Blog Voices from the Frontlines
Valencia Elliott grew up in what she calls a tough part of the country where she’d regularly smell cannabis being smoked, but she never had any interest in it. That changed late in life when her husband, an Army veteran who’d been exposed to Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, confided he had cancer. Worse, he’d been hiding a prostate cancer diagnosis for a year, and by the time he told her, he also had two other types of cancer. That was June 3, 2015, but the nightmare had already started. She didn’t know what was wrong, but they were already going back and forth to the hospital with complaints about his pain.
Update 9/8/2017- Congress has approved a continuing resolution to keep the government open through December 8th, 2017. In addition to funding government agencies this continuing resolution also maintains that the Department of Justice can not use funds to prevent the implementation of a medical cannabis program or to prosecute patients. The continuing resolution extends the time for negotiations of the 2018 fiscal year budget. If the continuing resolution is signed by President Trump, this means that protections for medical cannabis patients will continue through December 8th. Under the previous continuing resolution, patient protections were set to expire on September 30th without Congressional action.
Unfortunately, the House Rules Committee blocked amendments related to medical cannabis from being voted on as part of the 2018 Appropriations process. Despite this setback in the House, protections for patients have been approved in the Senate version of the Appropriations bill. In the coming weeks, there will be a meeting of a conference committee which will resolve the differences between the Senate and House appropriations bills. We hope that the conference committee listens to millions of Americans who support the use of cannabis as medicine and include patient protections in the final bill they send to President Trump.
In addition to the pushing the conference committee to include patient protections, as always we will continue to work diligently to pass permanent legislation like the CARERS act to ensure patients are not made into criminals.
On Monday, August 14th, Maryland’s Medical Cannabis Commission announced the approval of three PFC-certified companies to grow and process medical cannabis for the patients of Maryland who have waited so long. Along with ForwardGro, the first company to receive a Stage 2 license in Maryland, Freestate Wellness, Harvest of Maryland, and Green Leaf Medical are currently part of ASA’s Patient Focused Certification program.
From August 6 through August 9, Americans for Safe Access was in Boston attending and exhibiting at the 2017 National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit.
The NCSL conference is one of the largest annual gatherings of state legislators, legislative staff, government officials and advocates. With over 6,700 attendees, we had a great time educating state legislators about safe access to medical cannabis.
Massachusetts Medical Society Promotes Cannabis Education for Medical Professionals - Americans for Safe Access
Last month, the Massachusetts Medical Society, a leader in continuing medical education (CME) providing accredited and certified activities across the globe for physicians and other healthcare professionals, announced exciting news, endorsing the TheAnswerPage.com Comprehensive Cannabis Curriculum, as their comprehensive curriculum on the endocannabinoid system and medical cannabis.
After the election of President Donald Trump last year, I have seen how strongly polarized we have become on nearly every issue out there. Healthcare, education, the environment, gun control, immigration.....the list goes on and on. But the one issue we all seem to agree on is the legalization of medical cannabis. It has, after all, received bi-partisan support in both the Senate and House in the South Carolina legislature (South Carolina Compassionate Care Act) as well as in Congress (CARERS Act).
If you missed our 2017 Unity Conference: Securing the Role of Medical Cannabis in Modern Medicine, we are excited to let you know of an opportunity to be able to watch all the presentations you missed. You can get 24/7 access to the Unity Conference right now -- streaming only on Green Flower!
For the past five years, Unity has equipped patients, physicians and citizens to be successful medical cannabis policy advocates on all levels, from grassroots to government. If you’re serious about seeing (and driving) real change in medical cannabis laws, ensuring access for patients and reforming regulation, you need to see the ASA Unity Conference.
Today the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that a woman fired for using medical cannabis can sue her employer under a state handicap discrimination statute. This represents a great victory not only for the medical cannabis patients in Massachusetts, but for patients everywhere who have faced discrimination for far too long.
PFC Offers Free Services for Laboratories To Help Address Opioid Epidemic - Americans for Safe Access
PFC Offers Free Services for Laboratories To Help Address Opioid Epidemic
Across the nation, opioid-related deaths and fatalities are decreasing in states that have medical cannabis programs, but the benefits are limited due to a lack of accurately labeled and tested cannabis products. In an effort to to help increase the number of safe and standardized medical products Americans for Safe Access will begin offering free assessments and certification services for cannabis testing laboratories through their Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program.
To receive a free laboratory assessment, click here to apply.
On June 26, 2017, in Salt Lake City, patients, advocates, and their families introduced a ballot initiative application that would allow for a comprehensive medical cannabis program in Utah. The initiative grew from patient advocates and their families who are frustrated by the inability of the Utah legislators to pass comprehensive medical cannabis bills. This initiative would allow Utah voters decide if they wanted to legalize medical use of the whole cannabis plant in their state.