What would my family have done without Americans for Safe Access?
Some of you may know me through the cannabis industry, but you may not know what brought me here and how Americans for Safe Access changed my family’s lives.
In 2010, my family’s life was turned upside down when my son Logan began suffering from uncontrolled seizures. Doctors could not help him, and we felt powerless. We learned online about parents successfully utilizing cannabis treatments; many of them were moving their families to states with medical cannabis programs. This was not an option for my family, and we were forced for the first time in our lives to find a way to change legislation to help our son.
We then found Americans for Safe Access and learned they were waging a decade-long campaign to create a medical cannabis program in Maryland. After contacting them, they gave me a crash course in patient advocacy, including legislative language analysis, citizen lobbying, political strategy, community organizing, testifying before legislative bodies, and even talking to the media. They also taught me about the plant itself, which gave me the confidence to educate the legislators eager to learn about cannabis. Instead of feeling powerless, I actively participated in my family’s future. With their help, in 2014, we passed a medical cannabis program in Maryland and continued to educate and advocate until it was implemented.
What the ASA team did not tell me was that passing a bill in Maryland was the last step to gain then Senator Mikulski’s support as the Chair of Appropriations to pass a federal amendment to the omnibus spending bill, prohibiting the Department of Justice from spending funds to interfere with the implementation of state medical cannabis laws. The amendment arguably allowed the industry some Federal protection and the industry exploded from there.
The ASA team and I are proud of the work we did to help make Maryland one of the best medical cannabis programs in the country. However, millions of individuals in Maryland cannot benefit from the program until federal laws change, due to employment, insurance coverage, veteran status, and much more. ASA continues working to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
The truth is if you are in the cannabis space, you have benefited from ASA’s work, even if you aren’t familiar personally with the organization. Millions of people still need ASA (inside and outside of Maryland) to advocate and educate for patients’ needs. I will forever be grateful for ASA and its commitment to medical cannabis patients.
I don’t know what my family would have done without ASA, and I hate to think of families with nowhere to turn if ASA can’t survive.
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