Press Releases

Top Experts to Testify on Federal Restrictions Holding Back Medical Marijuana Research

Posted by · July 21, 2015 4:51 PM

Washington,  DC-  On Thursday, July 23rd Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is hosting a Congressional Briefing with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on federal barriers faced by researchers working to understand the medical uses of marijuana.   The briefing will provide expert insights on how federal policy has undermined medical marijuana research, the state of  contemporary medical marijuana research and the impact of reform proposals.

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California Law Will End Discrimination Against Medical Cannabis Patients in the Organ Transplant Process

Posted by · July 06, 2015 5:22 PM

Sacramento, CA - Today Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act.  AB 258 prohibits discrimination against medical cannabis patients in the organ transplant process, unless a doctor has determined that medical cannabis use is clinically significant to the transplant process. Medical cannabis patients in California have been routinely removed from the organ transplant waiting list if they test positive for cannabis use – even legal doctor-recommended medical cannabis.  AB 258 was authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA).

“AB 258’s passage is the result of ASA’s membership tirelessly work for over two years,” said Don Duncan ASA’s California Director. “In California legal medical cannabis patients will never again face a choice between their doctor-recommended medicine and a life-saving organ transplant. Governor Brown deserves credit for protecting medical cannabis patients from this harmful discriminatory practice that has no bias in medical research.”

On June 15th over 200 patients and advocates participated in the ASA California Citizen Lobby Day, which focused on educating lawmakers about AB 258 and other medical cannabis legislation. During the lobby day ASA began a postcard campaign to encourage Governor Brown to support AB 258.  

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Drug Caucus Holds Hearing on Barriers to Cannabidiol Research

Posted by · June 24, 2015 1:36 PM

Washington, DC - Earlier today, the Senate International Narcotics Control Caucus held a hearing on facilitating cannabidiol (CBD) research. CBD is found in cannabis and has shown great potential to treat intractable epilepsy and numerous other therapeutic benefits. According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) CBD is considered a schedule I substance, despite the growing body of evidence indicating therapeutic benefits to patients suffering from dravet syndrome and other severe forms of epilepsy.  The hearing also focused on regulatory oversight and reforming the process for researchers to obtain cannabis.

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California State Senate Moves To End Discrimination Against Medical Cannabis Patients Seeking Organ Transplants

Posted by · June 22, 2015 9:20 PM

Sacramento, CA - The California Senate approved AB 258, the Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, earlier today by a margin of 33-1.  AB 258 prohibits discrimination against medical cannabis patients in the organ transplant process, unless a doctor has determined that medical cannabis use is clinically significant to the transplant process. Medical cannabis patients in California are routinely removed from the organ transplant waiting list if they test positive for cannabis use – even legal doctor-recommended medical cannabis.  AB 258 was authored by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA).

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Decision Removes Unnecessary Burdens On Legitimate Scientific Inquiry

Posted by · June 22, 2015 3:11 PM

Washington, DC - Earlier today the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced they will lift the public health service (PHS) review on marijuana research projects not funded by the federal government. The PHS review process was established in 1999 following a 1998 Institute of Medicine report that called for more in depth scientific research on marijuana. While the process was intended to facilitate greater research today it is broadly recognized as undermining legitimate scientific inquiry.  

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Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Mikulski Medical Marijuana Amendment to CJS

Posted by · June 11, 2015 2:36 PM

Washington, DC-  Earlier today the United States Senate Appropriations Committee voted for the Mikulski medical cannabis (marijuana) amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 20-10.  Senator Barbara Mikulski ‘s (D-MD) amendment to the CJS appropriations bill mirrors the legislative language of the recently passed Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment to the House of Representative CJS bill. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs, removing funding for federal medical cannabis raids, arrests and prosecutions in states where medical cannabis is legal. The Mikulski amendment passed with the bipartisan support of 13 Democrats and 7 Republicans. Today’s vote marks the first time the Senate has voted on state-level medical cannabis programs. 

“The success of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment shows a growing acknowledgement that the federal government should not interfere with state medical cannabis programs,” said Steph Sherer Americans for Safe Access Executive Director. “The passage of the Mikulski medical cannabis amendment also shows that Senate support exists for the central elements of the CARERS Act. The CARERS Act would make the protections in Mikulski medical cannabis amendment permanent and create a much needed framework for research and federal and state cooperation.”

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Americans for Safe Access Applaud Step Forward for California Medical Cannabis Patients

Posted by · June 05, 2015 10:08 AM

Sacramento, CA - Americans for Safe Access (ASA) today announced support for AB 266, which would create a comprehensive regulatory structure for California’s landmark medical cannabis program. Earlier today AB 266 passed the California Assembly by a margin of 60-8-12.  Last week AB 266 was merged with AB 34 and Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) was made lead author of the bill. AB 266 is co-authored by Assemblymembers Ken Cooley (D-Rancho Cordova) and Reginald Byron Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles). In addition to supporting AB 266 in its present form, ASA will be working with the General Assembly, California State Senate, patients, and providers to find ways to further improve the bill to optimize the ultimate program that would be created.

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House Vote Would Continue Prohibition on Federal Interference in State-Level Medical Marijuana Programs in 39 States

Posted by · June 03, 2015 2:37 PM

Washington, DC-  The United States House of Representatives voted to reauthorize the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis (marijuana) amendment to the Commerce, Science, and Justice (CJS) Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015 by a margin of 242 to 186. The Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment bans the Department of Justice from spending money to prevent the implementation of state-level medical cannabis programs, removing funding for federal medical cannabis raids, arrests and prosecutions in states where medical cannabis is legal. With the addition of seven states in the last year the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment now covers 39 states and protects access to medical cannabis programs for 275 million citizens in those states.

“The Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment offers crucial protection for medical cannabis patients and the people that provide them with access to much needed medicine,” said Steph Sherer Americans for Safe Access Executive Director. “Having reaffirmed the federal government’s commitment to not interfere with state medical cannabis programs it’s now time to move forward and create a framework for federal and state cooperation in medical cannabis by passing the CARERS Act."

Last year the House of Representatives passed the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment by a margin of 219-189 with a strong bipartisan show of support. Lead by the support of Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) the Rohrabacher-Farr medical cannabis amendment remained in the CRomnibus bill that President Obama signed into law. Its passage marked the first time Congress approved a medical cannabis reform since designating cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Today approximately 2.4 million Americans currently utilize medical cannabis programs.

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Veterans Equal Access Amendment Would Allow Veterans Administration Physicians To Recommend Medical Cannabis

Posted by · May 21, 2015 3:23 PM

Washington, DC - In a landslide vote, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations voted to the add the Veterans Equal Access Amendment (VEAA) to the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilConVA) Appropriations bill, which sets the budget for the Veterans Administration (VA). The VEAA would end the current  gag order preventing VA physicians from recommending or even discussing medical cannabis to veterans in states where medical cannabis programs exist. The bi-partisan amendment was introduced by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and succeeded by a vote margin of 18-12.

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Medical Cannabis Advocates Applaud Bipartisan Vote

Posted by · May 13, 2015 12:53 PM

Harrisburg, PA - On Tuesday the Pennsylvania Senate passed SB 3, a legislative proposal that would create a functional medical cannabis program in the state. Sen. Mike Folmer (R-Lebanon) and Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery) co-sponsored the legislation and built up bipartisan support that lead to the bill’s passage by a margin of 40-7.

“The support of so many in the Senate and the many, many advocates has been overwhelming and I cannot thank everyone enough,” said Folmer.  “I believe in its present form Senate Bill 3 represents a balance between the advocates who want greater access to medical cannabis and those who continue to have concerns.  Hopefully we have established a solid foundation for consideration and deliberation in the House.”

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