You Can Help Pass National Cannabis Legislation

August 09, 2016 | Beth Collins

There is increasing evidence that cannabis is medicinally useful in treating chronic pain which, unlike opioids, has no documented cases of overdose.  However, doctors continue to prescribe them for pain, and the abuse of and deaths from opioids have reached epidemic proportions in the United States.  So, Americans for Safe Access created the document: Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment: A Viable Strategy to Address the Opioid Crisis to educate and inform legislators of the growing need for an alternate treatment for the millions of patients suffering from pain every day.

Congress has taken notice of the opioid epidemic, and in July President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, aimed at curbing abuse of heroin and other drugs. Not only is it significant that Congress has passed comprehensive addiction legislation, but it is also the first time Congress has ever supported long-term addiction recovery.  However, the bill did not include medical cannabis as part of its approach.

This current Congressional interest in and discussion around opioids and addiction provides a unique opportunity for us to gain support to pass the Compassionate Access Research Expansion and Respect the States (CARERS) Act.  And we need YOU to help leverage this document to help us pass this important piece of legislation!!!

Congress is on summer break, and you can get meetings with them IN YOUR DISTRICT!

Here’s what to do:

We know that meeting with your Representatives can be intimidating. So here are some talking points to help prep you for your meeting:

Talking Points on Opioids and Medical Cannabis

  • Research shows cannabis as safe and effective for treating certain types of chronic pain conditions, with over 9,000 patient/years of data from modern clinical studies

  • On average, 46 people die each day (16,000 per year) from prescription opioid overdose, while there has never been a recorded fatal cannabis overdose

  • According to the Journal of American Medicine, medical cannabis states have experienced about 25% fewer opioid overdoses compared to states that do not allow safe and legal access to medical cannabis for patients

  • The Center for Disease Control has advised clinicians against testing for cannabis as criteria for eligible care and warned clinicians that dismissing a patient from care based solely on a urine drug test result could have adverse consequences for the patient’s safety

  • While cannabis is often portrayed as a “gateway drug,” it actually appears to be more of an “exit drug” as opioid-dependent patients have been able to reduce or eliminate their use of opioids through medical cannabis therapy

Talking Points on The CARERS Act

  • While everyone can agree that we need more research on medical cannabis, patients today should not have to needlessly suffer while waiting for the fruit of the research to provide them with any benefit

  • It takes the FDA an average of 9 years to approve a new drug, but it only takes approximately 2-4 weeks for a medical cannabis patient with chronic pain to be approved by a state program and have access to purchasing the substance from a regulated dispensary

  • No state would be forced to adopt a medical cannabis program under CARERS, but the states that have initiated programs could focus on product safety and improved outcomes rather than avoiding federal prosecution

  • Allowing states to set their own medical cannabis laws is a cost-neutral approach for the federal government to further address the opioid crisis

This is a HUGE opportunity for you to make a difference in National Cannabis Policy!! Schedule your meeting today!!!



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