Office of National Drug Control Policy Lifts Public Health Service Review on Marijuana Research - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC - Earlier today the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced they will lift the public health service (PHS) review on marijuana research projects not funded by the federal government. The PHS review process was established in 1999 following a 1998 Institute of Medicine report that called for more in depth scientific research on marijuana. While the process was intended to facilitate greater research today it is broadly recognized as undermining legitimate scientific inquiry.
Senate Vote Reaffirms Congressional Support to End of Federal Interference In State-Level Medical Marijuana Programs - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC- Earlier today the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted for the Mikulski medical cannabis (marijuana) amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 20-10. Senator Barbara Mikulski ‘s (D-MD) amendment to the CJS appropriations bill mirrors the legislative language of the recently passed Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment to the House of Representative CJS bill. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs, removing funding for federal medical cannabis raids, arrests and prosecutions in states where medical cannabis is legal. The Mikulski amendment passed with the bipartisan support of 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans. Today’s vote marks the first time the Senate has voted on state-level medical cannabis programs.
“The success of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment shows a growing acknowledgement that the federal government should not interfere with state medical cannabis programs,” said Steph Sherer Americans for Safe Access Executive Director. “The passage of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment also shows that Senate support exists for the central elements of the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act would make the protections in Mikulski medical cannabis amendment permanent and create a much needed framework for research and federal and state cooperation.”
Sacramento, CA - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) today announced support for AB 266, which would create a comprehensive regulatory structure for California’s landmark medical cannabis program. Earlier today AB 266 passed the California Assembly by a margin of 60-8-12. Last week AB 266 was merged with AB 34 and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) was made lead author of the bill. AB 266 is co-authored by Assemblymembers Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). In addition to supporting AB 266 in its present form, ASA will be working with the General Assembly, California State Senate, patients, and providers to find ways to further improve the bill to optimize the ultimate program that would be created.
Medical Marijuana Patients Applaud House Reauthorization Of Rohrabacher-Farr CJS Amendment - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC- The United States House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis (marijuana) amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 242 to 186. The Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs, removing funding for federal medical cannabis raids, arrests and prosecutions in states where medical cannabis is legal. With the addition of seven states in the last year the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment now covers 39 states and protects access to medical cannabis programs for 275 million citizens in those states.
“The Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment offers crucial protection for medical cannabis patients and the people that provide them with access to much needed medicine,” said Steph Sherer Americans for Safe Access Executive Director. “Having reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to not interfere with state medical cannabis programs it’s now time to move forward and create a framework for federal and state cooperation in medical cannabis by passing the CARERS Act."
Last year the House of Representatives passed the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment by a margin of 219-189 with a strong bipartisan show of support. Lead by the support of Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment remained in the CRomnibus bill that President Obama signed into law. Its passage marked the first time Congress approved a medical cannabis reform since designating cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Today approximately 2.4 million Americans currently utilize medical cannabis programs.
Senate Appropriation Committee Votes To Lift Veterans Administration Gag Order On Medical Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC - In a landslide vote, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to the add the Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA) to the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) Appropriations bill, which sets the budget for the Veterans Administration (VA). The VEAA would end the current gag order preventing VA physicians from recommending or even discussing medical cannabis to veterans in states where medical cannabis programs exist. The bi-partisan amendment was introduced by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and succeeded by a vote margin of 18-12.
Harrisburg, PA - On Tuesday the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 3, a legislative proposal that would create a functional medical cannabis program in the state. Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) co-sponsored the legislation and built up bipartisan support that lead to the bill’s passage by a margin of 40-7.
“The support of so many in the Senate and the many, many advocates has been overwhelming and I cannot thank everyone enough,” said Folmer. “I believe in its present form Senate Bill 3 represents a balance between the advocates who want greater access to medical cannabis and those who continue to have concerns. Hopefully we have established a solid foundation for consideration and deliberation in the House.”
California State Assembly Passes The Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act - Americans for Safe Access
Sacramento, CA - The California State Assembly passed AB 258,The Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, yesterday by a vote of 52 to 8. The bill is authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization.
Medical cannabis patients in California are routinely removed from the organ transplant waiting list if they test positive for cannabis use – even legal doctor-recommended medical cannabis. However, medical research has shown that there is no significant difference in survival rates between medical cannabis patients and non-users who receive an organ transplant.
“Today, I am proud to stand with my Assembly colleagues in support of AB 258, a common sense measure that will protect the lives of legal medical cannabis patients,” said Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael). “With this legislation, California can insure that its residents are provided a fair assessment of their eligibility as an organ transplant recipient.”
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.