Blog Voices from the Frontlines
This week has been big for cannabis in electoral politics. Thanks to Tuesday’s election, thirty-three states now have a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Ballot victories in Missouri and Utah transitioned these states’ low-THC CBD programs to significantly broader access. Voters in eleven Wisconsin counties and one city approved non-binding referendums supporting medical cannabis legislation. Michigan passed an initiative that legalized the adult use of cannabis.
From July 29 through August 2, Americans for Safe Access attended the annual National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) in Los Angeles, California. We joined over 5,000 conference attendees (about 1,200 of which were state lawmakers or state legislative staff) to promote the goals of our End Pain, Not Lives Campaign.
Thanks to the results from recently-permitted scientific studies and the untiring work of cannabis activist groups, more and more people are beginning to accept that cannabis is a successful form of treatment for certain medical conditions. Despite this, many patients out there are still hesitant to try it. Their reasoning may stem from religious beliefs, or perhaps because they’re fearful of losing their job. Oftentimes, however, patients are wary of things that seem to be outside of the current medical system and choose not to explore the benefits of medical cannabis.
Although there are medical cannabis programs of some kind in 47 states, DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico, medical cannabis still remains a mystery to the vast majority of Americans today. Using medical cannabis is an approach that is supported by research and medical professionals, and has demonstrated positive public health outcomes. While it may feel like an overwhelming experience for many new patients, it does not have to be, to help new patients feel comfortable entering the world of medical cannabis, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the country’s largest medical cannabis patient advocacy group created Cannabis Care Certification, a medical cannabis education program for patients and caregivers. To help you start out this process, here is a list of top 5 things that all patients should know when considering medical cannabis as part of their health care regime.
International Medical Cannabis Advocates Address WHO Committee to Reschedule Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access
This week medical cannabis patient advocacy groups from Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay, France, Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, South Africa, and the United States travelled to Geneva, Switzerland to present to world leaders their recommendations for rescheduling cannabis at the 40th meeting of the World Health Organization's (WHO) Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD).
The air was filled with excitement that the ECDD was finally beginning the process of looking at new information regarding cannabis as medicine. A process that has been long overdue considering the original scheduling of cannabis was created based on a report produced by the Health Committee of the League of Nations back in 1935. International bodies have been calling on the WHO to address the scheduling of cannabis for almost a decade, and the WHO finally listened.
ASA Submits Recommendations to FDA for International Rescheduling of Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access
This week, we submitted comments relating to the efficacy and medical usefulness of cannabis as a medical treatment. In early April, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice in the federal register asking for public comments on cannabis and its derivatives. These comments will help inform the response of the United States to the World Health Organization in potentially reclassifying cannabis.
House Budget include Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment!: Vote expected today! - Americans for Safe Access
After months of debate and continuing resolutions, the House of Representatives has finally unveiled its Appropriations package for the fiscal year of 2018. Unlike previous short term measures, this bill would fully fund the government through September 30, 2018. At over 2,200 pages the bill is a massive combination of funding outlays and policy. Due to the hard work of advocates like you, the bill includes the text of the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment!
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.