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Let's Make 2023 the Year of the Patient!
This year Americans for Safe Access celebrated our 20-year anniversary. During 2022, I spent a lot of time reconnecting with ASA members and supporters. One common thing I heard from everyone was despair about the state of medical cannabis in the U.S.
On paper, it looks like medical cannabis policy is doing well. 38 States with medical cannabis programs, 93% support nationwide, 5 million legal medical cannabis patients, and even a federal research bill passed by two traditionally anti-cannabis Senators. But on the ground, we see medical cannabis programs corroding along side adult-use programs, fewer bills passing to improve state medical cannabis programs, millions of people still left without access, and a lack of movement for federal protections.
I am also disheartened by these realities, but I have not given into despair because I know that we as advocates are partially responsible for the current state of medical cannabis policy. Today, ASA is operating on the smallest budget we have had since 2004 and we are seeing fewer people are taking actions, contacting their elected officials, or writing letters to the editor about medical cannabis policy.
At this year's Unity Conference, I gave a presentation on “Celebrating 20 Years of Advocacy” which you can watch here! This presentation is a great reminder of the impact that ASA and patient advocates can have when we are motivated, inspired, and funded!
Because of the work of this very special organization, its members, and the brave patient advocates, the world has changed, for many. As of today, the DEA has stopped raiding and persecuting medical cannabis patients and their providers, 5 million patients have legal access, DEA has stopped talking about Gateway theory and psychosis, and even the UN recognizes cannabis as medicine. We have product safety and testing protocols for cannabis, 38 states, and 3 territories have medical cannabis programs, CBD is legal, 95% of the population believes medical cannabis should be legal, and we have a herbal monograph. The last 3 Presidents have said we “should look into” the scheduling of cannabis, Grassley and Diane Feinstein sponsored and passed a bill on cannabis research, and NIDA is looking into the benefits of medical cannabis. We have created nearly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., people know about other cannabinoids than just THC, over 65 countries have been able to skip state-by-state models and pass federal legislation, there is accredited continuing medical education, there are over 1,000 registered studies at clinicaltrials.gov, and the President of the United States has said no one should go to jail for cannabis.
So, my request for you in 2023 is to help ASA make this the year of the medical cannabis patient! Join me in recommitting to safe access for all!
Please consider making an end-of-year donation to Americans for Safe Access so we can hit the ground running in 2023!
Happy New Year!
PS If you need some inspiration on what you can do in 2023 we have made 2022 Unity Conference available online including Reclaiming Patients Role in Cannabis Policy.
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