Blog Voices from the Frontlines
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.
On June 16, President Trump’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis held its first meeting to begin formulating recommendations on how to combat the opioid epidemic. The meeting provided compelling stories and thoughtful suggestions on how to resolve the opioid crisis. However, the suggestions that came out of this meeting were narrow; an increase in the availability and use of Naxolone or Narcan, which is a pharmaceutical that blocks the effects of opioids, further doctor education on the prescribing of opioids, and broad adoption of CDC guidelines and basing policy on evidence based research.
Great news: the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act of 2017 was introduced in the U.S. Senate this afternoon!
The bill is being introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (New York), Cory Booker (New Jersey), Al Franken (Minnesota), and Rand Paul (Kentucky). This year, we have two new Republican senators who are joining the fight to protect access to our medicine - Senator Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Senator Mike Lee (Utah).
The CARERS Act is vital legislation that will safeguard patients in states with medical cannabis programs, and expand research opportunities so that we learn even more about our medicine. For the past three years, we have been the driving force behind this legislation to help push it forward, working hard each and every day to make sure that it would be introduced and included additional co-sponsors this year. We worked closely with Senators and their staff to make sure that important protections were included in the bill’s language.
The hundreds of patient advocates who visited their Members of Congress at this year’s National Unity Conference sent Congress a strong message:
We need the CARERS Act!
And now, with the bill’s introduction this afternoon at a press conference coordinated by ASA staff, CARERS is becoming a reality. There is no way we could have done all of this without the support of members like you.
So how can you help pass CARERS?
Here's 3 Simple Things You Can Do Right Now
Donate to ASA.
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If You Don’t Think Jeff Sessions is a Threat You’re Not Paying Attention - Americans for Safe Access
On Monday, a letter from Attorney General Jeff Sessions that highlights his opposition to medical cannabis became public. While the Administration had previously given somewhat vague statements about their intentions relating to medical cannabis, this letter provides clear cut opposition to appropriations riders that prevent the Department of Justice from expending funds against medical cannabis activities. The letter requested that leaders of congress not restrict the Department of Justice’s funding in the prosecution of state medical cannabis laws.
Dozens of medical cannabis patients and industry advocates gathered this morning in front of the courthouse in Baltimore, Maryland to protest further delays to the state’s medical cannabis program. The potential delays came from a restraining order issued by a Circuit Court Judge, preventing the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission (MMCC) from awarding any further licenses. The restraining order was initiated as a result of allegations by a company not awarded a contract that the MMCC discriminated against minority-owned businesses. To date, the commission has only issued one license to a medical cannabis business.
Approval of the First Medical Cannabis Grow Operation in Maryland Granted to Patient Focused Certified Company - Americans for Safe Access
Maryland regulators issued the first license to grow medical cannabis in Maryland to ForwardGro, a company with a 1-acre greenhouse located in Anne Arundel County. This decision comes more than four years after Maryland first approved a medical cannabis program. ForwardGro is also the first company in Maryland to be certified for cultivation under American for Safe Access’ (ASA) Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program.
A large majority of drug prosecution cases occur on the state level. But when federal prosecutors get involved, the consequences can be much more serious. It’s unclear whether a recent memo issued by the Department of Justice could apply to medical cannabis patients following their state laws.
Trump's Signing Statement Has Left Patients Scratching their Heads: What Does it Mean? - Americans for Safe Access
Last Friday, President Donald Trump signed H.R. 244, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, into law. This budget bill will fund the government through September 30, 2017. Included in the appropriations bill was language that prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to limit the implementation of state medical cannabis programs.
After passing a temporary stopgap budget measure, Congress has funded the Government through September 30, 2017. Included in the Appropriations bill is a provision that prevents the Department of Justice from expending federal funds to prevent the implementation of state medical cannabis programs. The Appropriations bill also includes protections for states with industrial hemp programs
For medical cannabis patients, one of the hardest conversations to have may be with family and friends. After negotiating the hurdles of registering as a patient, finding a physician that will recommend medical cannabis, and finding a dispensary close to home, the last thing many patients may not anticipate is an intense conversation about their new medicine with their loved ones.