do more - Americans for Safe Access

Match_Grant_Meme.jpgIf you’re like me, you sometimes think, “I wish I could do more to help medical cannabis patients.” Well, we can do more right now. A very generous donor has pledged up to $25,000 in matching donations through Friday, August 21st at 5:00 PM PST. This means , dollar for dollar, any donation you make in the next 30 hours will be matched, doubling your donation.

You have helped ASA score some big victories for medical cannabis patients this year. In May, you helped us win one of our biggest victories yet, when the US House of Representatives voted to cut off funding for federal raids, arrests, and prosecutions in states where medical cannabis is legal. And then in July, the House voted again to protect the rights of cannabis businesses to serve the needs of patients in medical states.

These are historic victories, but we are not finished with the campaign to secure safe, legal, and dignified access for everyone who needs it.

Aug 192014

Oppose SB 1193 in California! - Americans for Safe Access

oppose_CA_1193.jpgLast-minute amendments turned a good medical cannabis bill into a bad one, and ASA needs your help today to stop SB 1193. Patients and advocates have supported this bill all year, because it required law enforcement to pay reasonable compensation if they damaged or destroyed lawfully-possessed medical cannabis or plants. But the Assembly Appropriations Committee quietly deleted those provisions last week and sent a bill devoid of patient benefits to the Assembly for a final vote.

That is not fair, and we need to speak up now to be sure that lawmakers know that this bill is not what we have supported for months. Can you do two things to help stop SB 1193 today?

Aug 132014

Suspense for California’s Medical Cannabis Regulation Bill - Americans for Safe Access

Member Mike GattoUPDATE 08/14/2014 - The Assembly Appropriations Committee held SB 1262 in committee today, so it will not pass this year.

The California Assembly Appropriations Committee placed SB 1262 into the suspense file this morning. The suspense file is where the committee sends any bill with an annual cost of more than $150,000. Suspense file bills are considered at one hearing when the committee has a better sense of available revenue. The deadline for bills in the suspense file to be approved by the committee is August 15, but the last scheduled meeting of the Appropriations Committee is tomorrow.

Pictured: Assembly Appropriations Committee Chairman Mike Gatto (D-Burbank)

SB 1262 may be approved by the committee tomorrow. If so, it will go to the full Assembly for a vote. However, SB 1262 may not make it out of suspense this year for any number of reasons. If that happens, we will have to go back to the drawing board for statewide medical cannabis regulations in January. Both co-authors, Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) and Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), are term-limited. Neither will serve in the legislature next year, so someone else will have to author a regulatory bill in 2015.

Aug 122014

Leafly Partners with Americans for Safe Access on NFL-Focused Chronic Pain Ads - Americans for Safe Access

ASA_USA_Today_NFL_Preview_Ad.jpgWith the NFL preseason already underway, cannabis activists are shining a spotlight on the professional sports league to soften their stance on medical cannabis use among players. Roger Goodell, the league commissioner, has stated that he'd consider allowing athletes to use medical cannabis to treat concussions and other head injuries if research supports it as a valid treatment option. The league itself, however, has so far remained firm on its anti-cannabis stance and has continued to fine, suspend, or release players who fail drug tests or are caught in possession of cannabis. 

But, as we continue to see for ourselves, change can happen gradually with enough time, persistence, and education. At this crucial moment for the NFL, Leafly has partnered with Americans for Safe Access to release a series of ads promoting medical cannabis as a treatment option for chronic pain, an ailment with which many professional football players are very familiar. 

Aug 112014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: August 11, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents:Photo: Mayor Jacob and me presenting an award to Assembly Member Ammiano at the lobby day @safeaccess #mmot #mmj

  • Message from the CA Director: Well done on the lobby day!
  • State & Local News: News From Communities All Over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Sacramento, Santa Rosa, & Riverside
  • Court Support: Submit dates for court support!
  • Take Action Now: Support medical cannabis bills in CA & More
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Vote Medical Marijuana
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Nevada County, San Diego, Sacramento, & Yuba County

ASA’s fourth citizen lobby day in California was a big success. Approximately 150 patients and other stakeholders attended, and they visited more than fifty legislative offices – plus a lot of impromptu visits initiated by attendees themselves. Participants asked lawmakers to support ASA’s proposed Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act and SB 1193 (Evans), the return of property bill. They also expressed a variety of opinions on the controversial SB 1262 (Correa/Ammiano).

After the lobby day, a standing-room only crowd gathered to watch Sebastopol Mayor Robert Jacob, ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, and me present term-limited Assembly Member Tom Ammiano with a certificate of appreciation for his years of work on behalf of medical cannabis patients. Assembly Member Bill Quirk, Senator Mark Leno, and staff members from several legislative offices joined us for the reception.

We spent a long time talking about SB 1262 at the lobby day. There is a lot of concern, indecision, and support for the bill among our base. Of the twenty five attendees who returned our survey on lobby day, eight supported SB 1262, six opposed it, and ten were undecided (one did not answer the question). Most had helpful input and suggestions. I will be interested in seeing how those numbers change as others return their surveys or complete them online. There are action alerts for the two current bills and ASA's Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act in the "Take Action" Section of this email.

I want to say a special thank you to the volunteers who helped pull off the lobby day this year, and to our sponsors: The Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance, Organicann, Peace in Medicine, SPARC, Buds & Roses, and the Emerald Growers Association.