Pages tagged "Americans for Safe Access (ASA)"

  • Activists rally against the imprisonment of patients & in defiance of increased federal attacks in medical marijuana states

    Americans for Safe Access (ASA) staged rallies yesterday in Sacramento, California and Washington, DC to bring attention to the unnecessary incarceration of more medical marijuana patients and to defy what has become an escalated federal attack on medical marijuana states. As part of its "Sick and Tired" campaign, ASA members and supporters also delivered "Cease & Desist" orders to federal authorities in 10 medical marijuana states.





    The rally in Sacramento was to support Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband Dale Schafer as they surrendered to federal authorities, beginning a new chapter to their decade-long battle with the federal government. After being raided in 2001, despite approval to cultivate and repeated inspections by the local sheriff, they were eventually charged in 2005. Denied a medical defense in federal court, Fry and Schafer were convicted in 2007 of manufacturing, and conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana. They appealed their sentence, but it was vigorously fought by the Obama Administration. Be sure to urge Obama to grant Fry and Schafer clemency.

    Additional photos of the Sacramento rally can be seen here and here.

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    The same day, activists rallied in front of the Justice Department in Washington, DC chanting, "Obama be bolder, put a leash on Holder!" In recent weeks, raids in medical marijuana states have been on the rise. Since the Justice Department memo was issued in October 2009, discouraging federal enforcement actions in medical marijuana states, the Obama administration has conducted more than 90 aggressive SWAT-style raids against patients and their providers.

    The most recent tactic being used by the Obama administration to undermine state medical marijuana laws is for U.S. Attorneys to send letters to local and state officials threatening them with criminal prosecution if they implement well-planned out production and distribution licensing schemes. Justice Department letters have so far been sent to officials in Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Montana, Rhode Island and Washington. The letters have commonly been timed to coincide with legislative actions, which in several cases have had the effect of curtailing patients' rights and access to their medication. To help bring attention to this unwarranted harassment and intimidation, ASA gave President Obama a failing grade in a report card it issued in March.

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    Rallies also occurred in Los Angeles, Detroit and a handful of other cities.

    Focusing on medical marijuana states, ASA coordinated the delivery of "Cease and Desist" orders to Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and U.S. Attorneys' offices throughout the country, including in Arizona (Phoenix, Tucson), California (Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco), Colorado (Denver), Maine (Portland), Michigan (Detroit, Lansing), Montana (Billings), Nevada (Las Vegas), Oregon (Eugene, Portland), Rhode Island (Providence), and Washington (Everett, Seattle, Spokane).

    Last week, as Washington Governor Gregoire was vetoing provisions of a bill that would have licensed distribution facilities in that state, she said she wanted to discuss this issue with other governors to urge the Obama administration to reschedule medical marijuana. ASA is taking that proposal seriously and intends to follow up with governors from medical marijuana states to educate them on the rescheduling issue and how there has been a pending petition which has gone unanswered for 9 years.
  • May 2: Order the DEA to Cease and Desist, Rally for Patients' Rights!

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    Stand in solidarity with me for a National Day of Action this Monday, May 2, 2011.  Our community is sick and tired. We are suffering from chronic or debilitating conditions, and we are weary of false promises that do nothing to protect our rights as patients. 



    After previously giving us a false sense of security, the Obama administration now continues to ignore state laws and raid medical cannabis patients and facilities, while creating new ways to marginalize our community, including issues related to patient privacy, access, banking, taxation, and threats of filing suit against state employees who participate in upholding state law. This community is still under attack. 

    Just yesterday, our community witnessed raid activity in Washington State and on Monday, our community will lose two more of our brothers and sisters to the failed war on drugs.  Dale Shafer and Dr. Mollie fry will turn themselves over to federal agents to serve five-year mandatory minimum sentences for legally participating in state sanctioned medical cannabis programs.  Enough is enough and Monday, May 2, 2011 is our time to take stand against federal interference! 

    Fellow community members and local activists are preparing to deliver ASA’s Cease and Desist to local DEA offices and federal buildings across the country.  Commit to do the same. Join activists in several cities across the country.  Locations include, but are not limited to, the following areas: Washington State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Maine, New Jersey, Washington, DC, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Maryland.  To find out what is going on in your area, email [email protected], or print out the Cease and Desist Order and take it to a local DEA Office or Federal Building near you on Monday!! Remember: if you don’t stand up for safe access, who will?

    Special Patients' Rights Rallies will be occurring in both Washington, DC outside of the Department of Justice at 12pEST (event flyer) and outside of the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento, CA at 12pPST for Dale Schafer and Dr. Mollie Fry (event flyer).

    It's thanks to the support from our members that ASA is able to hold Days of Action like this one. Please consider making a donation to ASA today, so we can continue to strengthen our fight for safe access.

    I look forward to participating in our National Day of Action for patients' rights with you on Monday, May 2, 2011.
  • Action Alert: Call The San Diego Mayor Today Urge Him to Veto


    Earlier this month, over the most unprecedented public opposition to an ordinance the City Council has seen to date, they voted for a second time to approve an ordinance that the forces all collectives currently operating in the city to shutter their doors, taking away access to medical cannabis from over 50,000 patients.

    The displaced and disenfranchised patients wishing to comply with the new rules, prior to reopening must apply for a Conditional Use Permit Process 3 and find a location only in a limited number of far flung industrial areas of the City that are 600 feet away from schools, churches, parks, child care facilities, youth service facilities, libraries, playgrounds, and other collectives.



    The new ordinance did not address any compliance period for existing locations and zoned access out of the areas of the city containing the highest patient populations. City Council asked the Mayor to come up with a price tag for the new permits as well as to propose an enforcement and regulatory structure for collectives within thirty days.

    Following the final legislative act by the City Council on this ordinance the Mayor has ten days to either veto the legislation or sign it into law. If he lets the 10 days go by without a signature, then the ordinance automatically becomes law and he is no longer able to issue a veto.

    Call the Mayor’s office today at 619-236-6330 and urge him to veto this overly restrictive ordinance and fix the City Council’s mistake.

    Use the sample script below:

    "Mayor Sanders:
    I am outraged at the San Diego City Council’s vote on the medical marijuana dispensary ordinance and the impact it will have on the community in San Diego. Medical marijuana patients and providers should not be zoned out of the city into far flung industrial areas and forced to go through an overly restrictive compliance process.

    I strongly urge you to amend the ordinance with the following:

    1. Create a two year compliance period for collectives currently in operation.

    2. Add all commercial and industrial areas back in to the list of allowed zones.

    3. Reduce the proximity restriction to 600 feet away from schools as the only sensitivity use.

    4. Reduce Process three to Process one “By Right”, the same land use requirements imposed on pharmacies in the City of San Diego.

    It is unnecessary and burdensome for patients and dispensaries, to restrict dispensaries to industrial corners, far away from public transit and other services. Depending on a city's population density, it can also be extremely detrimental to set excessive proximity restrictions (to schools or other facilities) that can make it impossible for dispensaries to locate anywhere within the city limits. It is important to balance patient needs with neighborhood concerns in this process.

    Thank you for your time."

    After calling, click here to send the Mayor an email:
    http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/182/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=6378

    San Diego Americans for Safe Access | www.SafeAccessSD.org

    Get Involved, get active, make a difference!
    Join ASA - www.safeaccessnow.org
  • MT Governor vetoes repeal, but the fight continues

     

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    Medical cannabis patients in Montana scored a victory yesterday, when Governor Schweitzer vetoed a bill that would have repealed that state’s seven-year old medical cannabis law, but there is little time to celebrate. The state House of Representatives just approved SB 423, a bill that would gut the state’s medical cannabis law and severely limit patients’ access. The bill is now in a joint committee for final revisions before going to the governor’s desk, so we must work for another veto.

    The debate in Montana matters for medical cannabis patients nationwide. Powerful out-of-state lobby organizations are using the effort to repeal or severely curtail the state’s law as a rallying point in a nationwide push against safe access. If we do not draw the line in Montana, patients may soon be fighting to hold ground nationwide. ASA needs your help to ensure we keep moving forward, not backward.



    It doesn't have to be this way. I was in Montana in March, when Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents raided 26 dispensaries, gardens, and homes. I toured the state organizing local resistance and energizing grassroots action. Newly trained and empowered patients in Montana are pushing back and making a difference.

    If ASA had the resources, we could do the same in every state where medical cannabis opponents are attacking safe access. We need your help now more than ever to fight for medical cannabis in the states. Will you make a special contribution to ASA today?

    Thank you for supporting ASA and helping us fight for safe access nationwide!
  • The Feds are Here!



    The feds are here, and they are making their presence known. In March alone, the DEA raided 26 medical cannabis facilities in Montana, two licensed dispensaries in California, and a doctor’s clinic in Michigan. We need to fight back and prepare for our response as a movement to future raids – and unfortunately the DEA has shown it’s just a matter of time.

    ASA’s Emergency Raid Response program prepares patients, providers, and the community how to act and react during a raid, because when it comes to raids, preparation is essential for an effective response effort. We’re expanding the program to all medical cannabis states, and in order to do that, we need your help.


    Our text message alert system is vital to informing local activists when a raid is happening in their area. This creates a visible community protesting the raid. Sign up for ASA’s raid alerts, so you can help show the nation that federal intervention will not be tolerated.

    ASA has orchestrated over two hundred Emergency Raid Response efforts, which have protected countless victims, shortened raids, and helped frame this issue as a patients’ rights issue in the media. We do this by training staff at dispensing centers, preparing action plans for victims, contacting attorneys for raid victims, turning out protestors on the day of the raid, and framing media coverage in response to raids. Your support is vital to ensuring this program reaches patients and providers across the county at little to no cost.

    With federal raids on the rise and recent warnings from US Attorney Michael Ormsby to landlords of medical cannabis facilities in Spokane, Wash., of federal intervention, an immediate response is required. We must prepare patients and providers for the potential of raids and have effective response methods in place before the next wave of raids hits.

    Please help ASA expand our Emergency Raid Response program across the nation. Together, we will bring national attention to Obama’s Administration’s interference in states’ laws.
  • ASA trains medical cannabis professionals

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    More than forty medical cannabis advocates attended this weekend’s “Putting Patients First” training in Pasadena, California. This innovative new ASA training is designed to teach important professional skills for those in the field of medical cannabis. The standing-room-only crowd at the MCC Directory building in Pasadena learned about the bio-psycho-social model of health care from Dr. Amanda Reiman. Dr. Reiman is currently the Director of Research for Berkeley Patients Group, a lecturer in the School of Social Welfare at UC Berkeley, and the Chairwoman of the Medical Cannabis Commission for the city of Berkeley. Trainees also explored the evolving political and legal issues surrounding the field.

    The training is part of ASA’s commitment to building skills in our grassroots base – a cornerstone of our ongoing work to protect and expand patients’ rights. Be sure to sign up for email alerts so that you know when the next “Putting Patients First” or other ASA training is scheduled near you. Thanks to Liz McDuffie and the team at the MCC Directory for hosting the training!
  • End Employment Discrimination in CA

    Yesterday, the California Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB 129, legislation sponsored by Americans for Safe Access (ASA) that will protect responsible, law abiding medical cannabis patients in the state from employment discrimination. This is the first step in adopting this important legislation, and ASA needs your help to make sure it happens this year. Take a minute right now to call your California Senator and ask him or her to support SB 129 to end discrimination against legal medical cannabis patients. Patients shouldn’t live in fear of losing their jobs because of what the medicine they use at home. Unfortunately, many do because employers can fire legal medical cannabis patients, even if they are never impaired by cannabis at work. Senator Mark Leno’s (D-San Francisco) SB 129 will dissolve those fears and prevent employers from terminating an employee solely based on his or her status as a patient. At the same time, SB 129 does not require employers to break any laws or tolerate cannabis use or impairment in the workplace. This reasonable bill contains a broad exemption for safety-sensitive positions to shield employers from liability and to protect public safety. SB 129 is the right thing to do for responsible, law abiding patients. It is also the right thing to do for California. It should be the policy of the state to keep patients who are able to work on the job. Otherwise, they may be an additional burden on social services in these tough economic times. ASA is working hard to pass SB 129 as part of an ambitious campaign to protect and expand patients’ rights in California. This work is more important than ever, because safe access is under attack at the local and state level. We need your help more than ever to push back on bans on collectives, unreasonable restrictions on safe access, pressure from law enforcement, and pervasive media bias. ASA can fight back and win – but only if we have the resources to make it happen. Take a minute right now to support ASA’s California Campaign for Safe Access. Thank you for participating in and supporting ASA’s fight for safe access. Together, we are making a difference.
  • Federal Agency Tips Hat to Medical Cannabis While 9-Year-Old Rescheduling Petition Gathers Dust

    According to the Washington Independent, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has added "Cannabis" to its website as a Complementary Alternative Medicine (CAM). This is the first time in contemporary history that a federal agency has made such an admission, especially as it applies to cancer:
    The potential benefits of medicinal Cannabis for people living with cancer include antiemetic effects, appetite stimulation, pain relief, and improved sleep. In the practice of integrative oncology, the health care provider may recommend medicinal Cannabis not only for symptom management but also for its possible direct antitumor effect.
    This statement is in stark contrast to the historical rhetoric of HHS, which has consistently said marijuana (cannabis) is a dangerous drug with no medical value. Further complicating the government's position, NCI also states on its website:
    Cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years prior to its current status as an illegal substance.
    Meanwhile, a 9-year-old petition to reschedule cannabis sits before the federal government gathering dust. The Coalition for Rescheduling Cannabis, which filed its petition in 2002, has never received a response. Read more about this federal contradiction from ASA's press release on the issue here.
  • Stop the Raids!



    UPDATE: Patients Speak Up in Montana.

    Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is calling on medical cannabis patients and advocates to speak up in opposition to paramilitary-style raids on medical cannabis patients, growers, and providers in Montana and California this week. The Obama Administration needs to hear that Americans do not support targeting legitimate patients, who use medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of AIDS, cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, chronic pain, and other serious conditions. The President and Department of Justice must allow states to implement and regulate medical cannabis laws, while developing a comprehensive federal policy that protects safe and legal access for every patient.



    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) raided twenty-six medical cannabis facilities in Montana over a two-day period this week. This would be egregious at any time, but these raids were timed to coincide with an important vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on a bill that would repeal the state’s medical cannabis law. The bill died in committee on Monday, but the bills’ author, House Speaker Mike Milburn, vowed to reintroduce it on the floor of the Senate. A vote may be imminent.



    It is no coincidence that the critical vote in the Senate will come right after shock-and-awe style raids statewide. Lawmakers and voters alike will be influenced by media reports suggesting widespread drug trafficking, money laundering, and the like. Conscientious citizens all over the country should be appalled by the fact that the DEA is so clearly used its federal police power to subvert the political process in Montana. Voters in Montana should also be asking which of their elected officials called in federal storm troopers when there were not enough votes to get the repeal bill through committee.

    Montana was not the only state to see a federal crackdown this week. Two licensed medical cannabis collectives in West Hollywood, California, were raided by the DEA on Tuesday. Residents there are stunned, because West Hollywood is often cited as an example of a city that has properly regulated safe access to medicine. Its four legal collectives have business licenses, pay taxes, and operate under careful scrutiny. Was there some urgent threat to public safety that the Sheriff’s Department could not handle without federal reinforcements? Probably not. View more on the West Hollywood raids from Reason.tv.

    The warrants for Tuesday’s raids in West Hollywood remain sealed, so we do not know yet why the DEA seems to have acted outside the guidelines outlined in a memo from Deputy Attorney General David Ogden in October 2009. Ogden wrote then that agents should not make medical cannabis enforcement a priority against “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana.” Ogden’s memo was a watershed moment in the struggle for safe access, but we clearly have a long way to go to end federal interference and intimidation once and for all.

    We must not give into complacency or the cynical view that the victims of this week’s raids were “doing something wrong.” We may never know the full story behind the raids. The US Attorney’s offices may or may not prosecute these cases, and if they do, no evidence or testimony about medical cannabis will be allowed in the federal courtroom. But we do know this for certain – until we harmonize federal law with the laws of the states that allow medical cannabis, every patient, grower, and provider is a criminal. That must change before we have the luxury of debating whether or not DEA raids are justified in any given case.

    Americans must speak up in opposition to DEA interference in the Democratic process and the effort to implement and regulate medical cannabis laws. ASA calls on the Obama Administration to end federal raids, allow state and local regulation, and to finally develop a national policy to ensure safe and legal access to medical cannabis for everyone who needs it.
  • Valley Collective Steps Up



    A San Fernando Valley collective is recruiting its members in the effort to sponsor ASA’s new training for medical cannabis professionals. The staff and operators at Buds and Roses in Studio City are asking patients to help sponsor “Putting Patients First,” and it seems like it is working. They have already collected half of the money they need to sponsor the new training program in their counter-top donation jar. Thanks, Buds and Roses!



    ASA will host the second-ever “Putting Patients First” training on Saturday, April 9, at the Medical Cannabis Caregivers Directory in Pasadena. This ASA certified training is highly participatory, fast moving, and a lot of fun. A new section on Treating the Whole Patient, builds competency and awareness for students to better understand the unique challenges that patients face in daily living through a greater awareness of how physical, psychological, and emotional health conditions affect patients functioning. This is the most relevant and comprehensive training in the field. Sign up now to save on the registration fee.

    Can your collective or business help promote or sponsor the event? Perhaps sponsor patients or staff to attend? ASA will acknowledge your generosity, and you can feel good knowing you are helping build the field of well-trained medical cannabis professionals in Southern California. Visit the ASA website, email [email protected], or call toll free for information: (888) 929-4367.

    See you on April 9th in Pasadena!