Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Jul 312014

Special Needs Parents Group Wants Feds to Reschedule Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access

ireportbrainsurgery4monthsoldjpg-3303412_p9.jpgFor many with the Parents Coalition for Rescheduling Medical Cannabis life doesn't revolve around soccer matches, dance recitals, and play dates. It’s consumed by their kids’ violent seizures, trips to the emergency room, and now – trying to convince the federal government to remove cannabis from the list of banned Schedule 1 controlled substances.

Schedule 1 is reserved for drugs the United States government says have no medicinal value and are too dangerous for use, such as heroin and LSD. Yet, these parents question cannabis’s restriction among such harsh drugs, given research from other countries suggests the plant may be a safe and effective treatment for a host of conditions, including epilepsy. They watched Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CNN profile a child whose intractable seizures reduced significantly when taking Charlotte’s Web, a non-psychoactive hemp oil extract high in the substance cannabidiol, also Schedule 1. They read the report from Stanford University on epileptic children using the oil that suggests side effects are minimal to none. With time working against their own children, this group of special needs parents from across the country decided to take action.

These parents believe the solution lies in the removal of cannabis from Schedule 1, which would allow medical research on the plant in the United States. They say Schedule 3 or lower is ideal because that would enable regulation and safe access. President Obama and Congress each have the authority to reschedule cannabis, but neither appears willing to make the move.

Jul 302014

Congressional CBD-Only Bill Raises Both Hope and Significant Concerns - Americans for Safe Access

Yesterday, Representative Scott Perry (R-PA) introduced a bill in Congress that would create an exemption to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) for cannabis plants and derivatives with an extremely low THC content. Representative Perry has a checkered record on medical cannabis in his first term as a member of Congress, having voted for the Rohrabacher-Farr CJS Amendment in May, but against medical cannabis providers in the Heck and Fleming Amendments to the Financial Services Appropriations bill earlier in July. Perry's HR 5226 was joined by cosponsors Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and would allow for cannabis plants with a THC content of less than 0.3% to be grown in the United States. While this would certainly be a step in the right direction rather than the state quo of complete medical cannabis prohibition, the bill has left many patients, parents, and activists wondering whether this more sideways step than one moving forward towards truly meaningful access to medical cannabis therapy.

Ladybug has already published a superb article that highlights the problems with CBD-only legislation and quotes several parents that are very concerned with the limited potential therapeutic potential of HR 5226. The piece quotes parents such as Jason David and Brian Wilson, both whom have been treating their children for seizures with medical cannabis therapy. “CBD is a very important part of the mix, but only part,” noted Wilson. Speaking about the dangers and limitations of THC caps, David said, "There’s no way possible that all these children in Colorado could get seizure control and get off all their medications without using different ratios and adding THC and THCA. It’s impossible to get off all the medications and go through benzo withdrawals without being able to play with the THC ratios.” Wilson and David are hardly alone in their skepticism about CBD-only legislation, and ASA's Dr. Jahan Marcu spoke about the myths of CBD-only at the 2014 ASA Unity Conference back in April.

 

Jul 282014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: July 28, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

  

Contents:

  • Message from the CA Director: One more week...
  • State & Local News: News From Communities All Over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: CA Citizen Lobby Day & Sonoma Blossom Festival
  • Court Support: Westminster
  • Take Action Now: Register for the CA Citizen Lobby Day & More
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Peace for Patients
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Diego

One more week... The CA Citizen Lobby Day is just one week away. We need to see a strong showing of support in the Capitol Building next Monday, August 4, to amplify all of the voices from the medical cannabis community at this crucial moment. Key committee votes may happen just days after our lobby day, and final votes on the floor of the Assembly will come soon after. Your lawmakers need to know that this issue matters to voters in their district. Will you be there to speak up?

Register today for the CA Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento on Monday, August 4. Don’t wait any longer. I only have one more week to schedule appointments for you with your Assembly and Senate offices.

We will be hearing from Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana), the co-author of SB 1262, on Monday morning. We will also be hearing from you. Participants will have a chance to talk to the group about the bills and complete a constituents’ survey about amendments and final positions on legislation. This matters because eleventh-hour amendments in the Assembly Appropriations Committee may have a dramatic effect on SB 1262, the controversial bill that seeks to better regulate doctors and commercial medical cannabis activity in the state. I know many patients and other stakeholders have opinions to share. Now is the time.

Jul 252014

Medical Marijuana Patient Headed for Costly Trial Over 39 Grams of Marijuana - Americans for Safe Access

Patient_Protest_CA.jpgSan Diego, CA – Jose Calva a legal medical marijuana patient and his attorney, Michael Cindrich went before judge Jay M. Bloom downtown Wednesday to hear the evidence against Jose in a preliminary examination.  Clayton Carr, who is a brand-new Deputy District Attorney, called two witnesses: the arresting police officer and a San Diego Police detective who appeared to have little patience for the display of wasted money by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.

At issue is whether, as a patient, Jose Calva may transport medical cannabis lawfully or if doing so makes him guilty of possession of marijuana for sale and transportation for sale. The city had been grappling with how to ban medical cannabis retail delivery services but abandoned the issue as a state matter when Deputy City Attorney Shannon Thomas made a statement at a recent Public Safety meeting that delivery drivers delivering medicine to sick people have a defense for this action in state court and therefore the practice can not be banned by the city.

The arresting officer in Jose’s case, Kyle Fitchhorn testified to seeing Jose parked in the college area; making contact; flooding Jose’s car with light and spotting a bag of kief, some money and, after searching, found a couple of bagged cannabis products stapled with receipts.  All together, office Fitchhorn found 39 grams of medical cannabis. There were also business cards and a ringing cell phone, the officer said he concluded that Jose was providing a delivery service.

Jul 242014

Let’s talk tonight - Americans for Safe Access

I am having another live Google Hangout tonight to talk about medical cannabis bills and what is coming up next year. Join me at 7:00 PM tonight, July 24, at this web address:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/c2k8gkm2n5mhnl1ha1s7oomd374

We will be talking about bills that deal with regulating doctors and commercial medical cannabis activity (SB 1262), the return of wrongfully-confiscated property (SB 1193), and equal access to health care for legal medical cannabis patients. A Google Hangout is an interactive event you can join from your computer or mobile device.

We need to talk tonight, because I need to see you in Sacramento in eleven days. Medical cannabis patients, cultivators, providers, and others are coming to Sacramento for ASA’s CA Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, August 4, to talk about bills that will affect our community for years to come. We expect important committee votes on medical cannabis bills within a few days of the lobby day – maybe that same week. We need to make a strong showing to amplify the voices of advocates at a strategic time in the legislative process.

Register today for the CA Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento on Monday, August 4, and I will make an appointment for you to meet with your representatives in the state Assembly and Senate.

Jul 212014

ASA California Weekly Roundup: July 21, 2014 - Americans for Safe Access

CA_Lobby_Day_Banner.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Contents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Take your seat at the table
  • State & Local News: News From Communities All Over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Live Google Hangout, State of the State Conference, & more
  • Court Support: Redding & Sacramento
  • Take Action Now: Register for the CA Citizen Lobby Day & More
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Return of Property
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Nevada County

We are expecting two hundred patients and other advocates in Sacramento on Monday, August 4, to talk to lawmakers about medical cannabis bills that will affect our community for years to come. Will you be there to take your seat at the table two weeks from today?

Register today for the CA Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento on Monday, August 4.

I will make an appointment for you to meet with your California Assembly Member and Senator when you register. Do it today. Time is running out to make the appointments. ASA is requesting a $25 donation from participants to help defer the cost of the event, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Lobby day participants will be advocating for important amendments to current bills and laying the groundwork for patients’ rights legislation in 2015.

Jul 162014

Breaking News: ASA Members Score Two More Victories in Congress! - Americans for Safe Access

MMJ_Business_House_Victory.jpgMembers of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) scored two more victories for medical cannabis patients and providers in Congress today. The US House just approved a last-minute amendment to next year’s spending bill that will further prevent federal interference with cannabis and medical cannabis businesses in states where they are legal. And in a related vote, the House defeated a sneaky amendment that would have blocked progress on allowing legal cannabis and medical cannabis organizations from having bank accounts.

ASA is working hard to end federal interference and intimidation in medical cannabis states and to finally change federal law. These two victories come on the heels of an historic vote in May to cut off federal funding for medical cannabis enforcement. Taken together, these votes signal a sea change in Washington, DC. 

Can you help us push our advantage in Congress right now? Make a generous one-time contribution to ASA or an affordable monthly donation to support our work today! 

Jul 152014

Missouri adopts the latest medical marijuana law...sort of

Governor Jay Nixon signed a medical cannabis (marijuana) law yesterday, making Missouri the latest state to adopt such a law. Unfortunately, Missouri, like 10 other states over the past few months, has passed a law that benefits a narrow segment of patients and failed to establish a safe and legal means by which they can obtain their medicine.

In an effort to evaluate the vastly different medical marijuana laws across the country, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) just issued "Medical Marijuana Access in the U.S.," a report that evaluates the array of existing laws. Missouri, along with Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin, received F-grades for failing to meet the needs of patients.

Jul 142014

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

Contents:

  • Message from the CA Director: Your Voice Matters
  • State & Local News: News From Communities All Over California
  • Public Meetings & Events: Santa Ana City Council, State of Marijuana Conference & More
  • Court Support: No listings this week
  • Take Action Now: Register for the CA Citizen Lobby Day & More
  • ASA Website Spotlight: Work With ASA
  • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: San Francisco, East Bay, & Lake County

  

Do you think it doesn’t matter if you speak up about medical cannabis to your lawmakers and their staff? Think again. According to a survey of congressional staffers published in 2011 by the Congressional Management Foundation, Members Congress are more likely to be swayed by concerned citizens who visit, write or call their offices than by the efforts of paid lobbyists.  

This news isn’t earth shattering, but the survey provides some valuable insight about how crucial the work of grassroots advocacy is to manifest change and about which tactics work best.  For instance, nearly the entire sample of respondents, 97 percent, agreed that personal visits from constituents had “some” or “a lot” of influence on an undecided Member --- more than any other influence group or strategy.

In fact, visits from constituent representatives, like lobbyists, came in second.   And, a close examination of the survey reveals that even personalized letters, e-mails, phone calls and telephone town hall comments were more likely to change a member's mind than a lobbyist's efforts. The study also explored the type of advocacy that staffers believe is most effective. Turns out that content matters more than medium.  Specifically, staffers indicated that hand-written or personalized notes — even when they are fewer in number — have a bigger impact than form letters and emails.

The point is your lawmakers want to hear from you!  You will see action alerts every week in this email. You will also see events like the CA Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, August 4, in Sacramento. Speak up and make a difference. Research shows it matters when you do.

Register for the CA Citizen Lobby Day today. ASA is requesting a $25 donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Jul 092014

Big news about the CA Citizen Lobby Day on August 4 - Americans for Safe Access

I haMember Tom Ammianove some exciting news to share with you about ASA’s CA Citizen Lobby Day on Monday, August 4, in Sacramento, and I want to hear from you about legislation that will affect medical cannabis patients and others for years to come. Will you join me for a live Google Hangout online at 7:00 PM tonight? A Google Hangout is a free interactive event you can join from your computer or mobile device.

What:  Medical Cannabis in California – A Live Google Hangout

When:  7:00 PM (PDT) * Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Where:  Log on to https://plus.google.com/u/0/events/csadjb5qgj0qd3csdb2dq9r89uc

We have a lot to talk about! I am happy to report that two California lawmakers will be joining more than 200 ASA members and allies in Sacramento for what promises to be our biggest and most important medical cannabis lobby day yet. Senator Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) will be our special guest speaker on Monday morning, and Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) will be our guest of honor at a reception that evening. This will be a great chance to hear directly from the co-authors of SB 1262, a regulatory bill for doctors and commercial medical cannabis activity in California.