Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Aug 252015

Remembering Larry Harvey - Americans for Safe Access

Larry_and_Rhonda.pngLate last week, Larry Harvey, ASA’s 2015 Patient Lobbyist of the Year, passed away. When we got word at ASA of his death from cancer, I reflected on the few days I got to spend with Larry as we roamed the halls of Congress in support of the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.

Larry became the public face of the federal government’s current crackdown on state medical marijuana patients a year ago, when the Kettle Falls Five case in Washington State came to national attention. After seven decades of relative anonymity working as a long-haul trucker and commercial fisherman, Larry’s courageous activism in his last years resulted in coverage from CNN, USA Today, and Reason Magazine of his family’s trial, and his passing last week was noted in the national media, including U.S. News and World Reports, Newsweek, to the Huffington Post.

The first time I heard about Larry was in April of 2014. A coworker called me, describing what was “easily the most egregious example of the federal government going directly after medical marijuana patients.” This was what came to be called the Kettle Falls Five case, and ASA began to work with Washington State patient advocate Kari Boiter and the legal team representing Larry and his family. 

Aug 252015

Deadline Approaching for Colorado Medical Marijuana Draft Regulation Comments - Americans for Safe Access

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The Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) is currently soliciting public comments for proposed regulations on lab testing, product safety, production management, and other issues. The deadline to submit comments is Tuesday, September 1st. 

The day before the deadline, August 31st, the MED will hold a rule-making hearing in Denver at the Colorado State Capitol Building at 9 AM (MDT) on the draft regulations.

ASA is working on finalizing our public comments, which will be made available this Friday and we would like your input for our comments. If you have concerns about the proposed regulation, please sent them to policy@safeaccessnow.org by 6:00 PM ET on Wednesday, August 26th. 

Aug 242015

California Weekly Roundup: August 24, 2015 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • National
  • California
  • Local

Events

  • August 26, 2015 - Improving Analysis and Quality Control of Cannabis Products Using Complementary Analytical Techniques (Online)
  • August 26, 2015 – Assembly Appropriations Hearing on SB 643 (Sacramento)
  • August 27, 2015 – Senate Appropriations Hearing on AB 243 and AB 266 (Sacramento)
  • August 30, 2015 - 2nd Annual Sonoma Blossom Festival (Santa Rosa)
  • March 18-22, 2016 - National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • August 26, 2016 – Court Support for Levine (Oroville)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act!  (National)
  • 5 Things People Can Do to Help Create Safe Access (National)
  • Medical Marijuana: A Patient Survey (California)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • 2015 Legislation
  • ASA-CCSA Email Discussion List

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • August 25, 2015 - San Diego ASA (San Diego)
  • August 27, 2015 – Sacramento ASA (Sacramento)
Aug 192015

Maryland Commission Approves Final Regulations - Americans for Safe Access

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Image Courtesy of Medical Jane.

Note: (Aug. 26, 2015) Corrections have been to reflect the vote outcome and application availability dates.

Earlier today, the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission voted to approve final regulations for Maryland's medical cannabis program. Today's vote was the culmination for 16 months worth of work since the Commission's inception in April 2014. Today's approval vote means that there were no substantive changes made to the regulations from the draft that was published in the June 26, 2015 edition of the Maryland Register (see page 812); however, several minor technical changes were made and will be available to the public shortly on the Commission website. The Commission vote to approve the regulations was near-unanimous with one vote against from the Maryland State's Attorney appointee. 

The Commission also announced today the timetable for implementation is still on schedule. Applications for those seeking to become growers, processors and dispensaries will be available in September. Physicians and patient application forms will be available later in the year. Under the Maryland law, physicians must register with the Commission and be approved for the conditions that they can recommend for. However, the Commission is strongly encouraged to approve most types of conditions that a physicians seeks to recommend, and the Commission can approve any condition if they feel it is appropriate. 

Aug 172015

Public Meetings Tonight & this Week to Determine New Hampishere Dispensary Locations - Americans for Safe Access

Public_Hearing_NH.jpgThere will be a series of meetings over the next several days to discuss locations for where the state's medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation centers will be licensed. The meetings will take place in the towns of Plymouth, Peterborough, Lebanon, and Merrimack. We encourage you to attend these meetings and show your support for safe and legal access. 

Medical marijuana businesses make good neighbors. Studies have shown that medical marijuana businesses do not cause an increase in crime. In fact, they have a minor impact in reducing crime by increasing foot traffic as well as the security cameras and other required safety features. You can learn more about dispensary safety in the community by reading ASA's dispensary reports for Massachusetts and California

Aug 172015

California Weekly Roundup: August 17, 2015 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • National
  • California
  • Local

Events

  • August 26, 2015 - Improving Analysis and Quality Control of Cannabis Products Using Complementary Analytical Techniques (Online)
  • August 30, 2015 - 2nd Annual Sonoma Blossom Festival (Santa Rosa)
  • March 18-22, 2016 - National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • August 21, 2015 – Court Support for Lynette Shaw (San Francisco)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act!  (National)
  • 5 Things People Can Do to Help Create Safe Access (National)
  • Medical Marijuana: A Patient Survey (California)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • Vote Medical Marijuana
  • The Truth About Medical Marijuana

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • August 18, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (Grass Valley)
  • August 18, 2015 - San Francisco ASA (San Francisco)
  • August 19, 2015 - East Bay ASA (Berkeley)
  • August 19, 2015 - Lake County ASA (Clearlake Oaks)
  • August 23, 2015 - Nevada County ASA (North San Juan)
Aug 132015

Why Regulations Are Good for Patients in California - Americans for Safe Access

CA Capitol BuildingThe California State Legislature will return from summer recess on Monday, and three medical cannabis bills will be on the table that day. The Senate Appropriations committee will hear testimony on bills to license and regulate commercial medical cannabis activity and to toughen laws related to manufacturing concentrated cannabis. You can read more about AB 243 (Wood), AB 266 (Bonta), and AB 849 (Bonilla) on ASA’s email discussion list or our website.

While California has been slow to license and regulate commercial medical cannabis activity, other states have already moved successfully in that direction. Patients in Colorado, Arizona and Maine already get their medicine from fully functional and well-regulated medical cannabis programs.  ASA is committed to bringing the proven benefits of regulation to patients and other stakeholders in California. 

Aug 122015

Robust Support for CARERS Act Continues to Mount - Americans for Safe Access

Chuck_Schumer.jpgMomentum to pass the Campassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2015 has continued to mount this summer. Over the weekend, the New York Times issued an editorial that doubled down their endorsement by calling out Congress for not already approving the bill. Also last week, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) approved a resolution that calls upon Congress to pass legislation that would respect state medical marijuana laws. These occurrences happened on the heels of CARERS picking up two key cosponsors in the Senate, with high-ranking members Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) adding their names to the bill. The growing support both in and outside of Congress for CARERS follows an unprecedented round of approval of pro-medical marijuana budget restrictions that were approved by Senate Appropriations Committee.

The New York Times editorial praises Congress and the Administration for the initial steps they've taken in scaling back the federal crackdown on medical marijuana access and research, but blasts them both for not doing nearly enough and says that narrow measures like the Charlotte's Web Medical Access Act are insufficient. The editorial points out that while these initial steps are a good start, their impact is often more symbolic than practical, and sites the denial of banking services for state-legal marijuana businesses in Colorado as an example. Only through binding legislation such as the CARERS Act would federal interference finally end. By issuing the piece, the NYT Editorial Board is doubling down on its support for CARERS, which it endorsed earlier this year.

Aug 102015

California Weekly Roundup: August 10, 2015 - Americans for Safe Access

Contents (Scroll down for details and links):

News

  • National
  • California
  • Local

Events

  • August 26, 2015 - Improving Analysis and Quality Control of Cannabis Products Using Complementary Analytical Techniques (Online)
  • March 18-22, 2015 - National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference (Washington, DC)

Court Support

  • August 14, 2015 – Court Support for Lynette Shaw (San Francisco)
  • More

Take Action Now

  • Sign the Petition to Ask Your Representative and Senators to Sign on to the CARERS Act!  (National)
  • 5 Things People Can Do to Help Create Safe Access (National)
  • Medical Marijuana: A Patient Survey (California)

ASA Website Spotlight

  • How Safe is Cannabis?
  • The Truth About Medical Cannabis: Regulations in California

Chapter & Affiliate Meetings

  • August 13, 2015 – Brownie Mary Democratic Club of San Francisco (San Francisco)
  • August 13, 2015 - Yuba County ASA (Foothills)
Aug 052015

ASA Statement on DOJ Memorandum Regarding Guidance on Effect of Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Cannabis Amendment - Americans for Safe Access

DOJ_Icon.jpgEarlier today, Tom Angell chairman of Marijuana Majority scored a big scoop revealing for the first time the Department of Justice's detailed response to the Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Cannabis Amendment. Sadly, if not completely surprisingly,  the DOJ argues that federal prosecutions against private citizens participating in state-level medical cannabis programs would not be impacted by the amendment. DOJ also appears to admit to providing misleading information to Congress ahead of last year's vote on Rohrabacher-Farr. 

ASA Government Affairs Director Mike Liszewski issued the following comment: