Blog Voices from the Frontlines
Yesterday, over 100 medical cannabis patient advocates from 32 states descended on Capitol Hill with a mission:
to convince their members of Congress to support medical cannabis legislation like the CARERS Act.
With help from ASA staff, advocates were scheduled for 72 meetings, which they attended armed with the information they had learned attending ASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference held from the 7th-11th at the Omni Shoreham hotel in Washington, D.C.
This week began with a significant move of progress, as the state of Maryland finally opened its patient registry for medical cannabis. Although the state legislature passed a medical cannabis program in 2013, delays and setbacks have postponed the implementation by over four years. Those with last names A through L can now register through the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission's website. Patients with last names M through Z will be able to register starting Monday April 17 at 9 AM. Registration will be open for all patients beginning on April 24th.
UPDATE: On April 19, 2017 West Virginia Jim Justice signed SB 386 into law, making West Virginia the 29th state with a comprehensive medical cannabis program. The signing ceremony can be viewed here.
Tennessee patients who need access to medical cannabis will have to continue waiting. Despite the opportunity to pass a bill that would have legalized medical cannabis in Tennessee, lawmakers, particularly in the Senate were apprehensive to move the bill forward. Instead, lawmakers elected to form a task force to determine the path towards legalizing medical cannabis in the State.
Patients should not have to continue to wait for medicine they need.
On Thursday, March 16th, Virginia Governor McAuliffe signed Senate Bill 1027 into law allowing the production and distribution of cannabidiol oil (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) with up to 5% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for patients with intractable epilepsy. Unlike the signing of SB1235 and HB1445 in 2015 (providing an affirmative defense for possession of the oils), which took place in a reporter-packed room surrounded by the children and parents who had lobbied for the bill, the signing of SB1027 went relatively unnoticed by the media. However, it remains a significant move forward in the conservative state.
Despite its promising beginnings, the medical cannabis program in Maryland has suffered since its implementation in 2013. For the past four years, Maryland's medical cannabis program has been subjected to repeated legislative changes, an extensive public debate over establishing a regulatory structure, and a large applicant pool for licenses. Patients are still awaiting access.
It is now possible that these patients may be forced to wait even longer. Several bills have been introduced in the Maryland Senate that could postpone a functioning system for distribution of medical cannabis even longer. For many who are eligible to use medical cannabis, each day without medicine can be both costly and painful.
This blog was originally published 10/31/13.
Cannabis and its derivatives have been documented for anti-epileptic effects since 1881. Today, the promise of cannabidiol (CBD) as an anti-epileptic treatment is prompting people to move to states that have safe access to medicinal products containing this compound. There are increasing reports of CBD being used by parents to treat seizure disorders in their children. This use of a cannabinoid to treat seizures is not unfounded, the ever-popular THC molecule has been studied in children with seizure disorders. The results of early cannabinoid clinical studies and anecdotal findings for epilepsy are promising.
Government has apparently dropped 'gateway' theory, marijuana critics should too - Americans for Safe Access
Steph Sherer calls on politicians to stop basing policy on outdated cannabis myths that the DEA has disavowed.
Read more on The Hill.
ASA Change.org Petition to Get the DEA to Tell the Truth Reaches 100K Signatures - Americans for Safe Access
On Tuesday, Americans for Safe Access delivered more than 98,000 signatures for our Change.org petition to get the DEA to tell the truth about medical cannabis. Today, the number of signers eclipsed 100,000, reaching ASA's goal before President Obama leaves office. ASA is trying to get Obama to instruct the DEA to grant our Information Quality Act petition and remove all references to the "gateway theory" and other scientifically disproven harms from its websites and publications.
Americans for Safe Access’ complaint cites 25 violations under the IQA, alleging that the DEA website currently contains inaccurate statements that do not meet informational standards required by the law. Making matters worse, the DEA continues to distribute statements about the efficacy of medical cannabis and its risks, which have been refuted by the DEA itself in the recent “Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana,” issued August 12, 2016.
Time is short. We have three more days to ask President Obama to force the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to change its policy on medical cannabis. If you have already signed ASA’s Information Quality Act (IQA) petition, forward this email to your friends and loved ones who care about medical cannabis.
If you have not signed the petition, now is the time. Donald Trump will be inaugurated as our 45th President on Friday, and that may spell trouble for medical cannabis patients and providers.