Press Releases

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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Bill Would End Organ Transplant Discrimination Against Medical Cannabis Patients

Posted by · May 01, 2015 11:04 AM

Sacramento, CA - The California State Assembly passed AB 258,The Medical Cannabis Organ Transplant Act, yesterday by a vote of 52 to 8. The bill is authored by Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael) and sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization.

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. However, medical research has shown that there is no significant difference in survival rates between medical cannabis patients and non-users who receive an organ transplant.

“Today, I am proud to stand with my Assembly colleagues in support of AB 258, a common sense measure that will protect the lives of legal medical cannabis patients,” said Assembly Member Marc Levine (D-San Rafael).  “With this legislation, California can insure that its residents are provided a fair assessment of their eligibility as an organ transplant recipient.”

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New DEA Leadership Clears Way For Rescheduling and Other Needed Reforms

Posted by · April 22, 2015 2:01 PM

WASHINGTON, DC-  Several news reports have circulated suggesting that Michele Leonhart, administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), is resigning. Leonhart has been criticized by medical cannabis advocates as well as members of Congress for her unwillingness to adhere to the Obama Administration's stated policies on medical cannabis. Under Leonhart the DEA led increased raids against medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivators in defiance of guidance from the Department of Justice steering them away from cases that targeted state-legal medical cannabis patients.  The legacy of Leonhart includes opposing sentencing guidelines reforms embraced by the Obama Administration and other law enforcement agencies, working to maintain cannabis’ Schedule I status, and claiming that rising drug war violence in Mexico was a sign of success.  During a notable Congressional oversight hearing in 2012, Leonhart refused to state if she thought crack or heroin were more dangerous than cannabis.  When President Obama stated in a 2014 New York Times interview that he felt cannabis was no more dangerous than alcohol, Leonhart defiantly spoke out against the President.

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Americans for Safe Access to Host Advocate Discussion of CNN’s Weed 3

Posted by · April 20, 2015 3:49 PM

WASHINGTON, DC-  Last night Dr. Sanjay Gupta continued his groundbreaking reporting on medical marijuana with Weed 3, which continued to introduce Americans to new stories of patients benefiting from medical marijuana and document the challenges that continue to slow down progress in this critical area. Weed 3 included important moments like President Obama signaling his support for medical marijuana and documenting the political commitment of Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ),  Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Rand Paul (R-KY) to reform federal policy on medical marijuana with the CARERS Act.  Patient profiles like that of U.S. veteran Sean Kiernan who uses medical marijuana to treat PTSD symptoms again showed Americans that medical marijuana can have tremendous benefits in the lives of suffering patients.  


“CNN’s Weed 3 showed how patient advocates are fighting for and winning the right to safe access to medical marijuana for themselves as well as researchers,” said Steph Sherer executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Political leaders like President Obama, Senators Booker, Gillibrand and Paul are supporting medical marijuana reform because they understand the huge difference it can make in patient’s lives.”

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Americans for Safe Access to Host Advocate Discussion of CNN’s Weed 3

Posted by · April 17, 2015 4:31 PM

WASHINGTON, DC- Over the last two years Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reporting has been truly groundbreaking in mainstreaming the benefits of medical marijuana. Dr Gupta has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical marijuana products into the living rooms of millions of Americans.

“Watching CNN’s Weed was the first time many Americans saw everyday people benefiting from medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “Seeing how much good medical marijuana can do has lead to an outgrowth in activism that has helped create new laws at the state level and is laying the foundation for important federal legislation.” 

On April 19th, CNN will premiere the third installment of their documentary series on medical marijuana Weed 3 documenting the ongoing developments in what Dr. Gupta has declared a “medical marijuana revolution.” The following day-- on April 20th at 7:00pm EST-- patient advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.

What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.

Featuring: ASA executive director Steph Sherer,  PA State Senator Mike Folmer (invited) Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.

When: Monday April 20th 7:00pm EST.

Where: http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_live

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Access to Safe, Affordable Medicine Will Be Endangered If SB 5052 Becomes Law in Current Form

Posted by · April 15, 2015 5:07 PM

OLYMPIA, WA - Yesterday the Washington State Senate concurred on House amendments to Senate Bill 5052, which regulates medical cannabis. SB 5052 has now passed through the full Washington legislature meaning that the bill will now be sent to Governor Inslee’s desk. Given the final language of the bill the best course of action is for Governor Inslee to protect patients by using his veto powers.  

While legislative solutions that would have addressed well-documented concerns from medical cannabis patients, health care professionals, compassionate designated providers, and those in the industry exist, they have been not been incorporated into the bill’s language.

“As it stands, SB 5052 contains a number of sections that would undermine the ability of patients to maintain their access to a steady supply of essential cannabis products,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access. “These extreme restrictions mean the end of medical cannabis in Washington in the way that patients have come to rely on.”

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“Patient Protection Amendment” Would Ensure Continued Access to Safe, Affordable Medicine

Posted by · April 10, 2015 3:19 PM

OLYMPIA, WA - A bipartisan team of Washington State Representatives has introduced a sweeping amendment to Senate Bill 5052 ahead of an expected vote slated for Friday afternoon. The “Patient Protection Amendment” would make significant improvements to the bill, which has faced stiff opposition from the health care community.

“As currently written, Senate Bill 5052 would recriminalize countless patients and caregivers in Washington. Without meaningful amendments, safe, affordable access to medical cannabis in our state will be restricted significantly,” says Rep. Luis Moscoso (D - Mountlake Terrace). “In a state where marijuana is legal, there should be no uncertainty that the specialty strains and medical products that patients are using today will still be available in the future.

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