Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Allow VA to Recommend Medical Cannabis - Americans for Safe Access
(Washington, DC) – Today, the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations 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 vote this year had record support of 20-10 with Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Roy Blunt (R-MO) joining as new supporters.The bi-partisan amendment was reintroduced by Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).
Maryland Passes Bill to Expand Certifying Providers for Medical Marijuana - Americans for Safe Access
(Annapolis, MD) – Yesterday, the Maryland Senate by a vote of 36-10 passed HB104, Medical Cannabis - Written Certifications - Certifying Providers on the last day of the legislative session. If Governor Larry Hogan (R) signs the legislation as expected, it will allow dentists, podiatrists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners in addition to physicians to provide written certifications for medical cannabis to qualifying patients. These additional medical providers must have an active, unrestricted license, be in good standing with their respective board, and have a State controlled dangerous substances (CDS) registration in order to qualify as a provider. Based on information provided by the Maryland Department of Legislative Services , there are 40,048 health care providers that had active CDS registrations in 2015, and this legislation will enable many of those providers to utilize cannabis treatment in their practices, as well as provide more options for patients seeking certification.
(Washington, DC) - Yesterday, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) joined the bipartisan Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act (S. 683) as a co-sponsor. The support of Senator Graham coincides with the one-year anniversary of the bill’s introduction by Senators Cory Booker (D-NY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and Rand Paul (R-KY). The CARERS Act is the most comprehensive piece of medical cannabis legislation ever introduced in the U.S. Congress and would remedy the state-federal conflict over medical cannabis law.
“Graham’s support of CARERS Act is a significant step for patients” said Americans for Safe Access Executive Director, Steph Sherer. “This development should finally compel fellow Republican and Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley to allow the bill a vote. This is the only way to respect the 40 states that have laws recognizing medical use and the more than 80% of voters who support it.”
(Richmond, VA) - Yesterday, Virginia's lawmakers passed a bill which will allow for the eventual production and distribution of low THC marijuana oils in the Commonwealth. After lengthy discussions and negotiations in both houses, SB701, Cannabidiol oil and THC-A oil; permitting of pharmaceutical processors to manufacture and provide, passed the House of Delegates unanimously on Monday. The bill returned to the Senate Tuesday with amendments and passed with a vote of 39-0. The bill now goes to the Governor's desk for his signature.
“Providing this medication to Virginians is absolutely the right thing to do,” said Senator Dave Marsden, the sponsor of the legislation.“THCa and CBD oils have shown the ability to help alleviate the number and severity of seizures from intractable epilepsy and help so many families live a quality life. This is a huge step for Virginia, a first in the nation concept that will provide the medications in the safest most secure fashion and shows once again that Virginia leads the way.”
“I am pleased to have joined Senator Marsden once again in supporting legislation on this important issue. We must advocate for our most vulnerable Virginians. Passage of SB 701 is one of the many ways this can be done,” said Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn, co-sponsor of the legislation.
(Richmond, VA) - Yesterday, the Virginia Senate by a vote of 37 to 2 passed SB701, a bill that would allow the production and manufacturing of cannabidiol (CBD) oil and THC-A oil in the state. For the past several weeks, patients, parents and advocates from across the state worked tirelessly to persuade members of the Senate to move forward on this issue, which until last year seemed out of reach for Virginia's conservative legislature.
Last year’s passage of SB1235 and HB1445 gave intractable epilepsy patients and their caregivers an affirmative defense for possession of two marijuana oils, THCa and CBD, used to treat seizures. However, the law provides no way for patients to obtain the oils without breaking federal and state laws. To help rectify this situation, Senator Marsden from Fairfax introduced SB701, which, if passed, will provide a mechanism for production in the state of these oils for patients with intractable epilepsy.
(New York, NY) – Today Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), Steph Sherer, and Michael Krawitz, Executive Director, Veterans For Medical Cannabis Access will join organizations from across the globe at at the UN Headquarters to continue preparations for the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS 2016) on drug policy to be held April 19th-21st They will be providing input for Member States in the negotiations of the outcome document to be presented at UNGASS 2016 and will be urging that global policies on medical cannabis be included.
The last time the UN held a special session was in 1999, and its focus, guided by the US, was to eliminate illegal drugs and drug trafficking. Today, international leaders, drug policy reform groups, patients, and citizens are encouraging the UN to reform this outdated and ineffective approach to drug policy. On the agenda for UNGASS 2016 is a review of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971, and the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988.
TheAnswerPage Creates the "New York State Practitioner Education-Medical Use of Marijuana Course" for New York’s Department of Health - Americans for Safe Access
New York, NY - The Answer Page, Inc. in collaboration with the New York Department of Health created and launched the “New York State Practitioner Education-Medical Use of Marijuana Course" on www.TheAnswerPage.com.
TheAnswerPage is proud to offer the Medical Use of Marijuana Course created by Stephen B. Corn, MD and Meredith Fisher-Corn, MD with contributions from experts around the globe and approved by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Physicians seeking to register with the NYSDOH to certify patients for medical marijuana must complete this course. Pharmacists working in dispensing facilities must take the four-hour course before they may counsel, or supervise another employee who may counsel, certified patients and designated caregivers on the use, administration, and risks associated with approved medical marijuana products. Any healthcare professionals interested in learning more about medical marijuana are also eligible to enroll. Upon successful completion of the program, those who complete the course will receive 4.5 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits™.
State Officials and Experts Applaud New Report that Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nation-wide - Americans for Safe Access
(Washington, D.C.) – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” today. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.
Eighty-one percent of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana according to a May 7, 2015, Harris Poll. This broad support has led to unprecedented progress in state medical marijuana programs in 2015. Nineteen states introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana during the year. In addition, many of the twenty three states with current medical marijuana laws passed legislation to expand or improve their programs in 2015, including New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states, like Nevada and Vermont, expanded and improved their programs through new regulations.
Medical Marijuana Patient Advocacy Group Urges California Cities and Counties to License Cultivation - Americans for Safe Access
Sacramento, CA – A national medical marijuana advocacy organization published a memo and model ordinance on Monday for California cities and counties recommending that they regulate the cultivation of medical marijuana instead of banning it. The memo and model ordinance are part of project by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) to support patients and advocates fighting bans on cultivation and pushing for local licensing and regulation of medical marijuana businesses.
“Medical cannabis advocates need tools and training to talk with their local lawmakers about medical marijuana,” said ASA California Director Don Duncan. “This project is all about supporting and empowering those local advocates to make a difference in their hometown.” ASA’s new Local Access Project (LAP) is a web portal with links to documents and online training that medical marijuana supporters can use to talk with their representatives on the City Council or County Board of Supervisors.
US Medical Marijuana Advocacy Organization Launches International Research Center - Americans for Safe Access
Prague, Czech Republic – Today members of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), KOPAC and Dioscorides Global Holdings (DGH) were joined by the Minister of Health for the Czech Republic, Svatopluk Němeček to announce the establishment of a new research center, the International Cannabis and Cannabinoid Institute (ICCI) – intended to foster evidence-based exploration with a modern scientific approach to refine the therapeutic applicability of cannabis-based medicines in the Czech Republic. ICCI will identify, coordinate and support global research priorities for the advancement of cannabis and cannabinoid treatments through a multidisciplinary evidence based approach that incorporates innovative tools and approaches.