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ASA 2017 Accomplishments
This year marked the 15th Anniversary of Americans for Safe Access, working towards our goal to provide safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research. With a new administration, it has been a tumultuous year for ASA and all medical cannabis advocates, but with the help of ASA members and sponsors, we have been able to make considerable progress towards that goal.
With the launch of our End Pain Not Lives campaign, we have successfully helped ensure that medical cannabis is becoming a part of the federal and state discussions and strategies around combating the opioid epidemic.
- ASA worked with local advocates and provided legislative and regulatory analysis and suggestions that facilitated improved regulations and legislation across the country.
- ASA helped pass a bill to allow regulated cultivation and dispensing of CBD and THCA extracts in Virginia.
- ASA welcomed former affiliate, Safe Access Tennessee, as a full ASA chapter and two groups became ASA affiliates: South Carolina Compassionate Care Alliance and TRUCE (Utah).
- ASA successfully lobbied for and provided testimony to the Maryland state legislature to prevent their program from further delays in implementation.
- Released “Medical Cannabis as a Tool to Combat Pain and the Opioid Crisis: A Blueprint for State Policy” which outlines legislative and regulatory solutions related to medical cannabis that states can utilize to combat the opioid epidemic.
- ASA provided elements of pending legislation introduced in the DC Council to enable patients obtain medical cannabis immediately upon doctor certification and receive home delivery.
- ASA coordinated advocates to hold simultaneous rallies across the United States with our Washington, DC rally to call attention the potential of medical cannabis in mitigating the opioid crisis.
- Attended National Council of State Legislators (NCSL) Conference
- Provided Resolution for NCSL regarding medical cannabis as a tool to mitigate state opioid overdose rates.
- ASA assisted in drafting bill and securing patrons for expansion bill in Virginia’s 2018 legislative session.
- ASA secured renewal of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment protecting State medical cannabis programs through September 30, 2018
- ASA published “Medical Cannabis in America - The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book, 115th Congress” to provide members of congress and POTUS the necessary information to make well-informed decisions regarding medical cannabis policy.
- ASA provided speakers for, and helped to organize the press briefing for the CARERS Act of 2017 (H.R.2920 and S.1764)
- ASA helped secure new initial Republican co-sponsors Murkowski (R-AK) and Lee (R-UT)
- ASA delivered our petition, with over 100,000 signatures to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) urging the President to order the DEA to correct false statements about cannabis on their website. Some of the incorrect information was subsequently removed after this and ASA’s Information Quality Act Petition filing in 2016.
- ASA provided questions to Congressional Members for key Senate and House hearings on medical cannabis and the opioid crisis.
- ASA staff met with key Department of Justice (DOJ) official to discuss medical cannabis policy
- ASA’s federal team successfully lobbied Senate offices to pass Senator Leahy’s Commerce Justice and Sciences (CJS) appropriations amendment to continue prohibiting the DOJ from interfering in state medical cannabis programs.
- In a response to the President’s Opioid Commission’s final report which left out the use of medical cannabis as a tool presumably due to a singular National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA) study published several weeks prior to the report, ASA filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to NIDA and ONDCP to discover how and why the study came about.
- ASA held rally on US Capitol grounds to call attention the potential of medical cannabis in mitigating the opioid crisis which followed with visits to key Congressional member offices.
- In coordination with Congressman Rohrabacher, ASA secured numerous co-signers to a letter in support of the CJS appropriations medical cannabis amendment.
- ASA initiated and coordinated a letter delivered to leaders of House and Senate appropriations committees urging them to pass Senator Leahy’s CJS amendment signed by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michael J. Fox Foundation, US Pain Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Tourette Association of America, National Women’s Health Network, Realm of Caring, and Americans for Safe Access.
- ASA launched a petition urging President Trump to formally declare the opioid epidemic a national health emergency.
- ASA Submitted comments to ONDCP regarding the Presidents Opioid Commission’s interim and final reports.
- ASA organized advocate lobby days in Washington, D.C with advocates from Iowa, Georgia, Virginia, and Washington.
- Published six articles regarding medical cannabis policy in the HILL.
- ASA federal team had nearly 100 meetings with Congressional offices.
- ASA submitted formal comments on the medical efficacy of CBD in response to a public request from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA asked for input on CBD and 16 other substances prior to a November meeting of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD).
Patient Focused Certification
- Over 20 new certified businesses
- Launch of online PFC training programs
- Hundreds of professionals trained in the cannabis industry
- 10 (2-4 days each) in-person Trainings in the U.S. and abroad…..online training program launched
- Invited to speak about PFC at the Institute of Pediatrics and the department of Public health for Mexico; also have developed relationship with COFEPRIS the top regulatory agency in Mexico.
- Along with our business certification and training program, PFC expanded services to pre-state assessments, application writing and review, and consultation.
- Forming new U.S. contracts with DE, MD, DC, PA, FL, OH, CA, and U.S. territories for training and certification
- PFC staff and laboratories published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
- Program featured on CW, FOX, and other major news networks
- Links to our PFC webinars series (Ethans webinar)
- Launch of PFC podcast biweekly; ASA’s Patient Focused Podcast
- International Media Coverage on PFC:
- ASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference brought over 200 patients, doctors, researchers and advocates from over 40 states to Washington, DC in April. The fifth annual conference featured three days of talks, trainings and networking, followed by a lobby day that saw advocates hold more than 400 meetings on Capitol Hill with their elected representatives and staffs.