Blog Voices from the Frontlines
Patient Advocacy Group Releases Independent Analysis of Cannabis Scheduling - Americans for Safe Access
Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) disseminated copies of an independent 8-Factor Analysis conducted in support of current petitions requesting removal of cannabis (marijuana) from Schedule I status in the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The document was sent to all members of Congress, as well as heads of the United States Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the DEA, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is about to make a very important decision regarding whether or not to reschedule cannabis from its Schedule I status. This decision will have substantial implications for the two million patients that currently have access to medical cannabis and cannabis products under state laws. Cannabis has been listed as a Schedule I substance - defined as a drug with high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use - along with heroin and LSD since the 1970’s. This Schedule I status makes it illegal to grow, possess, use, or distribute under federal law. While many other drugs have been rescheduled, cannabis has stayed in Schedule I for 46 years.
Patient Focused Certification (PFC) and the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) will be hosting a PFC Verified Professional (PFCVP) training, July 11 - 15 at A2LA headquarters in Frederick, MD. This weeklong set of courses will provide a professional credential for individuals working in the cannabis industry.
The PFCVP standards represent the consensus of the world’s leading experts on cannabis, hemp and botanical product regulations. Having met strict criteria established by the PFC program, individuals can use PFCVP to prove they have mastered core industry standards, state laws and regulations, and product safety protocols. PFCVP ensures you and/or employer, that you have the skills, expertise and training necessary to meet regulatory requirements. Individuals who successfully complete the PFCVP will also complete the 100 Level of the PFC Auditors Training Program.
- Enhance professional credibility
- Become expert on AHPA and AHP Guidelines
- Show patients, health practitioners and regulators your investment in the well being of your patients and/consumers
- Increase on the job confidence
- Demonstrate your knowledge on industry best practices
Who should attend this training: Regulators, people interested in becoming auditors, companies applying for PFC certification needing to satisfy training requirements, cannabis business professionals, and businesses applying for state licenses.
Medical cannabis patients scored a huge victory in California last week, when the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee rejected SB 987. That bill by Assembly Member Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) would have imposed a statewide excise tax of 10% on medical cannabis. The tax would have been in addition to existing sales tax, any new or existing taxes imposed by cities and counties, and any other taxes adopted by the state legislature.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) opposed SB 987 because it would have placed an unfair burden on legal medical cannabis patients. Thousands of ASA members sent emails, signed petitions, and made phone calls opposing the bill in response to our action alerts. Hundreds visited legislative offices in person to oppose the bill as part of our California Citizen Lobby Day in March. Those efforts paid off last Monday, when the committee voted 4 to 5 to kill SB 987.
Tuesday, June 21st and Wednesday the 22nd were exciting days on the hill for Americans for Safe Access and Utah activists. On Tuesday, Americans for Safe Access and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) held a briefing on the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S. 683/H.R. 1538). The briefing featured policy experts and medical cannabis stakeholders who would be protected by the bill. Lead CARERS Act sponsor Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) spoke on behalf of the bill as well.
On May 31, 2016, Puerto Rico for Safe Access was officially welcomed by Americans for Safe Access as the first Chapter this organization has on the geographic areas encompassing the Caribbean and Latin America, thus expanding their reach and support outside the continental US. Puerto Rico is a Commonwealth of the United States of America. Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is the largest non-profit member-based organization advocating for safe use and research of medical therapeutics. ASA has over 50,000 members, and the support of numerous sponsors, partners, and affiliates, ranging from patients, to doctors, lawyers, researchers and volunteers, who all share one common ground, which is to fight for and protect the right of every patient to benefit from medical cannabis therapies.
Gaining Momentum - Senate Judiciary Member Al Franken Signs onto CARERS Act - Americans for Safe Access
On Tuesday, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) became the 20th senator to sign on to the CARERS Act (S. 683). With the news, Franken has become the second senator on the Judiciary Committee in recent months to become a CARERS cosponsor, joining Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC). Last month, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) also became a cosponsor. Franken also joins Judiciary member Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who became a cosponor last July.
The CARERS Act currently is stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Chuck Grassley has refused to give it a hearing. With growing support among Judiciary Committee senators, it will become more difficult for Grassley to continue to block the bill. ASA is currently organizing petition in Grassley home state of Iowa to urge him to give the bill a markup hearing with a vote.
A recent national poll has shown support for medical cannabis stands at 89%. The poll was conducted May 24 – 30 by Quinnipiac University, surveying 1,561 registered voters nationwide. This poll closely mirrors the results of a 2014 CNN/ORC national poll, which showed the support level at 88%.
In fact, the support was strong across all ages and party affiliations. While Republicans and older Americans have typically been the least likely to support legal access to medical cannabis therapy, their support levels were show at 81% and 89% respectively. Again, these results nearly replicate the 2014 CNN/ORC poll, in which 84% of Republicans and 84% of voters over age 65 stated their support. Unfortunately, the less than 20% of senior Republicans who oppose medical cannabis are disproportionately represented in Congressional committees.