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Action, Policy and Advocacy
- In January 2021, ASA began the “What Can Joe do?” campaign urging presidential action on a variety of medical cannabis reform items which could be achieved by executive action alone. Thousands of our advocates took action to call or email the White House, the DOJ, VA, HUD or OPM and demand these simple fixes to improve medical cannabis access. Unfortunately the Biden administration has failed to address our demands.
- In 2021, ASA held its 9th annual National Medical Cannabis Unity conference, No Patient Left Behind, which was once again held virtually due to covid. Highlights of panels and presentations from ASA’s 9th annual conference include removing barriers to housing, healthcare and employment; kids and cannabis; controlling cannabis cost; federal standards for testing; changing federal law; and addressing veterans’ issues.
- In 2021, ASA provided comments to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) in response to the White House’s request for comments issued on July 7. The focus of the request for public input was on the impact of federal drug control policy on equity communities. ASA’s comment letter addressed the challenges faced by patients using medical cannabis ranging from access, patient rights and civil protections to affordability, safety and consistency of cannabis medicine. The letter also raises the need for ONDCP leadership in reorganizing the agendas of federal departments and agencies to facilitate a pathway to federally-sanctioned cannabis medicine, and reform federal drug policies that have disproportionately harmed equity communities.
- In 2021, ASA launched a campaign to help implement California’s SB311 or “Ryan’s Law,” which requires all healthcare facilities in the state to allow terminal patients to use cannabis on site. ASA notified state facilities that the law goes into effect January 1, 2022, and provided tools to help them comply. ASA created resources for physicians and their patients to help navigate the new law, including information on patient requirements, links to sample written recommendations, and CME courses on cannabis. For patients who encounter facilities refusing to comply, ASA has set up an online reporting system and a designated email account [email protected]
- In 2021, in response to the introduction of a draft cannabis reform bill by Chuck Schumer, ASA completed a detailed analysis of the language and returned to offer the Senator’s office a whole report of proposed improvements to ensure that no patient is left behind by efforts to expand cannabis legalization. Responding to bills and offering critiques and improvements is a very important component of our policy work.
- In 2021, following a mass outcry caused by the Olympics banning sprinter Sha-Carri Richardson and a targeted petition from ASA advocates, the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed to “revisit” their cannabis ban. Though it will take time, we appreciate this agency taking steps to bring their policies into accordance with the modern medical science of cannabis.
Education, Training, and Product Safety
- In 2021, PFC established a Risk Management Committee whose purpose is to identify risks to the PFC program including risk to impartiality and confidentiality. As an independent program, PFC must identify risks that could affect the impartiality of the assessments conducted and implement policies and procedures to prevent risk.
- In 2021, PFC added new members to the Review Board to further strengthen the expertise of its members. The PFC Review Board is tasked with approving or denying certifications and ensuring that PFC is operating according to its policies and procedures. New to the PFC Review Board are Holly Johnson, PhD who is the Chief Scientific Officer for the American Herbal Products Association; Eric Strong, an expert in finance and research; Chris Day, founder of Project Evolve; Elan Sudberg, CEO of Alkemist Labs; and Deborah Miran, former commissioner of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.
- In 2021, PFC provided COVID safety training to National Expungement Week volunteers. National Expungement Week is a nationwide event that focuses on assisting community members with getting their criminal records expunged for those that were convicted of crimes related to cannabis that they would no longer be charged with.
- In December 2021, due to a spike in robberies hitting cannabis businesses across the U.S, ASA created a Robbery Preparedness Guide to aid businesses in developing plans to stay safe during robberies and adopt policies to help prevent robberies and burglaries. The guide can be used to help companies have internal conversations among partners, managers, and staff.
- State of the State report: An Analysis of Medical Cannabis Access in the U.S. (2019-2021) This annual report uses a retooled rubric for evaluating state medical cannabis programs from patients’ perspectives and provides policymakers with model legislation and regulations.