Press Releases

Jan 042018

Sessions’ Actions Against Cole Memo Triggers Call to Action from Medical Cannabis Advocates - Americans for Safe Access

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday January 4, 2018

CONTACT: Beth Collins | beth@safeaccessnow.org 571-499-1632

Steph Sherer steph@safeaccessnow.org 510-872-7822

Still Protected by the CJS Amendment, Patients Prepare for A Return to Pre-Cole World

Washington D.C. As first reported by the Associated Press, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is planning on rescinding the 2013 memo created by then Deputy Attorney General James Cole. The Cole Memorandum highlighted eight priorities when it came to the federal enforcement of medical and recreational cannabis laws including preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors and preventing diversion.

A recission of the Cole Memorandum, which deprioritized prosecution of marijuana-related cases allows U.S. Attorneys to use discretion in the cases they prosecute. Sessions, an ardent critic of all forms of marijuana has repeatedly called on Congress to not extend the Commerce, Justice, and Science (CJS) Budget Amendment that provides protections to medical cannabis providers and individuals complying with state law by blocking Department of Justice funds.

“The Attorney General’s decision to rescind the Cole Memo shows his true intentions on cannabis ” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director for Americans for Safe Access.“While the Cole Memo was not perfect, it created a workable framework for states to regulate cannabis. States work within the Cole Memo, not against it. However, it is important to remember that this memo is not what provides protection to patients and providers. They are protected by the CJS Medical Marijuana amendment and it is more important than ever for Congress to renew these protections in the FY2018 Budget.”

Dec 202017

Victory for Veterans as VA Changes Policy on Medical Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access

Washington D.C. —  On December 8, 2017, the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) quietly updated their policy in regards to VA doctors having discussions with veterans about medical cannabis, and clarified VA policy regarding access to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) clinical programs for veterans participating in state approved medical cannabis programs. VHA Directive 2017-1315 replaces an existing directive issued by the VA in 2011 (VHA 2011-004). The 2011 directive technically expired in 2016, but as no new policy had been put in place, VHA 2011-004 remained department policy until the new directive was issued. Most significantly, the new directive emphasizes “[v]eterans must not be denied VHA services solely because they are participating in state-approved marijuana programs.” 

Dec 072017

Improving Medical Cannabis Programs Will Combat Opioid Crisis - Americans for Safe Access

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WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Americans for Safe Access released “Medical Cannabis as a Tool to Combat Pain and the Opioid Crisis: A Blueprint for State Policy.” The blueprint outlines legislative and regulatory solutions related to medical cannabis that states can utilize to combat the opioid epidemic.

Nov 092017

ASA Files Freedom of Information Act Requests - Americans for Safe Access

WASHINGTON, DC — On November 9, Americans for Safe Access, filed two requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for information on any discussions the Commission had about medical cannabis and specifically the only cannabis study referenced in the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis draft final report .

Nov 072017

Medical Marijuana Study: 70 percent of CBD products inaccurately labelled - Americans for Safe Access

Americans for Safe Access Co-Author’s Study in JAMA on Cannabidiol Products

Washington, DC - A new study published this week in JAMA found that nearly 70 percent of all cannabidiol (CBD) products sold online are either over or under labeled, causing potential serious harm to its consumers. The study, co-authored by Jahan Marcu, Ph.D, American’s for Safe Access’ (ASA) Chief Science Officer and Director of Patient Focused Certification (PFC), analyzed 84 CBD products available online from 31 companies.
“This is a wake up call for the CBD industry to standardize their products,” said Dr. Marcu, “CBD product manufacturers need to adopt best practices and accept guidance from AHPA and other groups to improve consistency and safety for consumers. Reaching compliance with existing standards for cannabis-products could help address this issue.”

Oct 312017

Patient Advocates Call on Congress to Act to Preserve Medical Cannabis to Fight Opiate Crisis

Americans for Safe Access Launches Campaign and Declares November 1: National Cannabis as an Option for Pain Day

WASHINGTON, DC — On November 1, Americans for Safe Access, the US Pain Foundation, and approximately 150 advocates will hold a press conference and rally in Washington to encourage Congress and the Administration to consider medical cannabis as an option for pain in order to help mitigate the current opioid overdose crisis that has hit epidemic proportions in our nation. Sister rallies are planned across the country. See AFI list below.

Oct 262017

Trump Declares Opioid Crisis a Public Health Emergency, but Falls Short on Substance - Americans for Safe Access

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Americans for Safe Access to Launch National Campaign to Combat Opioid Deaths and Addiction Nov 1st

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. While this is good news, this declaration does not carry the same weight as the national emergency declaration the President promised in August because it does not include the necessary provisions for new funds which states need to combat the crisis. Nor does the Administration have a substantive plan for helping the states implement a concerted effort to combat the crisis.

Oct 162017

Medical Marijuana Expert Ethan Russo Joins Center of Excellence - Americans for Safe Access

Photograph of Dr. Ethan Russo holding in a foreground a business card with the ICCI logo and his name on it.(Prague, 16th October 2017) International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI) welcomes Ethan Russo, MD as the new Director of Research and Development. ICCI is the first-ever international Center of Excellence for the advancement of cannabis and cannabinoid treatments located in the Czech Republic. ICCI identifies, coordinates, and supports global research priorities for the advancement of cannabis and cannabinoid treatments through a multidiscipline evidence-based approach that incorporates innovative tools and approaches.

Sep 202017

Councilmember David Grosso Sets Example for Local Leadership in Opioid Crisis - Americans for Safe Access

David_Grosso_insert_c_Washington_Blade_by_Michael_Key.jpgWashington D.C. — District of Columbia Councilmember David Grosso introduced improvements to the nation’s capitol’s medical cannabis program yesterday, recognizing the power of cannabis to fight the opioid crisis. The Medical Marijuana Improvement Amendment Act of 2017 reduces major barriers that previously existed in D.C.’s medical cannabis program. Councilmember Grosso is joined by Councilmembers Vincent Grey, Robert White, Jr., and Brianne Nadeau in introducing this important bill.

The legislation, which shares components of model legislation drafted by Americans for Safe Access, increases access to medical cannabis for the residents of the District of Columbia - particularly those who struggle with chronic pain. Significantly, it allows a patient to receive cannabis on the same day a patient is issued a doctor’s recommendation, like any other medicine, and allows for delivery of medical cannabis. It also allows a patient without a primary care physician to self-certify a medical condition through a signed affidavit. Low income patients who struggle to pay for doctor's visits will particularly benefit from these provisions.

Sep 072017

House Committee Blocks Vote to Protect Medical Cannabis Patients - Americans for Safe Access

U.S. House Committee on Rules Blocks Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment

Washington D.C. --  Last night, the House Committee on Rules voted to not allow a floor vote on an amendment which would continue to prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana programs.  The amendment, introduced by Representatives Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has been part of the appropriations package since 2015.