Press Releases

Medical Cannabis Training in Sacramento Oct 17-21 Educates Regulators and Cannabis Industry Leaders on Industry Standards, Safety

Posted by · October 12, 2016 12:00 PM

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA — Starting on Monday, October 17th and running through October 21st, industry experts from Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will hold a training program for medical cannabis growers, manufacturers, retailers and regulators to educate them on the many components of the medical cannabis industry. The training will be held on-site at the Sutter Square Galleria, in Sacramento, CA, and for the first time, include remote training options for those who want to take the training but can not travel to Sacramento.

The Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program is a third-party certification program for the medical cannabis industry that provides tools to promote the adoption of industry safety standards and regulations, from the growth of the cannabis plant to its consumption. PFC standards are based on those issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) Cannabis monograph, making PFC the only training program of its kind.

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DC City Council Votes to Lift Rule Limited Medical Cannabis Patients to One Dispensary, Authorizes DOH to License Lab Testing

Posted by · October 11, 2016 12:38 AM

WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the DC Council had a First Reading vote on the Medical Marijuana Omnibus Amendment Act of 2016 (B21-210), which would address a number of issues currently hampering the District’s Medical Marijuana Program (MMP). The bill will create lab testing, allow reciprocity, and remove the cultivation center plant count limit for the MMP.

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ASA Releases Comparative Analysis of DEA Marijuana Scheduling Decision

Posted by · September 01, 2016 6:18 PM

Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) disseminated a report comparing the body of research the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) used as a basis for their decision to keep cannabis (marijuana) as a Schedule I substance, as defined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), with available data, including the research ASA used in its independent, peer-reviewed 8-Factor Analysis. The report by ASA titled DEA’s Denial of Existing Medical Cannabis Research: A Peer-Reviewed Comparative Analysis of DEA’s “Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana,” provides a thorough analysis of the scientific data the DEA relied upon in making its scheduling decision and relevant data they did not include. The comparative analysis was sent to all members of Congress as a way of educating them on the body of available evidence supporting cannabis’s safety and efficacy for therapeutic use.

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DEA Denies Cannabis Has Medical Value, Again

Posted by · August 11, 2016 2:00 PM

Washington D.C. - Today, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) released its decision to keep cannabis in its current Schedule 1 status. This decision will have substantial implications for the two million patients that currently have access to medical cannabis and cannabis products under state laws. Schedule I status means that the DEA sees no accepted medical use of cannabis.  

The Controlled Substances Act requires an 8-Factor Analysis from the HHS upon which the DEA makes it determination for all scheduling, or rescheduling, decisions. Previous efforts to reschedule cannabis have also been blocked by the DEA, who remain the most steadfast in maintaining their opposition to cannabis reform under the Obama administration

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Advocates Hope Lawmakers Consider Cannabis as Strategy

Posted by · August 09, 2016 11:13 AM

Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) released the Medical Cannabis Access for Pain Treatment: A Viable Strategy to Address the Opioid Crisis report to educate legislators and health practitioners on the benefits of medical cannabis as a treatment option for the millions of patients suffering from chronic pain. Prescription opioid use has increased dramatically over the last two decades, and in the same period the number of deaths attributed to opioid overdose have quadrupled, creating a national crisis.   

In a briefing released earlier this year, President Obama proposed $1.1B in new funding for a multi-pronged approach to address the opioid overdose epidemic. In July, Obama signed the  Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) into law. Many of the provisions in CARA focus on post-addiction strategies for treating drug abuse, heroin use, and overdose prevention strategies. Provisions that focus upstream, including addiction prevention strategies and ways to reduce the amount of opioids prescribed while still ensuring patients receive effective treatment, are underrepresented in the plan. While increasing funding for treatment programs is critical, it is equally important to utilize less harmful, treatment options.

ASA’s report outlines research and data supporting cannabis as an effective treatment option and provides three recommendations:

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Senators Grassley and Feinstein Introduce Bill to Exempt Certain Medical Cannabis Patients From Federal Prosecution

Posted by · July 15, 2016 5:22 PM

Washington, D.C. - Today, the Cannabidiol Research Expansion Act (S. 3269) was introduced in the United States Senate, which would ease research barriers and create exemptions from federal law for certain medical cannabis patients. The bill was introduced by four members of the Senate Judiciary Committee - Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Tom Tillis (R-NC). Much of the bill is focused on allowing for institutions of higher education or manufacturers to register with the federal government in order to conduct research on cannabis (marijuana) or cannabidiol (CBD), but it’s the “Safe Harbor” provision that is drawing the attention of medical cannabis patients.

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Patient Community Calls on Congress to Move Forward on Medical Cannabis Legislation

Posted by · July 12, 2016 12:48 PM

Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) delivered a letter on behalf of 13 patient-based organizations to Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representatives Joe Pitts (R-PA) and Gene Green (D-TX) urging them to give the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S.683, H.R. 1583) a vote in the United States Senate Judiciary Committee and House Committee on Energy and Commerce: Subcommittee on Health, respectively.  The letter was signed by Americans for Safe Access, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE), Danny Did Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Finding a Cure for Epilepsy and Seizures (FACES), Hope4Harper, Hope for Hypothalamic Hamartomas, Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS) Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Women’s Health Network, Realm of Caring, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance.

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Maine Medical Cannabis Business Achieves National Certification

Posted by · June 30, 2016 12:47 PM

Auburn, ME – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is pleased to announce that Remedy Compassion Center of Auburn, Maine has been certified for cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of medical cannabis products under ASA’s Patient Focused Certification(PFC) program. PFC is a project of ASA, and the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical cannabis industry based on quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and theAmerican Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP).  

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Congress Blocks Veterans Equal Access Amendment Despite House & Senate Approval

Posted by · June 26, 2016 1:25 PM

Washington, D.C. - On Thursday, news broke that the Veterans Equal Access Amendment had been stripped from the House Conference Report of the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2017. The provision was removed from the conference version of the bill, despite passing in the Senate Appropriations Committee 20-9, and on the House floor 233-189. The removal of an amendment to an appropriations bill that has been approved in both chambers is unprecedented and defies explanation.

“Blocking this amendment at the conference committee stage is an assault on democracy and those Americans who risked their lives and health to defend it,” said Michael Liszewski, Government Affairs Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “It’s shocking that House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers would allow a veterans health care provision that won by wide margins in a Senate committee and on the House floor to be stripped from the bill behind closed doors.”

The amendment would forbid the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) from punishing its physicians who discuss the benefits of or recommend medical cannabis (marijuana) in accordance with state law. Currently, VA doctors can be punished by the Administration for recommending medical cannabis under state law, and veterans who rely on the VA for their health care are denied access to state-regulated medical cannabis programs. The amendment would not require VA doctors to fill out recommendation forms or allow anyone to possess medical cannabis on federal property, it simply would open up a path to access state programs for America’s military veterans.

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Medical Cannabis Advocates and CARERS Act Sponsors Hold Senate Briefing Urging Immediate Protection for Patients

Posted by · June 21, 2016 5:19 PM

Washington, D.C. - Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) presented a briefing on the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S. 683/H.R. 1538) with Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. The briefing featured policy experts and medical cannabis (marijuana) stakeholders who would be protected by the bill. Lead CARERS Act sponsor Senator Cory Booker spoke on behalf of the bill as well. The group urged Congress to take swift action to protect existing medical cannabis programs and the patients that rely upon them by passing the CARERS Act, a bill that is currently awaiting a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Even though some form of medical marijuana is already legal in 42 states, federal law still makes it a crime to use this form of medicine, even in states where it is legal,” said Senator Gillibrand. “This is clearly a case of antiquated ideology getting in the way of scientific progress. I will continue to urge all of my colleagues in the Senate to support the CARERS Act, so we can help our families have access to the medicine they need without fear of arrest.”

“The recent discussion about lifting the federal barriers to medical cannabis research is an encouraging signal, but we must remember that there are millions of patients in the U.S. who need medical cannabis today,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of ASA. “Patients should not suffer while waiting for the fruit of this research, which may take years or even decades to accomplish.”

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