California Cannabis Stakeholders Join Together to Address Patient Needs

Americans for Safe Access Announces New Agenda for California with New Advisory Group focusing on Improved Patient Access, Affordability, Equity, Product Safety and more

WASHINGTON, DC – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) announces the creation of The ASA California Advisory Committee (ASACAC). The ASACAC was formed as a result of a series of strategic meetings of ASA staff, representatives from California based chapters and affiliates, and California cannabis stakeholders facilitated by ASA in the fall of 2021. Participants in the meetings identified issues facing patients across the state of California including high prices, lack of patient-focused products, lack of consistency and availability of products, lack of pediatric access, lack of confidence in the safety of products, access deserts, drug testing, consumption restrictions, and lack of educated medical professionals. Participants in the meetings identified the causes of these issues, potential remedies and brainstormed strategies and tactics to tackle them including the creation of the ASACAC.

“After 25 years of implementing medical cannabis laws, patients are still facing many challenges to safe and legal access to medical cannabis due to state program inadequacies and continued federal prohibition” said Steph Sherer, founder of Americans for Safe Access. “I am overjoyed that this distinguished group has come together to give a voice to issues facing patients in California and to work with ASA to overcome them.”

Over the last 25 years, significant modifications have been made to 1996’s Proposition 215 and while several important reforms have been implemented, many issues remain outstanding. The ASACAC will work with ASA to find legislative and legal solutions through a series of tactics including legislation, regulations and education.

"Although there are news stories about the successful ‘cannabis market’ in California, many of those who rely on cannabis as their medicine, such as seniors, veterans, epileptic children and others, have found their needs have been forgotten and are forced to use products that are meant for the adult-use market,” said Bonni Goldstein, M.D. “ASA has been fighting for patients in CA for 20 years and I am grateful and humbled to join this group to continue this critical work."

The group meets regularly and will soon be announcing its legislative strategy. ASA, along with California NORML, is sponsoring a Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento on Tuesday, May 10 where activists will be trained and sent to their legislators’ offices to advocate for patients’ rights.


2022 ASACAC Advisory Board Members

Steph Sherer - founder and President of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Steph is the foremost international leader and expert on medical cannabis patient advocacy and, alongside American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), created the first industry standards in the areas of distribution, cultivation, analytics, and manufacturing, packaging and labeling.

Don Duncan - ASA Board Member and a twenty-year veteran of the cannabis industry, with extensive experience in business operations, community organizing, lobbying, and regulation at the local and state level.

Antonio Frazier - ASA Board Member and VP of Operations at CannaSafe, the first ISO licensed, and PFC certified, cannabis lab in the world, and the leading market shareholder in California.

Debbie Churgai - ASA Executive Director, manages all day-to-day aspects of the organization, including ASA's Patient Focused Certification (PFC) and Cannabis Care Certification (CCC) programs.

Sarah Armstrong - served as ASA’s Director of Industry Affairs for seven years. She is currently the Outreach Chair for Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. Her association with ASA began in 2005. 

Larry Bedard, MD - partner with California Emergency Physicians and serves on the staff of St. Mary’s Hospital in San Francisco and San Mateo General Hospital. Past President of the American College of Emergency Physicians and is a delegate to the California Medical Association. 

Terrie Best - Winner of ASA's Advocate of the Year award and Chair of the San Diego ASA Chapter since 2014, hosts events, influences local policy and organizes for patient support and equity. 

Tony Bowles - Chair of the Bay Area ASA Chapter, has been involved in the cannabis industry for 20 years, and is a long-time patient advocate and organizer with ASA.

Felicia Carbajal - Felicia is a queer Chicanx community organizer, strategist, social entrepreneur and Executive Director of The Social Impact Center with over two decades of movement building experience within intersectional communities.

Jamie Corroon, ND, MPH - Clinical researcher with publications that investigate the clinical and public health implications of the broadening acceptance of cannabis in society.

Bonni Goldstein, MD - Physician with over a decade of experience specializing in medical cannabis therapeutics, with a focus on pediatric epilepsy, autism, and other serious medical conditions.

Wesley Hein - Manages global expansion for California cannabis operator Mammoth Distribution. Also on the boards of directors for the CDA, CCMA and steering committee for LCCS.

Mieko Hester-Perez - International Autism & Palliative Care Healthcare Ambassador focusing on patient centered outcomes when making clinical decisions. Legal Nurse & Family Law Education Consultant, Executive Director of IIMD Online, Product Strategist for MDXClusive and advisor to the first publicly diagnosed NASCAR driver with autism.

Janice Knox, MD - Board Certified anesthesiologist, Endocannabinologist and Certified Cannabis Medicine Specialist, CEO of Doctors Knox, Inc, Co-founder of Pivital EDU Inc, and Pivital Holdings, Inc.

Ellen Komp - Longtime California activist who petitioned for Prop. 215 and now serves as Deputy Director of California NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws).

Lauren Medelsohn, Esq. - Senior Associate Attorney at the Law Offices of Omar Figueroa; sits on the Board of Directors for California NORML, the International Cannabis Bar Association, and the Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

Jeff Raber - The 2019 ASA Researcher of the Year, Dr. Raber has been in the cannabis space for more than a decade providing a scientific perspective on cannabis compositions and is a world-renowned pioneer in the terpene space. His peer-reviewed publications and lectures have been instrumental in educating patients and lawmakers about critical chemical specifics related to cannabis purity and product standardization.

Nicole Redler - Vice chair of the Bay Area ASA Chapter, Head of Community Affairs at Eaze, and creator of Eaze Compassion.

Brooke Rosel - G.M. of The Sweetleaf Collective, a compassionate care cannabis Non-profit that has been creating access to free medical cannabis to low-income, terminally-ill, POC, and veterans since 1996. Brooke has had over a decade of experience of all facets of the cannabis industry, from seed to extraction.

Sarah Shrader - Medical cannabis patient and active organizer with ASA for 20 years, honored with ASA's patient advocacy award in 2013. Formerly held Board of Supervisor appointed positions with the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force, State Cannabis Legalization Task Force, and Sonoma County's Cannabis Advisory Group.

Oliver Summers - Legacy Cannabis dispensary operator, cultivator of boutique Cannabis genetics and advocate for Medical Cannabis in California since 2005. Original board member and meeting moderator of the Greater Los Angeles Collective Alliance (GLACA). Americans for Safe Access (ASA) member since 2003.