Blog Voices from the Frontlines
On October 15, 2017, the Washington Post and 60 Minutes released a scathing report on the pharmaceutical industry’s influence of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). This report, in large part, scrutinized Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) and his potential appointment as the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) also known as the Drug Czar because of his ties with and sponsorship of legislation favoring the pharmaceutical industry.
This week, we submitted comments relating to the efficacy and medical usefulness of cannabidiol as a medical treatment. In August, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice in the federal register asking for public comments on cannabidiol (CBD) and 16 other substances prior to a meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) that will take place in Geneva, Switzerland from November 6-November 10. The FDA will consider the comments on these substances in creating a response to WHO which will determine what, if any, international restrictions will be placed on the listed substances.
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.