Blog Voices from the Frontlines
The Senate Appropriations Committee held AB 2243 in its suspense file this week, blocking the bill from being approved this year. The bill by Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) would have imposed a new tax of up to $9.25 per ounce on licensed medical cannabis distributors. This is the second medical cannabis tax bill to die this year. The Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee killed SB 987 in June. That bill by Senator Mike McGuire (D-San Rafael) would have imposed an additional 15% excise tax on medical cannabis consumption.
ASA opposed both medical cannabis tax bills this year because we believe the imposition of additional taxes is premature and represents an undue burden on legal patients. We rallied our base to email, call and visit lawmakers in opposition to AB 2243 and SB 987. It paid off this year, but tax proposals affecting patients will keep coming up at the state and local level. That is why it is so important for ASA to bring the patients’ voices to the table and to empower local advocates.
Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released its decision to keep cannabis in its current Schedule 1 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. Schedule I status means that the DEA sees no accepted medical use of cannabis.
The Controlled Substances Act requires an 8-Factor Analysis from the HHS upon which the DEA makes it determination for all scheduling, or rescheduling, decisions. Previous efforts to reschedule cannabis have also been blocked by the DEA, who remain the most steadfast in maintaining their opposition to cannabis reform under the Obama administration.
Pictured: Acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg
There is increasing evidence that cannabis is medicinally useful in treating chronic pain which, unlike opioids, has no documented cases of overdose. However, doctors continue to prescribe them for pain, and the abuse of and deaths from opioids have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. So, Americans for Safe Access created the document: Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment: A Viable Strategy to Address the Opioid Crisis to educate and inform legislators of the growing need for an alternate treatment for the millions of patients suffering from pain every day.
Congress has taken notice of the opioid epidemic, and in July President Obama signed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, aimed at curbing abuse of heroin and other drugs. Not only is it significant that Congress has passed comprehensive addiction legislation, but it is also the first time Congress has ever supported long-term addiction recovery. However, the bill did not include medical cannabis as part of its approach.
This current Congressional interest in and discussion around opioids and addiction provides a unique opportunity for us to gain support to pass the Compassionate Access Research Expansion and Respect the States (CARERS) Act. And we need YOU to help leverage this document to help us pass this important piece of legislation!!!
With the passage of Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA), California’s medical cannabis industry is now moving into a state licensing program. Voters will also be deciding on yet another major regulatory bill, Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA) in November. Both laws include robust product safety protocols as well as a new licensing program.
Patient Focused Certification, a project of Americans for Safe Access is hosting an educational tour for the California medical cannabis industry to help demystify the regulations that will come from Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMMR) and give practical advice for business to meet and exceed these requirements.
Our mission is to help companies surpass regulatory compliance. PFC staff have been working with governments for over 14 years to develop laws and regulations for the the medical cannabis industry. As well as with the American Herbal Products Association and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia to create industry standards. Which have now been adopted in 16 states.
The California Weekly Roundup will be on summer vacation until Monday, August 15. In the meantime, look for important announcements about upcoming events in California and other news on this list.
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Senators Grassley and Feinstein Introduce Bill to Exempt Some Medical Cannabis Patients From Federal Prosecution - Americans for Safe Access
Today, the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (S. 3269) was introduced in the United States Senate, which would ease research barriers and create exemptions from federal law for certain medical cannabis patients. The bill was introduced by four members of the Senate Judiciary Committee - Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Tom Tillis (R-NC). Much of the bill is focused on allowing for institutions of higher education or manufacturers to register with the federal government in order to conduct research on cannabis (marijuana) or cannabidiol (CBD), but it’s the “Safe Harbor” provision that is drawing the attention of medical cannabis patients.
Become a certified cannabis professional and meet regulatory requirements with PFC Verified Professional (PFCVP) courses. Next week, July 11-15, PFC will be hosting an in-person certification training for individuals who are interested in gaining certifications in cultivation, manufacturing, distribution and laboratory operations. There are only 10 seats left, secure your spot today.
Governments are trending toward the creation of regulations that monitor and ensure product safety, include rigorous employee training and set standards for industry best practices. PFCVP ensures you and/or your employer, that you have the skills, expertise and training necessary to meet regulatory requirements.
The PFCVP professional credential was developed by industry practitioners and leading subject-matter experts with over 300 years of collective expertise in the realms of USDA food and product safety protocols, federal regulatory development, medical cannabis research, medical cannabis industry operations, pharmacology, and biochemistry.
On Tuesday, the Scientific Subcommittee of the DC Department of Health's (DOH) Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) held a public meeting to determine if there would be an increase to the 30-day possession limit for patients. By a unanimous vote, the Subcommittee voted to increase the limit from two (2) to four (4) ounces. The increase does not need to be approved by the DC Council, as the MMP statute allows the DOH to set the limit anywhere between two and four ounces per 30 days.
Today's vote is a major victory for District patient who need at least two grams of dried flower per day. While the DOH had issued an emergency rule last fall to allow patients to obtain amounts above two ounces per 30 days, the waiver required a significant amount of paperwork from the patient's physician and only allowed the patient to obtain above two ounces in oil form. While the details of today's increase are still forthcoming, it appears that the new four-ounce limit will apply to all forms of cannabis sold by dispensaries licensed under the MMP.