ASA Releases Federal Medical Cannabis Policy Roadmap

The cover image of the briefing book.Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) released a briefing book —“Medical Cannabis in America”— calling on Congress and the Administration to end the conflict between the federal government and States’ with medical cannabis (marijuana) programs. The report includes actions for the POTUS during the lame duck as well as the incoming Congress and POTUS. These actions would protect the more than 2 million medical cannabis patients in the U.S. by allowing local manufacturers, growers, and distributors to operate in accordance with their own state’s laws regarding medical cannabis without fear of federal interference.



Medical cannabis is reshaping the way we view modern medicine but in order to continue providing millions of patients with the medicine they need, Congress and the Administration need to take action. Most importantly there are things that President Obama can do before he leaves office to ensure a smoother transition for medical cannabis policy under the new administration. This is perhaps one of the only political issues that has bipartisan support.

‘Medical Cannabis in America: The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book’ is a guidebook for Congress and the Administration that includes information on modern scientific evidence about medical cannabis, what the federal and state conflict means for patients who rely on this medicine, and what Congress can do to end this conflict.

Infographic demonstrating government oversight.

The report outlines how federal agencies can help states to increase the quality and safety of medical cannabis programs, details a role for federal oversight after the passage of comprehensive legislation and outlines steps the current POTUS can take before leaving the white house, which include:

  • Instruct Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to update their website and publications to reflect their most current science.
  • Order Health and Human Services (HHS) and DEA to take the recommendation from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Acting Commissioner Stephen Ostroff to examine and possibly overhaul the regulations that are preventing medical research and rescheduling of cannabis.
  • Engage with U.N. Secretary General on the scheduling of cannabis in the UN Single Convention of Drugs, which is based on a report from 1935.
  • Release the remaining medical cannabis POWs and drop the handful of remaining prosecutions.

“Medical Cannabis in America: The Medical Cannabis Briefing Book” also dispels a number of popular myths about cannabis - amongst them that cannabis is a “gateway” drug, and documents how over 2 million Americans rely on state-run, physician supervised cannabis programs to alleviate symptoms of illnesses like cancer, Crohn’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s, seizure disorders, post traumatic stress, and chronic pain.

Infographic illustrating medical cannabis usage

The report shows that:

  • Opiate related deaths dropped an average of 24.8% in states with medical cannabis laws.
  • 89% of Americans support medical cannabis.
  • The Department of Justice (DOJ) has spent an estimated $592 million to date in arrests, investigations, enforcement raids, pretrial services, incarceration, and probation.
  • The total amount spent on federal interference under the Bush Administration was estimated to be in excess of $232 million — The Obama Administration has spent $350 million. 
  • In 2012 the DEA used 5% of their budget on medical cannabis cases. 
  • There are 44 states with medical cannabis laws.

In order to protect medical cannabis patients in the U.S. we must help manufacturers, growers, and distributors to operate without fear of federal interference. Please send a copy to your elected officials today!