Resources for Policy Makers Policy Shop

Letter from ASA Director of Government Affairs, Mike Liszewski 

Welcome legislative and regulatory staff, as well as citizen lobbyists. Whether you are working on a local ordinance, implementing statewide regulations, or passing landmark Congressional legislation, the materials here will help you with your goals in creating medical cannabis programs that are focused on patient wellbeing and community safety.

For those working on passing new laws or reforming existing programs, this is the place for you. In this section you will find materials that will help you draft and implement well-regulated medical cannabis programs that serve the best needs of patients, such as Legislating Compassion analysis, ASA’s legislative testimony, and model legislation.

ASA’s perspective is based upon the experience of over a decade of working directly with legislatures, researchers, physicians, and medical cannabis patients. Often times a legislative or regulatory agency that has the best interests does not have experience with medical cannabis, and falls prey to imposing needless restrictions or bureaucratic hurdles that inhibit the patients in their constituency in benefiting from their physician-recommended therapy. In fact, well-meaning rules can actually cause physicians to base their decisions on politics rather than medical evidence. Other times, certain impositions on the businesses that provide medical cannabis to patients may have unintended consequences On the other hand, inexperienced legislators and regulators may not be aware of best practices on training staff, medical cannabis business management, and lab testing. ASA’s materials can help you create balanced systems that allow physicians to treat their patients based on the patient’s and general public’s best interest.

For regulators and activists working on implementing enacted laws, ASA’s Regulating Program Guide was created to help you with crafting regulations that will promote the wellbeing of patients by making sure that fees are kept at reasonable levels to sustain programs while not becoming cost-prohibitive to patients. Additionally, this guide highlights other areas of regulation to help sensible rules for the operation of medical cannabis dispensaries, including training and certification for dispensary employees.

ASA strives to make sure that our materials are always up to date and as accurate as possible. If you see anything that seems out of date or may not be accurate, please be sure to let us know by emailing

Thank you, and best of luck in your efforts to make safe and legal access to medical cannabis a reality for patients.

Michael Liszewski, J.D.

Director of Government Affairs

In This Section

What is the Policy Shop?

Utilizing ASA’s eleven years of experience in implementing medical cannabis laws and our “Legislating Compassion” and “Regulating Compassion” policy tools, ASA staff offer patient advocates and policy makers legislative and regulatory analysis, amendments for legislation and regulations, strategy advice, campaign development and support, and targeted lobbying materials.


ASA conducts and compiles research on issues affecting medical cannabis patients across the country.

Legislating Compassion: State by State Comparison

In the early days of the national movement for medical cannabis, advocates focused on the criminal justice aspects of the issue. Protecting patients and cultivators from arrest and prosecution was, out of necessity, an almost singular priority. As medical cannabis moves into the mainstream, the range of priorities is growing to include defining functional access models, protecting patients' civil rights, ensuring quality controls, and other public health and safety issues.

Model Legislation

This is ASA's principles of Legislating Compassion put into legislative form. This template for state-level legislation includes criminal and civil protections for patients. It also allows for personal cultivation and a dispensing center program. Our Dream Bill!

Guide to Regulating Industry Standards

As states continue to introduce laws providing patients with access to medical cannabis, now more than ever patients, caregivers and health care providers are looking for a way to secure reliable, high-quality medical cannabis products. In 2011, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) began to work with the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA),the principal association and voice of the herbal products industry since 1982,to bring their knowledge and expertise to the medical cannabis industry.

AHPA Industry Standards

Founded in 1982, AHPA is the oldest of the non-profit organizations that specializes in service to the herbal industry. It is the voice of the herbal products industry and the recognized leader in representing the botanical trade. With more than 300 members, AHPA's membership represents the finest growers, processors, manufacturers, and marketers of botanical and herbal products.

Pending State Legislation

Pending State Medical Marijuana Legislation.

ASA’s Analysis and Public Comment

Over the years ASA has weighed in on state and local legislation and regulations. Look in this section to see if ASA has already responded to legislative proposals in your area.

ASA Policy Positions

Learn about ASA's policy position on medical marijuana