Blog Voices from the Frontlines

Apr 172015

Keep Up The Pressure! It’s Working! - Americans for Safe Access

As many of you know, Senate Bill 5052 sailed through the Senate concurrence process with a vote of 41-8. With the legislation poised to hit Governor Inslee’s desk in a matter of hours and a five day window to make needed changes to the bill NOW is the time to make your voice heard!

Apr 142015

Washington It’s Not Over Yet. Ask the Governor to Use His Veto Power to Protect Patients! - Americans for Safe Access

First, a heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who took action on the advocacy alert ASA sent out on Friday. Your efforts helped fuel a sizzling closed-door discussion in both the Republican and Democratic Caucuses that dragged on for hours, sparking the robust debate we witnessed on the House Floor. Things did not go as we hoped, but you still have a chance to help protect patients by telling Governor Inslee to VETO SB 5052.

And if there’s any doubt how hard some of these Representatives fought for you, watch this clip of three passionate Floor speeches that encapsulate the overall tone of the bipartisan discussion.

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CLICK HERE TO WATCH TVW'S FULL COVERAGE OF HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE

Apr 132015

Epilepsy Foundation Lobbying for Medical Cannabis

Steph Sherer spoke at the Epilepsy FoundationToday, almost 14 months since the Epilepsy Foundation issued a call to action on medical marijuana, ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer spoke as part of the organization’s Medical Cannabis Panel on the eve the Foundation's lobby day on behalf of medical cannabis legislation.  

In those 14 months, 15 states have passed new legislation allowing medical use of cannabis or specialized extracts of the plant, with the vast majority specifying epilepsy or other seizure disorders as the reason for the law and frequently the only qualifying condition.

Apr 132015

California Weekly Roundup - April 13, 2015 - Americans for Safe Access

Cannabis seedlingThe trend in cities and counties last week was to crack down on medical cannabis cultivation and distribution. San Joaquin County is moving to ban all cultivation, except by commercially licensed providers. That is bad news for patients who want or need to grow their own. Read ASA’s report on why patient cultivation is so important, and then share it with your local lawmakers to help stop this trend.

Meanwhile, Butte County is fining cultivators, and the City Council in Redding just voted to turn up the heat on growers there. The Mayor in San Jose is still pressuring dispensaries, and the police department in Pasadena just raided a reputable testing lab. The LA City Attorney says he has closed over 500 dispensaries there, but hundreds more not qualified under the city’s ordinance are still open.

Read all the news and find out about medical cannabis events, hearings, chapter meetings, and court support dates in ASA’s California Weekly Roundup for Monday, April 13, 0215. 

Apr 102015

Take Action Washington! House Vote on Medical Cannabis Bills is Today! - Americans for Safe Access

Action_Alert.jpgToday is a BIG day in Olympia.  The medical cannabis bill, SB 5052, is scheduled for a floor vote in the Washington State House of Representatives. Now is the time to act.

A bipartisan group of leaders introduced the Patient Protection amendment to the most recent version of the bill last night, and we need your help to get the votes to get this amendment included!

Click here to send an email to your Representatives asking them to vote YES on the Patient Protection amendment (5052-S2 AMH APPL BLAC 080). Without this amendment included in the final House version of the bill, we are asking Representatives to vote NO on SB 5052.

Apr 082015

Reps. Rohrabacher and Farr Send Letter to DOJ to Cease Federal Prosecutions - Americans for Safe Access

ASA's Steph Sherer speaks at a press conference with Reps. Sam Farr and Paul Broun, joined with former KF5 defendant, Larry Harvey.

Today, U.S. Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Sam Farr (D-CA) sent a letter Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice questioning whether the continued medical marijuana prosecutions being waged by Department are in compliance the spending medical marijuana restriction in the DOJ budget. The Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment was included in the final budget bill that President Obama signed in December. Despite this amendment, DOJ has continued to press forward with prosecuting state-legal medical marijuana conduct in several states, such as the Kettle Falls Five in Washington State and forfeiture actions against Berkeley Patients Group, Harborside, and others in California. 

Today's letter clarifies the intent of the amendment and respectfully insists that the federal prosecutions must end against state-legal medical marijuana conduct. In a press release today, Rohrabacher said, “the continuing prosecution of these cases represents a clear defiance of the will of the people, as represented by the United States Congress. Good people, as a result, are victimized by their own government.” Farr added, “No reasonable person would agree with the Department’s interpretation of the amendment. The DOJ can try to parse its wording but Congress was perfectly clear: Stop wasting limited funds attacking medical marijuana patients.” However, DOJ spokesman Patrick Rodenbush has said the amendment doesn’t apply to cases against individuals or organizations, but merely stops the Department from “impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws.”

The amendment states that DOJ may not use funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. While DOJ appears to be taking an extraordinarily narrow view of "implementation," it is abundantly clear from the House floor debate that the amendment was intended to protect state-legal medical marijuana conduct from federal interference (see below):

Apr 082015

ASA Activist Newsletter - Apr 2015 - Americans for Safe Access

ASA Activist NewsletterASA's new Activist Newsletter reports on the latest developments affecting medical cannabis patients and advocates.

In this month's issue, you'll learn about historic new bills in Congress, Georgia's new medical cannabis law, the new international medical cannabis patients coalition that is pressuring the UN for global change, and developments in the Kettle Falls Five case.

You'll also see some of what happened at ASA's exciting National Unity Conference and Lobby Day in Washington DC,  and learn who was honored with the 2015 ASA Excellence Awards.  Read all about it now.

Apr 072015

The Dr. Oz Show Asks Americans To Start Talking About ‘Marijuana as Medicine’ - Americans for Safe Access

Today people from around the world highlighted the importance health awareness by celebrating World Health Day. Among the many great public awareness efforts conducted today we would like to thank the Dr. Oz Show for issuing a PSA calling for a new dialogue on medical marijuana.

Apr 062015

California Weekly Roundup - April 6, 2015 - Americans for Safe Access

Assembly Member Marc LevineThe California Assembly Health Committee will vote tomorrow on AB 258, ASA-sponsored legislation that will help to reduce needless suffering and preventable death by protecting medical cannabis patients from discrimination in the organ transplant process. Patients are routinely denied a place on the national organ transplant list when they test positive for cannabis use – even legal doctor-recommended medical cannabis. Patients have already died after being removed from the list, and others are in danger right now.

AB 258, by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael), will prevent anyone from being denied an organ transplant based solely on his or her legal medical cannabis use. We need your help today to be sure this important bill gets over this first legislative hurdle.

If you have not done so already, sign the petition to support AB 258. If you have already signed, please recruit at least one more person to join you.

There is no time to lose. I will be presenting the final count to the committee tomorrow at 1:30 PM in room 4202 in the State Capitol Building. You can watch the hearing online at http://www.calchannel.com

Apr 022015

Pretrial Motion Based on Congressional Spending Bill May Get Traction in State Medical Cannabis Case - Americans for Safe Access

Patient_Protest_CA.jpgSan Diego, CA - Yesterday in court, absent their clients, attorneys Michael J. McCabe and Heather Bugan argued a motion to dismiss the charges in a medical cannabis case. The argument was based on a much-publicized federal spending bill that is proving promising for cannabis patients.  The congressional spending bill – which has language that restricts the use of federal funds to enforce cannabis laws in states with medical cannabis programs – was signed into law in December of 2014. The bill lists all U.S. States with medical cannabis programs and California is one of them.

Ms. Bugan and Mr. McCabe argued the DEA had no authority to apply for a search warrant which led to a raid on their client’s property because it interferes with California’s medical cannabis program and violates a congressional directive. Based on reports and testimony, DEA Special Agent Sharp filled out an affidavit to obtain a search warrant, but did not disclose important information including the cannabis patient status of defendant, Winston Ludlam.  Sharp gave the sworn statement to San Diego Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh to sign. This happened in January, well after the congressional budget restrictions went into place.  Mr. McCabe plans to use a Franks Hearing to get to the truth about the affidavit.