ASA’S PROGRAMS AND PROJECTS
As medical cannabis policy evolves, so do Americans for Safe Access projects and programs. In 2002, when ASA was founded much of our organizing was focused on providing support for individuals being raided by the DEA and facing issues with law enforcement. Thanks to 20 years of successful campaigning, legal battles, and legislative victories we are now mostly focused on educating medical cannabis stakeholders, improving safe access programs, and passing federal legislation.
Cannabis Care Certification (CCC) is an online education program designed to help doctors provide the best care for legal medical cannabis patients and to help patients get the most from their medical cannabis use. CCC has been created by recognized world experts and includes educational tools for medical professionals, patients, and their caregivers to better understand the role of cannabis therapeutics through a structured learning environment. CCC was designed to help companies meet state requirements for patient medical cannabis education.
Patient Focused Certification (PFC) is a groundbreaking initiative that provides individuals, companies, and governments with the tools needed to ensure safe, high-quality cannabis & hemp products. PFC includes regulatory guidance on GMP/GAP cannabis standards, third-party certification, & workforce training for any business or government agency, regardless of its stage of development or role in the supply chain.
Successful medical cannabis policies and programs require participation from all stakeholders. ASA provides educational information, support, and resources for patients, caregivers, cannabis providers, advocates, and medical professionals.
Americans for Safe Access has created a series of publications to help medical cannabis stakeholders navigate the medical, legal, and political aspects of cannabis.
Since ASA has opened our DC office in 2006, patients have had representation on Capitol Hill. Through direct engagement with members of Congress and administrative agencies and countless public comments, white papers, policy memos, and reports, ASA has also been able to educate lawmakers on the issues of patient access to medical cannabis, roadblocks to research, and the role each federal agency can play in protecting patients. Each year, during ASA's Unity Conference, ASA flies in hundreds of medical cannabis patients from around the country to lobby together on Capitol Hill and supply their elected officials with ASA's Medical Cannabis Briefing Book which provides a comprehensive overview of medical cannabis myths and facts on the federal level.
Each election cycle ASA issues a voter guide called Vote Medical Marijuana4 that grades federal lawmakers on their commitment to medical cannabis patients. The guide encourages voters to see where their congressional representation is succeeding or failing in protecting the interest of patients. The guide also highlights state ballot initiative efforts and local races that will have a key impact on the future of cannabis policy. The next voter guide will be issued before the 2024 elections.
While the longstanding federal prohibition on medical cannabis can frustrate state efforts, ASA has made tremendous progress on the state level in shaping medical cannabis policy. Thanks to ASA's efforts 38 states have comprehensive medical cannabis programs. ASA regularly contributes comments to pending language for state legislation and regulations to ensure that state programs are patient-focused, rather than profit-focused. Each year, ASA releases a State of the States Report that grades every state’s medical cannabis program to show state lawmakers where improvement is needed and works with advocates in the states to improve medical cannabis laws.
Medical cannabis policy is better designed and implemented when patients are at the table. The reality is that if you are not a medical cannabis patient or stakeholder, you probably don’t understand the nuisances of cannabis policy. For the last 20 years, the Patient Advocacy Empowerment Project has been arming patients with knowledge, tools and skills to advocate for themselves through strategic planning, public speaking, bill drafting, media outreach and citizen lobbying.
Every year the National Medical Cannabis Unity conference brings together hundreds of patients, caregivers, scientists, medical and legal professionals, and industry experts from all over the country to learn about the latest in cannabis research and policy. As part of every conference, ASA staff set meetings for attendees to meet with their federal representatives during ASA’s Lobby Day, the largest medical cannabis citizen lobby event of the year.
While medical cannabis is legal in many states, these laws vary dramatically from state to state, and cannabis remains illegal federally. For over 20 years, Americans for Safe Access has been arming patients and medical cannabis stakeholders with tools to know and express their rights.
In September 2021, “Ryan’s Law” became California law requiring healthcare facilities to allow the use of medical cannabis on their premises for terminally ill patients with a valid medical cannabis card or/ recommendation from their physician. ASA’s Ryan’s Law Implementation Project includes an implementation guide for healthcare facilities which includes a summary of the law, sample policies and documents, and draft SOPs to aid in their compliance with the new laws and resources for physicians and their patients to help navigate the utilization of these new rights afforded under the new law.
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