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.
PFC Offers Free Services for Laboratories To Help Address Opioid Epidemic
Across the nation, opioid-related deaths and fatalities are decreasing in states that have medical cannabis programs, but the benefits are limited due to a lack of accurately labeled and tested cannabis products. In an effort to to help increase the number of safe and standardized medical products Americans for Safe Access will begin offering free assessments and certification services for cannabis testing laboratories through their Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program.
To receive a free laboratory assessment, click here to apply.
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
Send a message to your Senators today.
Sign the petition and share it widely.
Donate to ASA.
- Chip in today to help support our work to pass the CARERS Act of 2017.
Share our messages on social media.
- Share our Facebook post.
- Re-tweet our tweets.
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.
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.