Blog Voices from the Frontlines
By David Matthau for New Jersey 101.5
"What we’re finding is that in states that have medical cannabis programs that allow recommendations for chronic pain, we’re actually seeing a drop in opioid deaths by as much as 25 percent." - Steph Sherer
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said he was “astonished” by claims that legal marijuana could solve the opioid crisis devastating the nation. However, a new study firmly linked legalized weed to decreased opioid abuse and overdoses.
By Julia Wick for LAist
"We're really pleased that they've created the commission. I think it will work better for the city to have this distinct commission, rather than tasking already overburdened agencies with a huge new program." - Sarah Armstrong
Tennessee patients who need access to medical cannabis will have to continue waiting. Despite the opportunity to pass a bill that would have legalized medical cannabis in Tennessee, lawmakers, particularly in the Senate were apprehensive to move the bill forward. Instead, lawmakers elected to form a task force to determine the path towards legalizing medical cannabis in the State.
Patients should not have to continue to wait for medicine they need.
On Thursday, March 16th, Virginia Governor McAuliffe signed Senate Bill 1027 into law allowing the production and distribution of cannabidiol oil (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) with up to 5% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for patients with intractable epilepsy. Unlike the signing of SB1235 and HB1445 in 2015 (providing an affirmative defense for possession of the oils), which took place in a reporter-packed room surrounded by the children and parents who had lobbied for the bill, the signing of SB1027 went relatively unnoticed by the media. However, it remains a significant move forward in the conservative state.
Despite its promising beginnings, the medical cannabis program in Maryland has suffered since its implementation in 2013. For the past four years, Maryland's medical cannabis program has been subjected to repeated legislative changes, an extensive public debate over establishing a regulatory structure, and a large applicant pool for licenses. Patients are still awaiting access.
It is now possible that these patients may be forced to wait even longer. Several bills have been introduced in the Maryland Senate that could postpone a functioning system for distribution of medical cannabis even longer. For many who are eligible to use medical cannabis, each day without medicine can be both costly and painful.
In the March 2017 issue:
- ASA’s Annual Report on State Programs Finds Improvements
- DEA Yields to Pressure, Removes Misinformation on Cannabis
- House Cannabis Bills Introduced, Senators Pressure AG Sessions
- LA Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Cannabis Regulation
- ASA and PFC to Contribute to International Cannabis Standards
- New Location for ASA National Unity Conference
- ASA Activist Profile: Dana Ulrich, Pennsylvania
- ACTION ALERT: Send ASA’s Access Report to Your State Officials
By Daniel M. Jiminez for the Record-Bee
“Statements like these from the Attorney General are factually inaccurate. Sessions needs to stop spreading unfounded, unscientific theories about medical marijuana and take the time to actually meet the millions of Americans that are benefiting from its use before making comments about it being over-hyped.” - Steph Sherer
Map: How do state medical marijuana laws compare? Advocates give report card - Americans for Safe Access
By Alicia Wallace and Polly Washburn for The Cannabist
The majority of U.S. states now have a medical marijuana law in place, but the laws don’t yet go far enough, a national medical marijuana patient advocacy group says.
Americans for Safe Access recently released the latest iteration of its “Medical Marijuana Access in the United States” annual report card, in which the organization conducts a state-by-state analysis of medical marijuana laws and programs.
WASHINGTON DC -- Earlier today, Attorney General Jeff Sessions told reporters that “I think medical marijuana has been hyped, maybe too much.”
In reaction to Sessions’ comments, Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, issued the following statement:
More than 85% of the U.S. population live in states with medical cannabis laws, and over 2 million Americans are benefiting from its use. These laws address the healthcare needs of patients who benefit from cannabis-based treatments, often where conventional medications have failed. Patient populations include people living with or treating cancer, HIV/AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, Crohn’s Disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), epilepsy, severe childhood epilepsy disorders such as Dravet Syndrome, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, and a myriad of other conditions.
Statements like these from the Attorney General are factually inaccurate - in January, the National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering released a report that reviewed over 10,000 research articles, which states there is conclusive, moderate, and substantial evidence for benefits of cannabis in several conditions. Sessions needs to stop spreading unfounded, unscientific theories about medical marijuana and take the time to actually meet the millions of Americans that are benefitting from its use before making comments about it being over-hyped.