Pages tagged "Washington"


Washington Advocacy

ASA relies on the strength of our grassroots activists to fight for medical cannabis at the local and state levels. The best way for new advocates to get involved is by joining or starting a chapter to work on local issues. If there are not any local resources near to you, consider starting your own official ASA Chapter or Action Group!

Chapter:

ASA Washington

Contact: Kristin Nevedal, Washington State Coordinator
Location: Washington State
Email: Kristin@safeaccessnow.org
Phone: (202) 857.4272 x.106
Like ASA Washington on Facebook
Meeting Info: On a quarterly basis, ASA-Washington's monthly meetings are held at a rotating location outside the Seattle vicinity to ensure that patients throughout Washington are adequately served. Please send an email to address above to receive updates via ASA-WA's mailing list. Be sure to mention if you are willing to host a meeting in your area.


Three remaining Kettle Falls Five defendants found guilty of manufacturing less than 100 plants, likely to appeal

In an unexpected verdict today, the jury in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State, known as the Kettle Falls Five, acquitted the three remaining defendants of all but one charge of manufacturing less than 100 marijuana plants. The charge carries no mandatory minimum sentence and defendants Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 56, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, and daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 36, remain free until sentencing on June 10th at 10am.

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Government continues prosecution despite Congressional ban on interfering with implementation of state law

The Kettle Falls 5Trial starts Wednesday in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State known as the Kettle Falls Five. The Obama Administration is aggressively pursuing marijuana trafficking charges against a family of patients who claim to have been growing for themselves in full compliance with Washington State's medical marijuana law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is also choosing to try them in defiance of a recent Congressional ban on DOJ interference in the implementation of state law.

What: Trial of the Kettle Falls Five, medical marijuana patients growing for themselves in eastern Washington State
When: Jury selection begins Wednesday, February 25th at 8:30am and the trial is expected to run until next week
Where: Room 902, Thomas S. Foley U.S. Courthouse, 920 West Riverside Avenue, Spokane, WA 99201

Last week, the federal government agreed to dismiss charges against Larry Harvey, 71, who has been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, but fought against the dismissal of charges against the remaining four defendants. Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas O. Rice denied a motion to dismiss the charges against the Kettle Falls Five based on DOJ funding restrictions established last year by Congress, however the defendants have vowed to appeal.

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California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is the wrong place for medicine

Member Tom AmmianoAB 1894, a bill by California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), is designed to better regulate commercial medical cannabis activity in California. That is long overdue, and Assembly Member Ammiano is to be commended on his leadership on the issue. Unfortunately, the bill would make cannabis the only medicine with regulations written and enforced by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), the same agency that enforces the state’s alcohol laws.

Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization, believes ABC is the wrong agency to entrust with decisions related to medical care and access. There are good reasons why ABC does not control the operation of pharmacies or the distribution of antibiotics. The enforcement-minded culture at ABC may lead to regulations that limit access to medical cannabis and do little or nothing to promote patient safety, quality control, clinical research, and patients’ rights. These health care issues are more typically addressed in other parts of the Department of Consumer Affairs or the Department of Public Health.  Furthermore, the deputized peace officers who enforce ABC’s regulations are in no way trained to address medical cannabis in the context of healthcare or inclined to respect patients’ needs; on the contrary, many may view it as controlling a vice.

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Warning from Washington: Alcoholic Beverage Control Will Ruin Medical Marijuana in California

California legislators will vote Tuesday on a bill that would regulate the production and distribution of medical marijuana (cannabis) across the state. AB 1894, the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Control Act, was introduced by Assembly member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) and bring strict controls to how medical cannabis is grown, manufactured and sold in California. And, while patients should benefit from statewide regulations aimed at improving the quality and safety of their medicine, giving authority to the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC), as AB 1894 does, will spell disaster for the patient community in California and ignores the problems of its neighbor to the north, Washington State.

Proponents of Initiative 502, Washington State's legalization measure, promised medical cannabis patients in the lead up to the vote that their longstanding rights would not be impacted. Yet, soon after the initiative passed, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (LCB), an administrative agency that looks like California's ABC, recommended legislators do away with Washington's 16-year-old medical cannabis law and empower the LCB to oversee all marijuana activity. The prime motivation for this? The medical cannabis market represents a perceived threat to the state's expected tax revenues from I-502, which are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

To many unaware public officials, the idea of rolling the medical cannabis market into the recreational marijuana market seemed to make sense. It's all marijuana after all, right? Wrong! The needs and rights of patients would be ignored under the authority of a liquor-based regulatory agency, and evidence of this can be seen in Washington.

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ASA’s DC Conference is underway!

Photo: Jim Tozzi, former OMB and regulatory expert, is the first speaker at the ASA conf @safeaccess #unity14 #mmot #mmjASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference is underway at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in the heart of Washington, DC. More than two hundred and fifty patients, scientists, industry workers, and other stakeholders will meet for a second day today, before taking their message to the halls of Congress tomorrow afternoon.

The opening speaker yesterday morning acknowledged that the standing-room only crowd might be surprised to see someone like him at a conference like this. Jim Tozzi, PhD., who holds a Doctorate degree in Economics and Business Administration from the University of Florida, is a national expert in the politics and practice of government regulation. Dr. Tozzi is an influential player in Washington, DC. He worked for five consecutive Presidential Administrations, including service as the senior regulatory policy official at the White House Office of Budget and Management; and was appointed to the Administrative Conference of the United States, the administrative agency responsible for overseeing the federal regulatory process.

Dr. Tozzi is also the author of the Data Quality Act, a law that requires government regulation to be based on good science. ASA sued the Department of Health and Human Services using the Data Quality Act in 2004. Although that lawsuit was ultimately unsuccessful, it marked an important milestone in our efforts to influence the administrative agencies in hopes of harmonizing federal policies with the laws of the states that already permit medical cannabis use. It was also the beginning of an important association between Dr. Tozzi and ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. Steph regards this unlikely ally as a mentor, and when a reporter asked Dr. Tozzi in 2004 what he thought of Steph’s work, he replied “She is doing God’s work.”

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Ask your US Representative to sign Rep. Blumenhauer's letter

US Representative Earl Blumenhauer (D-OR) is sending a letter to President Obama asking him to follow his recent comments on cannabis and its classification under federal law with action. Will you call your US Representative today and ask him or her to support this effort by signing Representative Blumenhauer’s letter?

Click here to find contact information for your US Representative and some talking points to help with the short phone call.

President Obama told a reporter that cannabis was no more dangerous than alcohol on January 27. When asked about that comment by a CNN reporter a few days later, the President said it was up to Congress to decide which drugs belong on Schedule I – a classification reserved for dangerous drugs with no medical value. It is encouraging to hear the President taking a relatively enlightened view of the safety of cannabis and raising the question about its classification under federal law. But we need him to go further.

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Representative Sherry Appleton Joins With Coalition of Patient Advocates to Defend Washington’s Medical Cannabis Law

Seattle, WA -- Patients, doctors and caregivers have formed a powerful coalition to keep medical cannabis from being eliminated in the face of Initiative 502 implementation -- and to prove they mean business, the group has introduced a bill on the opening day of the 2014 Legislative session.

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The New Battleground In Washington State

Kari_LCB_hearing.jpgThe eyes of the world are on Washington right now. Together with Colorado, we are the guinea pigs in a grand experiment to legalize marijuana. No other state has done this before and there’s bound to be some mistakes along the way.

The first big stumbling block is finding a way to merge Washington’s existing medical marijuana program with the new recreational market. Because the assignment is so complex, the Legislature appointed a work group to study the issue and make recommendations by January 1
st.

The task force is comprised of officials from the Department of Health and the Department of Revenue with the Liquor Control Board leading the charge. To its credit, the LCB has done a decent job implementing I-502.  When it comes to its draft recommendations for medical marijuana, however, the LCB is either naïve about the specific needs of patients or willing to go to great lengths to dominate the marketplace.

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Recommendations are part of statewide public comment period, culminating with Nov. 13th public hearing

Seattle, WA -- Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) filed recommendations yesterday for the Washington State legislature, based on a series of patient and provider stakeholder meetings held last week in Bellingham, Olympia, Seattle, Spokane, and Yakima. The stakeholder input, which strongly urges the legislature to strengthen and preserve the rights of medical marijuana patients in Washington, is a response to last month's recommendations from the Liquor Control Board (LCB) and the Departments of Revenue and Health, as part of a statewide public comment period culminating with a public hearing on November 13th in Lacey, Washington.

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