By Johnny Green for Weed News
On March 28, the House Financial Services Committee voted in favor of the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019. The bill would create protections for depository institutions that provide financial services to legitimate cannabis-related businesses, their service providers, and some ancillary businesses, thereby granting state-legal cannabis-related businesses access to the same financial institutions and services upon which other types of business rely. “A vote in the full House has yet to be scheduled, but it is our hope that the bill will make it to the floor relatively quickly,” said Americans for Safe Access (ASA) President and Founder Steph Sherer. Earlier this week, Rep. James McGovern (D-MA), chair of the House Rules Committee, stated “We will guide it to the House floor for a vote, which I think it will pass with an overwhelming vote — Democrats and a lot of Republicans as well. […] I think if we have a strong bipartisan vote, that’ll increase the pressure on the Senate to do something.”
By Brian Lyman for the Montgomery Advertiser
"I think states in the Southeast are starting to understand this is not an east coast/west coast issue, but are adapting the issue to policies and realities in their particular states.” - David Mangone
By Zac Anderson for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Her confidence and persistence are big reasons patients can now smoke cannabis.
Cathy Jordan had just finished dinner and was sitting in her Parrish home one evening last week when her attorney called.
“He said: ‘Well, Cathy, the governor signed the bill. We won,’” Jordan said as she recounted how she learned that smoking medical marijuana was legal in Florida.
After 22 years as one of the leading advocates for medical marijuana in Florida, Jordan finally could claim victory. She never doubted the day would come.
“I always knew we were going to win,” she said.
By Kelly Fisher for the Nashville Tennessean
Mathew Binkley said a year and a half ago, it would have been “crazy” to think of himself going before a crowd and promoting medical marijuana.
Binkley, a senior systems administrator at the Vanderbilt Advanced Computing Center, attended Pleasant View Christian School for 12 years and served on its board of directors. He learned, “drugs are drugs, and drugs are bad, and that was all there was to it.”
But on Dec. 12, 2017, Binkley’s brother had a seizure and was diagnosed with brain cancer. Binkley said he went into “scientist mode” and started researching ways to help. Repeatedly, he found that medical marijuana showed “extraordinary” effects against brain cancer. But it’s not available in Tennessee.
“Eighty-one percent of Tennesseans support medical marijuana,” Binkley said. “Eighty-one percent of Tennesseans consider themselves Christian. So, supporting medical marijuana is about as politically risky as supporting church attendance. And yet, our legislature refuses to pass it.”
Via Hawaii 24/7
“The Marijuana Data Collection Act represents a critical foundation to larger cannabis reform. Without quality data, it is impossible to move policy forward. The National Academies has already recognized the therapeutic potential of cannabis, and we trust that the data obtained by this bill will show that opponents of medical cannabis have been hiding behind weak science and even weaker talking points.” - David Mangone
By Sonja Soderlund for CBD Hacker
“It is incumbent upon consumers to look into the products that they are purchasing and ask questions about the product. Has the cannabinoid content been verified by an independent testing lab? Has the product been tested for other contaminants such as microbes and pesticides?” - Heather Despres
By Robert Iafolla for Bloomberg Law
Early medical marijuana laws focused on compassionate use for terminal patients, but over time laws have shifted to broaden the conditions eligible for a prescription, allowing people to manage symptoms and remain in the workforce, said David Mangone, director of government affairs for Americans for Safe Access, a pro-cannabis advocacy group.
Still, the legal protections are “somewhat limited,” Mangone told Bloomberg Law. Employers are still free to set up drug testing programs, and patients aren’t allowed to medicate on the job even if it doesn’t impair their performance, he said.
By Valli Herman for Weedmaps News
The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken a historic step toward the international reform of regulations regarding cannabis with a letter to the United Nations advising that it broaden access to medical cannabis.
On Feb. 1, 2019, WHO published a letter in which it recommended that cannabis and cannabis resin no longer be considered controlled substances in international treaties. Specifically, WHO asked that cannabis and cannabis resin be removed from the highest restriction, Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The Schedule IV designation includes substances that are considered to have no therapeutic value. In the U.S., the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies cannabis under Schedule I, a designation given to substances thought to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value. Cannabis is placed among LSD and heroin in that category.
By Steph Sherer for The Hill
John Flickner, a 78-year-old, wheelchair-bound senior, is a certified medical cannabis patient in New York, who consumes cannabis from a vaporizer to avoid having to use the types of opioids that kill more than 115 Americans every day. Earlier this month Flickner was evicted from his home in a federally subsidized building in Niagara Falls, NY and lost access to doctors and transportation due to his use of medical cannabis to treat post-injury back pain and muscle spasms that make it difficult for him to breathe.
By Thomas Mitchell for Westword
"Established in 2002 with over 100,000 active members in all fifty states, ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. It's time that Colorado had a chapter of ASA, and my intent with Safe Access Colorado is to strengthen and unite Colorado's patient and medical cannabis community!"
- Melanie Rodgers, ASA Colorado