Blog Voices from the Frontlines
The Final Barriers to Initiate a Cannabis Rescheduling Hearing May Have Just Been Removed - Americans for Safe Access
New Report Suggests That We Can Neither Confirm Nor Deny the Benefits and Risks of Cannabis Use
January 12th, 2017- The National Academies of Sciences, Medicine, and Engineering issued a cautious report on the health effects of cannabis. The authors recognize that cannabis is an effective treatment for chronic pain, Multiple Sclerosis, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. Similarly to ASA’s 8-Factor analysis of Cannabis, the authors sifted through all available research, over 10,000 articles were considered, including over 100 clinical reports.
A new President is about to take office, and we need to make sure we continue to move forward, not backward, on medical cannabis reform, in this administration.
On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee will begin holding confirmation hearings on whether Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will become the next U.S. Attorney General. Senator Sessions has been outspoken about his feelings regarding medical cannabis:
“I thank you for you and some of your officials in DEA for speaking out and telling the truth about the dangers of marijuana. This is not a non-dangerous drug. And I've got to tell you in terms of messaging, the president's statement -- to me, I spent 12 years working with grassroots citizens’ groups to change the approach to drugs and the climate of drugs and to make it hostile climate for drugs and explain the dangers of drug use.”- Jeff Sessions comments to then-DEA Administrator Michelle Leonhart at Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing, April 30, 2014
If confirmed, Senator Sessions could pose a real threat to the more than 2 million American patients who rely upon state medical cannabis programs.
So we are asking that you take a moment to tweet the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Senators on January 10th and 11th We have generated 2 different tweets to send to the Judiciary Committee Members who will be questioning Sessions, one is about respecting patients and the state medical cannabis programs they rely on; and the second is about basing his medical cannabis policy on science rather than disproven information.
All you have to do is click any or all of the links below to tweet the members the Senate Judiciary Committee. Once you click on one of the links below, you will be able to view the tweet before clicking the Tweet button to post it to Twitter. If you have time to send both tweets to all the members of the Judiciary Committee, great! If you only have a time to send to one or two senators, that is helpful, too.
2017 is here! It is a new year and a new chance to make great things happen. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time to think about new goals and how to achieve them. Here at ASA, our priority has always been and will continue to be ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis. Our New Year’s resolution is to work harder than ever before to make this happen.
Let me be frank: the next administration could be disastrous to the movement for safe and legal access. The current federal “cease fire” on medical cannabis is based on two historic developments: a memo from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and an amendment to the federal budget. Both developments could be in jeopardy next year.
But being a supporter of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), you know our talented staff is preparing to tackle whatever comes our way.
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has just learned that the World Health Organization’s Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) decided to move forward with a process that may reclassify medical cannabis under international law. The debate about medical cannabis at the ECDD has been stalled for years, but persistent pressure by ASA members, staff and international allies has resulted in historic movement towards rescheduling. The influential committee will hold a special session to discuss medical cannabis in eighteen months.
Christmas is almost here! If you are like me you are probably in a mad rush to finish decorating the tree and get those last minute gifts. ASA can help you complete your gift lists and your stocking stuffers without having to endure the mall!
Did you know that it is illegal for federal agencies to distribute false information? Well it is, and the DEA has been doing just that with information regarding medical cannabis. So, last week, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), represented by the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, filed a petition with the Department of Justice (DOJ) demanding that the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) immediately update misinformation about cannabis.
But we didn’t stop there…
New Program Launched to Educate Doctors and Patients on Medical Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access
Today, ASA and TheAnswerPage, an international resource for providing accredited continuing medical education since 1998, launched the Cannabis Care Certification (CCC) program. CCC is an online program designed to provide quality information about medical cannabis to individuals who are starting or considering cannabis therapy, and healthcare professionals looking to learn about the endocannabinoid system and medical cannabis.
The program includes educational videos created for patients and caregivers to provide guidance for anyone interested in exploring medical cannabis as well offers courses that provide Continuing Medical Education credits to medical professionals.
HealthCanada Recommends Keeping Medical and Adult-use Cannabis Programs Separate - Americans for Safe Access
Today, HealthCanada issued a report with several recommendations for how the country can implement an adult-use (recreational) cannabis program. One of the recommendations is that Canada should maintain a separate program for medical cannabis patients rather than merge the medical program into the adult-use program. This recommendation is in step with ASA's recommendations to states when considering adult-use cannabis programs.
The HealthCanada report recognizes that patients often seek difference forms cannabis and cannabis-derived products than what the typical adult-use consumer seeks to purchase. Maintaining a separately regulated system for medical cannabis patients is the best way that governments can ensure that patient needs are addressed in jurisdictions with medical and adult-use access. Washington State has experimented with merging its medical program into the I-502 adult-use program, which has led to reports of patients no longer have quality and consistent access to medical cannabis products.
House Votes to Extend Rohrabacher-Farr Through April, Senate to Vote Next - Americans for Safe Access
On Friday, the U.S. Senate approved H.R. 2028, a continuing resolution that will fund the federal government through April 28, 2017. The House approved the bill earlier on Thursday. The continuing resolution includes the Rohrabacher-Farr language from last year's Department of Justice's spending package, thereby keeping the protection in place for another four months before Congress must consider it again.
The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment is arguably the most important current federal protection for medical cannabis patients and others abiding by state medical cannabis laws. The amendment has been upheld in several federal cases, most prominently in U.S. vs. McIntosh. In that decision, the judge held that prosecutions against those claiming to be in compliance with state medical cannabis laws cannot proceed unless the federal government could prove there was a violation of state law. However, the judge also said that the protection only is valid if the amendment remains in effect.