Group of peopleAmericans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization, strongly supports appropriate regulation and licensing of commercial medical cannabis activity in California. Our research[i] and experience with more than ten years of local regulation show that sensible regulations preserve local access to medicine for patients, while reducing crime and complaints in neighborhoods.

More than 1.4 million Californians have used medical cannabis, and 92% of those surveyed report getting significant relief from a serious medical condition – chronic pain, arthritis, migraines, cancer, and others.[ii] Medical cannabis is real medicine, and it works. ASA calls on lawmakers and regulators to treat it like medicine when writing regulations that affect legal patients.

ASA believes that workable regulations and state licensing are an important part of expanding and preserving safe, legal, and dignified access to medical cannabis in California. We call on lawmakers, patients, and other stakeholders to cooperate in creating legislation that works for everyone. These “Points of Unity” are designed to help facilitate that process. Your input is welcome.

Points of Unity:

  1. Qualified Patients and their designated Primary Caregivers should be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis for the Qualified Patient’s personal medical use without any additional requirements for registration, licensing, regulation, or taxation.
  2. Regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity should provide incentives for cities and counties to adopt regulations and licensing ordinances, instead of bans on patients’ cooperatives and collectives.
  3. Regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity should be reasonable and facilitate access for Qualified Patients.
  4. Regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity should include provisions to protect the health, safety, and privacy of Qualified Patients and Primary Caregivers.
  5. Regulations for commercial medical cannabis activity related to product safety should be based on objective recommendations and scientific principles, like those published by the American Herbal Products Association in 2014[iii] and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia in 2013[iv].
  6. Fees associated with licensing should be reasonable and tiered to accommodate all sizes of medical cannabis businesses and organizations.
  7. Because taxation results in higher costs for Qualified Patients, any additional tax on medical cannabis should be eliminated, reduced, or limited.
  8. Medical cannabis should be regulated like herbal medicine, not like a vice (i.e. alcohol or cigarettes).
  9. The needs of Qualified Patients differ from those of non-medical cannabis consumers. Regulations should reflect these differences.
  10. Qualified Patients and their designated Primary Caregivers should not give up any existing rights in order to establish commercial regulations or legalize cannabis for adult use.
  11. Qualified patients should be protected from discrimination, including discrimination in employment, housing parental rights, and equal access to health care.

Other Resources:

2015 Legislation:

ASA’s California Campaign for Safe Access:

ASA’s California email discussion list:

ASA’s Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center: 

[i] Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Cooperatives and Local Regulation, Americans for Safe Access (Updated 2010).

[ii] “Prevalence of medical marijuana use in California: 2012,” Drug and Alcohol Review (2014), DOI: 10.111/dar. 12207.

[iii] Recommendations for Regulators – Cannabis Operations, American Herbal Products Association, 2014.

[iv] Cannabis Inflorescence, American Herbal Pharmacopeia, 2013.