Press Releases

Medical Marijuana Research Act Removes Barriers for Research but Doesn’t Protect State Programs and Patients

Posted by · June 20, 2016 5:12 PM

Washington, DC - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is encouraged by the introduction of the bicameral and bipartisan medical cannabis (marijuana) research bill, the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016. The original sponsors in the House; Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Sam Farr (D-CA), Andy Harris (R-MD), and Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and in the Senate; Brian Schatz, (D-HI), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Chris Coons, (D-DE), and Thom Tillis (R-NC) are to be commended for their sincere efforts to remove federal barriers to medical cannabis research.

ASA is supportive of the objectives of the bill and agrees that it would do much to help facilitate clinical trials and medical cannabis research in the United States by decreasing the current barriers and increasing access to researchers. However, because the bill does not include protections from federal interference for the existing state medical cannabis programs and the more than 2 million Americans who rely upon them for their physician-recommended therapy, ASA can not endorse the bill at this time. 

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Patient-Advocates Across the State go Door-to-Door to Drive Support

Posted by · June 16, 2016 10:06 AM

Urbandale, IOWA - Today, patients, caregivers, and advocates held a press conference to kick off a signature drive for a petition addressed to Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asking him to give the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S.683) a vote in the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

Introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Rand Paul (R-KY), the bipartisan CARERS Act is the most comprehensive piece of medical cannabis (marijuana) legislation introduced in Congressional history. The bill, which has been gaining momentum in the Senate with Judiciary Committee members Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Al Franken (D-MN) recently signing on as co-sponsors, has been stalled in the Committee since its introduction in 2015, with Chairman Grassley refusing to bring the bill up for a vote. 

Iowa State Representative John Forbes hosted the event stating, "Iowans and people around the nation are urging Senator Grassley to allow a vote to come before the Judiciary Committee to give them and their loved ones access to cannabis medication that could have a positive impact on their quality of life.  It’s time for Senator Grassley to allow this bill to move through the legislative process."

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Patient Advocacy Group Partners with Internationally-Recognized Accreditation Body

Posted by · May 31, 2016 11:57 AM

Washington, DC – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) are excited to announce a collaboration to develop a cannabis specific laboratory accreditation program based upon the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and ASA’ s Patient Focused Certification (PFC) Program.  This joint accreditation program will be recognized by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) by virtue of A2LA’ s status as an ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) signatory for the accreditation of laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025. This accreditation program will offer the highest level of recognition and provide the most value to the laboratory and users of the products tested.

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Ohio Set to Become the 26th Medical Cannabis State

Posted by · May 27, 2016 11:40 AM

Washington DC -  Late on Wednesday night, the Ohio Legislature passed a medical cannabis (marijuana) bill, HB 523, which would create a system of retail distribution in the state. The bill passed by a vote of 18-15 in the Senate, followed shortly by a 67-28 vote in the House.

Governor John Kasich (R) is expected to the sign the bill, which will make Ohio the 26th medical cannabis state and the 42nd state with either a medical cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD) law. This means that there are now more than 310 million Americans living in a state whose medical cannabis laws are out of alignment with the federal government.

Under the bill, patients would be able to purchase medical cannabis from dispensaries regulated by the Ohio Department of Commerce. There are currently 22 qualifying conditions under the bill, including chronic pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and new conditions can be added by the state medical board. Once signed by the governor, the department will be able to begin the regulatory and licensing process.

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U.S. House of Representatives Approves Amendment to Create Access for Veterans to Medical Cannabis

Posted by · May 19, 2016 12:43 PM

Washington DC - Today, the  U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve the  Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA) to the FY2017 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) Appropriations bill, which sets the budget for the Veterans Administration (VA). The amendment, which creates a path to medical cannabis therapy for veterans receiving their healthcare through the VA, was approved by a vote of 233-189 with 57 Republicans and 176 Democrats. The amendment was sponsored again by Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) with bipartisan co-sponsorship from Representatives Farr (D-CA), Gallego (D-AZ), Heck (R-NV), Lee (D-CA), Polis (D-CO), Reed (R-NY), Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Titus (D-CA).

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California’s new medical marijuana regulatory Chief Lori Ajax to address patients and other stakeholders at the event

Posted by · May 18, 2016 10:40 AM

Sacramento, CA – Hundreds of patients, advocates, care providers, industry workers, and other stakeholders from around the State are convening in Sacramento on Monday to meet with their elected officials and urge them to protect patients' rights, defeat taxation measures, and support beneficial changes to the new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA).

Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s largest medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization, is hosting its fifth annual legislative briefing and California Citizen Lobby Day to ensure that patients' voices are at the forefront as state policymakers debate several medical cannabis bills before the state legislature:

  • SB 987 (McGuire) - Adds a 15% excise tax on all medical cannabis sales in CA.

  • SB 1116 (McGuire) - Authorizes cities and counties to impose additional taxes patients who grow and use their own medicine.

  • AB 2740 (Low) - Makes it a crime to drive with any amount of cannabis detectable in your blood, even if you are not impaired.

  • AB 1575 (Bonta) - Adds new license types and makes other beneficial changes to the new Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act.

  • And more
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State Department States NIDA Monopoly on Research Marijuana Unnecessary

Posted by · May 06, 2016 10:37 AM

State Department Confirms Breaking Up NIDA Monopoly Does Not Violate UN Treaty

(Washington, D.C.) - The Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement at the State Department has gone on record stating that the United States could issue multiple licenses for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes without violating the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty. The statement came in response to a direct request from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) regarding whether issuing multiple licenses to grow medical marijuana was a violation of the Single Convention. The State Department’s interpretation is at odds with that of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which has always maintained that the treaty only allows a single license, which is granted to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). This has created what is referred to as the “NIDA monopoly on cannabis,” which has stalled medical cannabis research for years.

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Orrick and Americans for Safe Access Join Together to Provide Legal Support for Patients

Posted by · April 28, 2016 3:28 AM

(New York) - Orrick, a leading global law firm, is partnering with Americans for Safe Access’ Patients’ Rights Project to provide pro bono support to medical cannabis patients, many if not most of whom are low-income, to navigate the often confusing legal landscape of medical cannabis laws. Forty-one states, DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam all have some type of medical cannabis law today.  Each law is unique and presents varying challenges for patients trying to obtain treatment in these often complex programs. Once laws are passed, medical cannabis patients and providers are often unclear about the specifics of the laws, which leaves them vulnerable to arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. Furthermore, implementation of these programs has often required litigation. The services provided by this partnership will help fill a growing void for this type of resource.

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Senate Panel Votes to Protect State Medical Marijuana Laws

Posted by · April 21, 2016 4:30 PM

(Washington, D.C.) Thursday morning, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the FY2017 Commerce, Justice, Science & Related Agencies Appropriations Act (CJS) to protect medical cannabis patients. The amendment, sponsored by Ranking Member Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), prohibits the Depart of Justice from spending funds to interfere with state medical cannabis programs and was approved with strong bipartisan support, 21-8. Last year, the committee approved a nearly identical amendment from Mikulski, with the only change being the addition of Pennsylvania to the list of protected states, bringing the total to 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Guam.

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International Patient Advocates Attend UNGASS Meetings to Push for Concrete Action

Posted by · April 19, 2016 7:50 PM

(New York, NY) – The United Nation’s General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drug policy began today with representatives and world leaders making strong statements urging member countries to move beyond prohibition and into effective regulations for medical Cannabis. H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, the current President of UNGASS, opened the event by discussing the need to address cannabis and the unfortunate situation where medical “cannabis laws defy the current conventions,” and that “...access to drugs for medical use is a human right to protect.”

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