Pages tagged "Americans for Safe Access (ASA)"


Research Gone Awry

brain-2.jpgNBC’s Today Show camera crew was five minutes away when the producer called to say they were killing the story. They’d looked more closely at the instantly infamous study that claimed to find differences in the brains of 20 casual marijuana users and decided it wasn’t worth talking about. “You’re probably glad,” he said. I told him I was disappointed. The authors’ grossly overstated claims were one thing, but how the findings got turned inside out is important to consider.

The headlines laid out a sensational story: “Even casually smoking marijuana can change your brain,” the Washington Post billed it. “Casual marijuana use linked to brain changes,” said USA Today. Even the Society for Neuroscience couldn’t resist saying “Brain Changes Are Associated with Casual Marijuana Use.”

The only problem was the study said nothing of the sort, as one of its authors, Jodi Gilman, hastened to point out: "The conclusions were modest in the paper — we never say marijuana causes these changes. The media may have given that impression in headlines, but the study doesn't show causation."  That may look like a pretty good job of damage control, except that she slips in the word “changes,” just like all the headlines.

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What’s YOUR New Year’s resolution?

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‘Tis the season for New Year’s resolutions!

We have had an amazing year and we are closer than ever to meeting our national goals. But we still have a lot to do!

As 2014 draws near, it is a good time to look ahead and determine what YOU want to accomplish in the coming year.  At Americans for Safe Access (ASA), one of our New Year’s resolutions is to finally end the federal war on legal medical cannabis patients. In order to accomplish this, we will need to have a committed, informed and resourced field.

Here are three things you can do today to start 2014 on the right track:

 

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Tune in Tonight for Our Live Google Hangout with Leading Medical, Scientific Experts to Discuss New Cannabis Monograph

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Tonight ASA is hosting a Google Hangout at 5:30pm PT (8:30pm ET) with a panel of leading medical and scientific experts to discuss by video the new cannabis monograph from the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), an authoritative compendium of scientific data, including long-awaited standards for the plant's identity, purity, quality, and botanical properties.

What: Google Hangout video discussion with experts on the significance of the recently released Cannabis monograph, followed by a Q&A
When: Today, Thursday, December 12, 2013 at 5:30pm PT (8:30pm ET)
Where: Go to http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_live to join the Google Hangout, which is open to the public.

Featuring: Several authors of the cannabis monograph, including American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Executive Director Roy Upton, RH, DAyu; University of Massachusetts Amherst Professor Lyle Craker, PhD; and cannabis researchers Dr. Michelle Sexton, ND, and Dr. Jahan Marcu, PhD.

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Join ASA today & we might see you in Washington, DC!

Join or renew your ASA memberships today and you'll have a chance to win a free trip to our national conference in Washington, D.C.!

For over a decade, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has been fighting to protect patients' rights to safe and dignified access to medical marijuana. Until ASA stood up for access, the national debate around medical cannabis was focused solely on the legality and ethics of arresting and prosecuting patients for cannabis use. We brought the patient's voice to the table, and shifted the debate to the real concerns of patients: legal access to medicine and patients' civil rights.  But we could not have done all of this without our members.  Membership matters! 

I want to invite you to join our team as a member today. We have kicked off our Fall Membership Drive with a sense of urgency and opportunity for the future. Twenty states and the District of Columbia allow medical cannabis, and more are sure to follow, as federal medical cannabis policy evolves and public opinion shifts. We need your help now more than ever to finally secure safe and dignified access to medical cannabis for everyone who needs it. Can we count on you?

Our members have already helped us do a lot to protect and expand safe access to medical cannabis since patients and caregivers founded ASA in 2002, but we still have a lot to do. Our work won’t be finished until everyone who needs medical cannabis has safe and dignified access, barriers to clinical research come down, and patients’ rights are finally protected everywhere. If you believe in those goals, I want to ask you to join ASA as a paid member or renew your existing membership today. If you become a member during our Fall Membership Drive, you will be entered to win a FREE trip to Washington, DC for the National Medical Unity Conference April 5, 6 & 7.

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Let's Get Jerry Out of Prison!

Jerry Duval (left) with his son Jeremy

Last month, on June 11th, Michigan medical marijuana patient Jerry Duval surrendered to federal authorities to serve a whopping 10-year prison sentence, even though he was never in violation of the state's medical marijuana law. Jerry is a kidney-pancreas transplant recipient who also suffers from heart disease and glaucoma. Nevertheless, the Obama Administration saw fit to arrest, prosecute, and imprison Jerry at a cost of more than $1 million.

This is not just a tragedy for the Duval family, though they were hit hard (as a result of the same case, Jerry's son Jeremy is serving 5 years and the Duvals lost their family farm to forfeiture), it's also an outrage that we have to foot the bill.

However, two other milestones recently occurred that give Jerry and the rest of us hope for his release sooner than planned. Before Jerry even began serving his sentence, attorney Andrew Greenlee of Brownstone filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on behalf of Jerry and his son Jeremy. We'll be watching that one closely.


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National Lawyers Guild Report Condemns Federal Marijuana Policy, Calls for Reclassification of Marijuana for Medical Use

The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) -- the country's oldest and largest public interest and human rights bar organization -- issued a report yesterday addressing the federal government's flawed policy on marijuana. According to its author NLG Senior Researcher Traci Yoder, High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives "analyzes the legalization process under way in the states, suggests strategies to further marijuana legalization initiatives, and highlights current obstacles to ending prohibition."

While significant attention is given to the adult use of marijuana, generally, the report recommends reframing drug use as "a social and public health issue and not a criminal justice problem," something we've been saying for years at Americans for Safe Access. High Crimes also recommends reclassifying marijuana for medical use. Citing the "[m]ounting scientific and anecdotal evidence" of marijuana's therapeutic benefits, the Guild rightly points out that "Rescheduling cannabis would allow for expanded medical research and use under international law."

The NLG report comes days after a report issued by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), detailing the social and economic costs of the federal government's war on medical marijuana. The ASA report entitled What's the Cost? is geared toward educating federal legislators on the consequences of that war, not only in terms of how it affects the prisoners, their families, and thousands of patients, but also how it impacts the average taxpayer and our federal budget.

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Taking your seat at the table in California - August 12

There is an important conversation about medical cannabis happening in Sacramento right now. That conversation will affect how medical cannabis patients get their medicine, who regulates the field, whether or not every community will have safe and dignified access, and more. Will you have a seat at the table? Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and our coalition partners at Californians to Regulate Medical Marijuana (CRMM) want to make sure you do. Join us in Sacramento for an important citizen lobby day at the state Capitol on Monday, August 12, to be heard.

Our previous lobby days have been effective in moving the ball down the field for sensible statewide medical cannabis regulation, but there is still a lot of work to be done to pass a bill this year. The next lobby day comes at a crucial juncture in the legislative process and at a time when grassroots support for moving forward is badly needed. We need to make a strong showing on August 12, so that lawmakers know that voters in their legislative districts support regulation. Otherwise, they will only be hearing from lobbyists representing divergent views on medical cannabis – law enforcement, local government, industry interests, and others. Patients and their advocates need to be part of that conversation, or our interests may be crowded out!

Lawmakers need to hear from you face-to-face. When you register for the California Summer Lobby Day on August 12, ASA will make an appointment for you to meet your state Assemblymember and Senator or his or her staff that afternoon. There are 120 legislative offices to visit. If we are in most or all of those offices on August 12, the impact will be significant. Help us make it happen.

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U.S. Supreme Makes it More Difficult for Federal Judges to Impose Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Federal medical marijuana defendants and those who are particularly vulnerable to federal prosecution can now breathe a little bit easier. On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision in the case of Alleyne v. United States, which has put juries more in control of mandatory minimum sentencing decisions. The Alleyne Court held that because mandatory minimum sentences increase the penalty for a crime, any fact that is necessary to impose the mandatory minimum must be proven to the jury. This decision will not impact every federal medical marijuana case, but it will raise the burden of proof the federal government must bear in order to impose mandatory minimum sentence on patients and providers.

Legal History

Previously, in Apprendi vs. New Jersey (2000), the Supreme Court ruled that under the Sixth Amendment, any fact which could increase the maximum sentence must fact proven to the jury beyond a reasonable amount. However, Apprendi only applied to statutory maximums rather than mandatory minimum sentences.


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What's the Cost?

Did you know that the Department of Justice has already spent nearly a half a billion dollars fighting medical cannabis? Did you know that the Obama Administration spent over half of that money on medical cannabis investigations, paramilitary-style raids, prosecutions, incarceration, and civil asset forfeiture lawsuits? Most Americans do not know these things, but what is worse is that most Members of Congress don't know that either. Can you help Americans for Safe Access (ASA) let them know?

Make a donation of $50 or more to help ASA send copies of our groundbreaking new report "What is the Cost" to every Member of Congress, and we will send you your own copies to give to your Representatives in July.

56 full-color pages filled with facts about the economic and human cost of the federal attack on medical cannabis comprise this timely report. The economic arguments are persuasive, but the report also highlights the human cost of federal enforcement. "What is the Cost" contains moving profiles of the victims of federal enforcement – those who have died for lack of safe access to medicine and those who are in federal prison right now. The report ends with politically-viable solutions to end the federal attack on medical cannabis that Congress could adopt this year.

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Compassionate Idaho is Now a Chapter of ASA

We have Exciting news to share!! Compassionate Idaho is now a chapter of Americans For Safe Access (ASA)! This is exciting for us for a number of reasons but it is an honor to be a chapter of such a renowned organization. ASA has worked at the Federal and State Levels for Years and is Very active in helping protect patients from arrest, prosecution, and forfeiture. They Demand Safe Access for Patients Now! They have even sued our Federal Government to try to reschedule cannabis to a lower level to recognize it's medical value. They take the 'legalization for recreation' out of the debate and focus on the patients and their needs. Currently there is a 'Peace For Patients Campaign' running. Clearly this is a Great fit for Compassionate Idaho and we couldn't be happier about it!

This means a lot to us on many levels. We will have more resources in general. They can help us with fundraisers and campaigns. They can help with training our activists to be Extremely efficient with their tools. They provide access to doctors that are experts in their fields and have vast knowledge for cannabis and the human body. Their 'About' page says it best.

"Founded ASA in 2002, Americans for Safe Access is the largest organization of Patients, medical professionals, scientists, and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis. We engage a multifaceted strategy public education, impact litigation, grassroots development and advocacy, media campaigns, and direct support services.



Until there is safe access, We are Americans for Safe Access."

Whenever someone joins ASA and joins the Compassionate Idaho Chapter we will benefit and so will ASA, and we believe that the Idaho Chapter will be the biggest Chapter for any organization for medical marijuana reform in the state! We will have access and support to educational sources and all of their vast resources. They, in turn, will have a new Chapter in a new State, that is Completely in support of what they do and grateful to have them! We hope that we can help build their network while we expand and educate, and of course, run the petition. By joining ASA you are supporting reform at both the state And Federal Levels. There are several campaigns currently running and we encourage going to their website and learn more about them at: www.americansforsafeaccess.org.

Joining Americans for Safe Access gives us something that has been a LONG time coming! We will now fall under their 501c4!! We can officially say that we are a Non-profit! And so can you when you hit our 'Donate' button! We have operated as a non-profit for a long time and have had our records in order the entire time to prepare for this. The time is here!! So, Please hit the Donate Button!

We have a new 9 Person Board for our Steering Committee with myself, Lindsey Rinehart voted in as Chair, Josh Rinehart voted in as Vice Chair, Sarah Caldwell voted in as Treasurer, James Richardson voted in as Secretary, Lauren Leonard voted in as Vice Secretary, Bill Esbensen as vote in as Outreach, April Brown voted in as Event Coordinator, Jared Dunn voted in as Education Outreach, and Coty Ternes voted in as Technology Specialist. We already have several 'Founding Chapter Members' who helped with the voting process and were part of the nomination pool. Of course we want as many members as possible so Please join ASA Today here and select Idaho. Eventually it will be changed to reflect that Compassionate Idaho is the option and leave room for more chapters. We are hoping to have several sub-chapters throughout the state! A portion of your donation to them will be remitted to us!

Every Compassionate Idaho meeting is now a Compassionate Idaho Chapter of ASA meeting. Every training, every potluck, every educational forum, every Volunteer Meet and Greet. Anything that Compassionate Idaho does also represents ASA!! This is a Huge step forward in reform for medical marijuana in Idaho and we hope that you will join us in our excitement and join today!! Of course you don't Have to be an ASA member to be a Compassionate Idaho Supporter and we don't want Anyone to feel that they can't participate with us due to not having an ASA membership!! Please understand we don't want to lose anyone at all. Joining ASA is Great but if you can't, we certainly understand and still want you to stand with us! Joining ASA will propel us forward but we certainly don't intend on leaving Anyone behind!

Please look for new updates, new posts, new pages on the website, and much more in the Very near future and Please join ASA with us if you can! We would Love to have you in Our Chapter!