Blog Voices from the Frontlines
This week the United Nations (UN) Committee on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has their annual meetings in Vienna. The CND is responsible for implementing international drug control treaties as well as the scheduling of drugs. The CND makes decisions about scheduling new substances as well as changing the scheduling. The CND base these decisions on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO makes their recommendations on the scheduling of drugs only after the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) prepares a critical review document.
Today’s agenda for the CND delegation includes the “Implementation of the international drug control treaties,” where they will discuss “changes in the scope of controlled substances” and “international cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion.”
This week Americans for Safe Access released “Medical Marijuana Access in the United States: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws.” The report examines the status of states that have passed some form of medical marijuana laws and grades them on a 500 point scale based on how well their current law and regulations accommodate patient needs. The report reviews existing laws and regulations and laws passed in between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, giving states letter grades from “A” to “F.” Unlike previous versions of this report, states are urged to begin to use medical cannabis as a tool to fight the opioid crisis in the areas of improvement section.
On Monday, February 5th, with Americans for Safe Access (ASA) patients, families, and advocates watching in the gallery above, the Senate of the conservative Virginia General Assembly, passed SB726 40-0 after passing its companion bill through the House of Delegates 98-0. The bill allows all physicians to recommend Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) oils to any patients for whom they feel the oils could help their conditions. Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has said that he will sign the legislation when it comes before him.
The medical cannabis community is mourning the death of medical cannabis pioneer Dennis Peron, who died on Saturday at the age of seventy-two. Dennis was the founder of the legendary San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco and a crusader for the right to safe access to medical cannabis in California.
Called the “Father of Medical Marijuana,” he inspired the grassroots movement that adopted Proposition 215 legalizing medical cannabis in California in 1996.
The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a memorandum analyzing the Justice Department’s Decision to rescind Obama-era guidance on federal cannabis policy including the Cole Memo, the Ogden Memos, the Wilkinson memo on cannabis on tribal lands and the FinCen guidance which created policies for financial institutions interacting with cannabis businesses. CRS is a non-partisan office in the Library of Congress that provides legislative advice and analysis to both parties in a neutral way.
In a 1755 letter to the Pennsylvania General Assembly Ben Franklin wrote “those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." However, while its original context, which related to tax policy, may not apply, the words lend themselves to a conversation that lawmakers should be having. How should our country address liberty, but also safety, when it comes to firearms and cannabis?
Yesterday afternoon, both the House of Representatives and the Senate voted on H.J. Res. 123, a Continuing Resolution that keeps the Government open through December 22, 2017. President Trump signed it into law this morning. H.J. Res 123 continues to fund the Federal Government at existing levels and includes all policy provisions as the previous budget. This includes the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment which is the only thing protecting medical cannabis patients from federal interference and prosecution.
Kettle Falls Five Matriarch Advocates for CJS Medical Marijuana Amendment in DC - Americans for Safe Access
The last 5 years have been a nightmare for Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, who is well known among medical cannabis advocates as a member of the Kettle Falls Five. For those unfamiliar with the story, Rhonda and her late husband Larry’s property in Washington State, near the town of Kettle Falls was raided in 2012 by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for growing medical cannabis.
Patient Advocates Call on Congress to Act to Preserve Medical Cannabis to Fight Opiate Crisis - Americans for Safe Access
As a kick off to the End Pain Not Lives Campaign on November 1, Americans for Safe Access and US Pain Foundation advocates held a press conference and rally on Capitol Hill to encourage Congress and the Administration to consider medical cannabis as an option for pain in order to help mitigate the current opioid overdose crisis that has hit epidemic proportions in our nation.
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.