WASHINGTON, DC- Several news reports have circulated suggesting that Michele Leonhart, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is resigning. Leonhart has been criticized by medical cannabis advocates as well as members of Congress for her unwillingness to adhere to the Obama Administration's stated policies on medical cannabis. Under Leonhart the DEA led increased raids against medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivators in defiance of guidance from the Department of Justice steering them away from cases that targeted state-legal medical cannabis patients. The legacy of Leonhart includes opposing sentencing guidelines reforms embraced by the Obama Administration and other law enforcement agencies, working to maintain cannabis’ Schedule I status, and claiming that rising drug war violence in Mexico was a sign of success. During a notable Congressional oversight hearing in 2012, Leonhart refused to state if she thought crack or heroin were more dangerous than cannabis. When President Obama stated in a 2014 New York Times interview that he felt cannabis was no more dangerous than alcohol, Leonhart defiantly spoke out against the President.
WASHINGTON, DC- Last night Dr. Sanjay Gupta continued his groundbreaking reporting on medical marijuana with Weed 3, which continued to introduce Americans to new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and document the challenges that continue to slow down progress in this critical area. Weed 3 included important moments like President Obama signaling his support for medical marijuana and documenting the political commitment of Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to reform federal policy on medical marijuana with the CARERS Act. Patient profiles like that of U.S. veteran Sean Kiernan who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms again showed Americans that medical marijuana can have tremendous benefits in the lives of suffering patients.
“CNN’s Weed 3 showed how patient advocates are fighting for and winning the right to safe access to medical marijuana for themselves as well as researchers,” said Steph Sherer executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Political leaders like President Obama, Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul are supporting medical marijuana reform because they understand the huge difference it can make in patient’s lives.”
WASHINGTON, DC- Over the last two years Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reporting has been truly groundbreaking in mainstreaming the benefits of medical marijuana. Dr Gupta has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical marijuana products into the living rooms of millions of Americans.
“Watching CNN’s Weed was the first time many Americans saw everyday people benefiting from medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Seeing how much good medical marijuana can do has lead to an outgrowth in activism that has helped create new laws at the state level and is laying the foundation for important federal legislation.”
On April 19th, CNN will premiere the third installment of their documentary series on medical marijuana Weed 3 documenting the ongoing developments in what Dr. Gupta has declared a “medical marijuana revolution.” The following day-- on April 20th at 7:00pm EST-- patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.
What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.
Featuring: ASA executive director Steph Sherer, PA State Senator Mike Folmer (invited) Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.
When: Monday April 20th 7:00pm EST.
Medical Cannabis Patients Call on Governor Inslee to Use Veto Powers to Protect Patients - Americans for Safe Access
OLYMPIA, WA - Yesterday the Washington State Senate concurred on House amendments to Senate Bill 5052, which regulates medical cannabis. SB 5052 has now passed through the full Washington legislature meaning that the bill will now be sent to Governor Inslee’s desk. Given the final language of the bill the best course of action is for Governor Inslee to protect patients by using his veto powers.
While legislative solutions that would have addressed well-documented concerns from medical cannabis patients, health care professionals, compassionate designated providers, and those in the industry exist, they have been not been incorporated into the bill’s language.
“As it stands, SB 5052 contains a number of sections that would undermine the ability of patients to maintain their access to a steady supply of essential cannabis products,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “These extreme restrictions mean the end of medical cannabis in Washington in the way that patients have come to rely on.”
OLYMPIA, WA - A bipartisan team of Washington State Representatives has introduced a sweeping amendment to Senate Bill 5052 ahead of an expected vote slated for Friday afternoon. The “Patient Protection Amendment” would make significant improvements to the bill, which has faced stiff opposition from the health care community.
“As currently written, Senate Bill 5052 would recriminalize countless patients and caregivers in Washington. Without meaningful amendments, safe, affordable access to medical cannabis in our state will be restricted significantly,” says Rep. Luis Moscoso (D - Mountlake Terrace). “In a state where marijuana is legal, there should be no uncertainty that the specialty strains and medical products that patients are using today will still be available in the future.
Industry Leaders Advocate Best Practices for Regulation, Labeling and Manufacturing of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp Products
Washington, DC -- The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, in coordination with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), announces the release of a joint statement advocating for implementation of best practices for the regulation of consumable, topical, and inhalant cannabis and hemp-derived products to ensure quality and consumer safety. These best practices were developed with the input of numerous industry experts and establish common language and defined terms for the transparent and accurate labeling of these products to support responsible commerce and informed use of the cannabis plant.
Medical Marijuana Advocacy Group to host Third Annual National Conference in Washington DC, March 27-31
Washington, D.C. -- The country's leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), will hold its third annual national Unity Conference, "Wellness is Winning," in Washington, D.C. on March 27-31, 2015. The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Tuesday, March 31st, ASA will host a press conference at 11am, followed by a lobby day with hundreds of patient advocates.
Federal Judge Rejects Justice Department Effort to Imprison Kettle Falls Five Defendants Pending Sentencing
Spokane, WA -- Just one week after three medical marijuana patients were acquitted by a federal jury of all but one charge stemming from the widely watched Kettle Falls Five trial, US District Court Judge Thomas Rice rejected attempts by the Justice Department (DOJ) to imprison the defendants pending sentencing on June 10th. Judge Rice's ruling comes just a day after defense attorneys filed their opposition to the government's pre-sentencing detention effort.
US Senators Introduce Unprecedented, Sweeping Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill Aimed at Protecting Patients
Washington, DC -- Comprehensive medical marijuana legislation was introduced today in the US Senate for the first time in the country's history. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act to end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies. The CARERS Act is endorsed by several advocacy groups including Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which helped Senate authors develop the legislation.
Groups from Thirteen Countries Form New "International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition" to Reform UN Policy
Prague, Czech Republic -- Medical cannabis (marijuana) patients from thirteen countries, including those represented by U.S. advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), established the International Medical Cannabis Patient Coalition (IMCPC) this past week while at the "Medical Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Policy, Research and Medical Practice" conference in Prague from March 4-7th. IMCPC member countries include Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, United Kingdom, and United States.