Patient Advocates are Grateful States are Listening, Warn “There is More Action Still Needed”
WASHINGTON, DC — Last Monday, March 16, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation's largest medical cannabis patient advocacy organization, with coordinated stakeholders and allies, called on U.S. state and territorial governors (DC mayor) and medical cannabis program directors to allow cannabis businesses and dispensaries to remain open as “essential” businesses during COVID-19-related closings as well as a list of other measures that they should immediately put into place to protect patient access and the medical cannabis supply chain.
Medical Cannabis Patients, Medical Professionals, Advocates, and Industry Leaders Will Converge Online for the 2020 National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference - Americans for Safe Access
WASHINGTON, DC — On Friday, March 27, 2020, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold its 8th Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity conference. This year, for the first time ever, the conference will be held online due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of cancelling or postponing the conference, ASA decided to move this year’s Unity Conference from an in-person conference to an online conference in order to make their program content available to participants across the country. From 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. ET, ASA will share the latest developments in medical cannabis, discuss barriers to medical cannabis access, exchange ideas about how to navigate medical cannabis policy--nationally and globally--in this ever-changing political landscape, and demand action from state and federal elected officials.
Medical Cannabis Patient Advocates Call on Governors to Protect Patients Amid Covid-19 Outbreak
Americans for Safe Access Provides Governors, Mayors, Medical Cannabis Program Directors with Action List
Washington, DC -- Americans for Safe Access (ASA) sent out a letter today to call on governors and directors of state medical cannabis programs to take immediate action to ensure that patients continue to have access to medical cannabis and that the supply chain is not interrupted while Governors are creating emergency plans in their states to address the COVID-19 pandemic.
Washington, DC -- Americans for Safe Access (ASA) applauds the passage of H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE Act), in the House Judiciary Committee today. The act, which includes elements from several cannabis-reform bills recently put forward in Congress, would, among other things, federally deschedule and decriminalize cannabis, provide for reinvestment in certain people adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, and provide for the expungement of certain cannabis offenses.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently classifies cannabis under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, a designation given to substances thought to have a high potential for abuse and no medical value. (For perspective, other Schedule I substances include LSD and heroin.) It is federally illegal for cannabis and other Schedule I substances to be “prescribed, dispensed, or administered for medical use.”
ASA Creates Patient-Focused Recommendations in Light of the Vaping Crisis - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC -- In light of the emergence of Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Illness (VAPI), which has sickened at least 805 people and killed 12, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) strongly recommends that patients and consumers stop using cannabis-containing cartridges entirely (or at least to the extent possible) until there is clarity as to what is causing these illnesses and deaths. Patients and consumers are encouraged to use other legal delivery mechanisms that may be available to them in their state, such as dry herb (flower) vaporizers, tinctures, edibles, or topicals.
ASA does not support outright bans on cannabis-containing cartridges or devices intended for the consumption of cannabis concentrates, which could cause more people to the unregulated market and exacerbate the spread of VAPI. Rather, we recommend bans on the inclusion of any additives (e.g., diluents, thickeners, flavoring agents) not derived from cannabis. Additionally, we urge that patients and consumers only purchase cannabis products that have undergone testing at an independent, third-party laboratory that has verified composition and potency and screened for adulterants, contaminants, heavy metals, residual solvents, chemical residues, and other health concerns, such as mold and dangerous bacteria.
Americans for Safe Access Urges California Governor Gavin Newsom to Sign SB 34 - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC — Americans for Safe Access urges California Governor Gavin Newsom to sign SB 34, Cannabis: Donations, which passed in the California state legislature on September 11, 2019. SB 34 would exempt medical cannabis from California state taxes. Governor Newsom has until October 13, 2019 to sign or veto the bill.
When California became the first state in the nation to develop a medical cannabis program in 1996, it was centered around compassion and access to medicine, not commercialization. Since the passage of the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA), nonprofit medical operators have suffered the unintended consequence of being faced with a tremendous tax burden based on the amount of cannabis they distribute, even if it was given away for free. Due to AUMA, nonprofit providers face taxes of up to $1,000 per pound for the cannabis they distribute free of charge, even if they do not have an operating budget and are volunteer-run organizations. Many medical cannabis storefronts closed as a result, causing a dearth of affordable cannabis products for patients.
ASA Urges FDA to Implement Good Manufacturing Principles for Vaporization Products - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC — In a letter to the heads of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Americans for Safe Access calls for the safe regulation of vaporization products and cartridges. As part of its recommendations, ASA urges the FDA to use its regulatory authority to, at minimum, issue guidance that encourages consumers to only buy vaporization products in legal, licensed stores and not on the illicit market.
“The ongoing health crisis attributed to vaping highlights the need for regulations on issues such as third-party testing and accurate labeling,” said Heather Despres, Director of Americans for Safe Access’ Patient Focused Certification program. “For many medical cannabis patients, vaporization is a popular delivery method. Patients have a right to know what is in their medicine, and the FDA should recognize that the only way to prevent further health complications from vaping products is to allow a lawful, regulated marketplace for them to exist.”
Americans for Safe Access Unveils Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC -- Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has released The Medical Cannabis Patient’s Guide for U.S. Travel in conjunction with the start of Labor Day weekend. This guide will help traveling patients understand the laws regarding access to cannabis in the states and territories that extend reciprocity to patients from other jurisdictions or permit the adult use of cannabis and will provide patients with a clear sense of how to obtain cannabis while traveling outside of their home jurisdictions. The guide also contains helpful tips for patients to bear in mind while traveling.
DEA Announces Plan to Promulgate Regulations for the Approval of New Cannabis Cultivation Facility Licenses for Scientific Research - Americans for Safe Access
Washington, DC -- According to a press release by the U.S. Department of Justice on Monday, the Drug Enforcement Administration has filed a notice in the Federal Register of its intention to promulgate regulations that govern the growing of cannabis for scientific and medical research under DEA registration. This announcement comes just days before a court deadline to respond to a lawsuit by researchers--including Americans for Safe Access’ (ASA) longtime supporter Dr. Sue Sisley--and mounting bipartisan pressure from Congressional lawmakers to move forward on the applications that the DEA began collecting three years ago from prospective growers.
Washington, DC -- Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has released its 2019 report card titled, “2019 State of the States Report: An Analysis of Medical Cannabis Access in the United States” in conjunction with the start of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Nashville, Tennessee.
The nearly 200-page report provides a detailed analysis of the state of medical cannabis programs in 47 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories on a ‘A’ to ‘F’ scale. States were assessed in six categories: 1) Patient rights and civil protections; 2) Access to medicine; 3) Ease of navigation; 4) Functionality; 5) Consumer safety and provider requirements; and 6) Medical cannabis as a tool in combating the opioid epidemic.