Pages tagged "regulation"

  • Federal progress, more scrutiny, & raids in CA all call for sensible medical cannabis regulations

    President ObamaFederal momentum behind medical cannabis reform continues to build. Last week, the White House lifted bureaucratic hurdles to scientific research. But with progress comes more scrutiny. One national study spotlighted serious inconsistencies in the way edibles are labeled for potency in California and Washington, and a second review of the scientific literature showed mixed results when it comes to the efficacy of medical cannabis for certain conditions.

    Here in California, the state legislature seems determined to adopt some kind of medical cannabis regulations. Bills dealing with commercial licensing, environmental standards for cultivation, and manufacturing concentrates all have committee hearings soon. Meanwhile, local law enforcement raided numerous cannabis gardens in the Island Mountain area of the Emerald Triangle. Law enforcement spokespeople say more raids are coming, in part, because of illegal water diversion and other harmful cultivation practices.

    Poor labeling, questions about efficacy, rules for cultivation, and more – it all points to the need for sensible regulations. ASA calls on local and state lawmakers to finish the long overdue work of fully implementing Proposition 215 by adopting guidelines that protect patients, providers, communities, and ecosystems. Read about all the medical cannabis news, events, action alerts, and more in this week’s California Weekly Roundup. 

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  • Only two weeks left until the California Citizen Lobby Day in Sacramento!

    Lobby day participantsYou have a chance to shape the future of medical cannabis in California in just two weeks. That’s when hundreds of patients and advocates will be in Sacramento to talk with their lawmakers about more than a dozen bills touching almost every aspect medical cannabis – commercial licensing and regulation, penalties for manufacturing concentrates, environmental standards for cultivation, patients’ rights, and more. What happens (or does not happen) with these bills will affect you in some way.

    Get registered for the California Citizen Lobby Day today, so that ASA has time to make appointments for you with your state Assembly Member and Senator on June 15.

    • Workshops on regulating medical cannabis cultivation and using the voter initiative process in your hometown
    • Special briefing on the exciting developments with more than a dozen bills
    • ASA’s signature Citizen Lobbyist Training and insider’s information about your lawmakers
    • Face-to-face meetings with lawmakers and staff
    • Press conference, pictures, and videos about your participation
    • A free VIP reception with lawmakers and other advocates
    • A great comedy show with comedian, journalist, and cannabis personality Ngaio Bealum

    Want fliers to help promote the event? Email [email protected] or call (916) 449-3975. 

    Want to know more about the bills? Sign up for the ASA-CCSA email discussion list here:
    http://www.safeaccessnow.org/asa_ccsa_email_discussion_list

    See you in Sacramento June 14 and 15!

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  • Medical cannabis news and events form around California

    CA Citizen Lobby Day

    ASA believes that good public policy is created when those who are most affected by laws and regulations have a seat at the table. That is why it is so important that California lawmakers hear your voice this year – before they vote on more than a dozen medical cannabis bills. Do you have something to say about patients’ rights, licensing and regulating commercial medical cannabis activity, environmental standards for cultivation, penalties for manufacturing concentrates, and more? If so, you need to be at the California Citizen Lobby Day June 15-15 in Sacramento.

    ASA is bringing 300 patients, doctors, researchers, industry workers, and other stakeholders to the Capitol to talk with lawmakers and staff from every legislative district in the state. But before we do, we are going to have a special insider’s legislative briefing about the most important bills for participants. You will get expert fact sheets on legislation and information about your lawmakers, including their priorities and major campaign donors. This year, the fact sheets will have a place for you to add your own comments and suggestions about pending legislation.

    What happens in the state legislature this year is going to affect medical cannabis for years to come. It will also determine the political landscape for an anticipated vote on legalizing adult use of cannabis in 2016. Don’t miss your chance to be a par of it. Register for the California Citizen Lobby Day today!

    Scroll down for all the medical cannabis news, events, action alerts, court support, and chapter meetings. 

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  • Happy MLK Day, California!

    Town Hall pictureHappy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, California! I hope you are all having a safe and healthy holiday. There is good news and bad news at the local level in this week’s California Weekly Roundup. The good news is that the Pinoleville Pomo Nation, a Native American tribe in Mendocino County, will soon start cultivating medical cannabis on tribal land. And I am also happy to see the City of San Diego continuing its march towards safe and legal access in Southern California.

    Unfortunately, there is bad news for patients in other communities. The City of Vallejo just voted to close all of the patients’ collectives there, and Kern County is suing local providers. You will also see a short piece this week about plans to ban outdoor cultivation in Redding.

    While the prospects for medical cannabis look good for the state on the long term, patients and providers are still stuck in crosscurrents at the city and county level. Local advocacy is still important, and I want to help you succeed in your hometown. You can use ASA’s free online Medical Cannabis Advocates Training Center to learn advocacy skills, craft a strategy, and build a coalition. You can also use this weekly email blast to let others know about community meetings, city council meetings, and other important events. Just send an email to [email protected] before 12:00 PM on Friday to be included in Monday's distribution.

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  • Two new medical cannabis bills in CA (and more on the way)

    CA Asm. Member Jones-SawyerContents:

    • Message from the CA Director: Two new medical cannabis bills in CA (and more on the way)

    • State & Local News: California, Fresno, Los Angeles, Santa Ana, Humboldt, San Diego, Santa Rosa, and El Dorado

    • Public Meetings & Events: Santa Rosa, Washington DC, and Online

    • Court Support: Los Angeles and Placerville

    • Take Action Now: Support the Medical Marijuana Organ Transplant Act, Join the ASA-CCSA Discussion List, Expand the Green Zone

    • ASA Website Spotlight: News

    • Chapter & Affiliate Meetings: Nevada County and Yuba County

    Pictured: CA Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer

    The debate about licensing and regulating medical cannabis in the state legislature is underway early. Lawmakers already introduced two new bills for the 2015-2016 session – and more are probably on the way. 

    Assembly Member Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-LA) introduced AB 26, a bill that picks up where former Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-SF) left off when AB 1894 was defeated in the Assembly earlier this year. Like AB 1894, AB 26 seeks to reign in doctors who recommend medical cannabis, establish regulations and licensing for commercial activity, and authorize local taxation.  Assembly Member Rob Bonta (D-Oakland) introduced AB 34, but the initial draft is just a one-sentence placeholder. We will have to see what the Assembly Member comes up with in the weeks ahead.

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  • California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is the wrong place for medicine

    AB 1894, a bill by California Assembly Member Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), is designed to better regulate commercial medical cannabis activity in California. That is long overdue, and Assembly Member Ammiano is to be commended on his leadership on the issue. Unfortunately, the bill would make cannabis the only medicine with regulations written and enforced by the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), the same agency that enforces the state’s alcohol laws.

    Americans for Safe Access (ASA), the nation’s leading medical cannabis patients’ advocacy organization, believes ABC is the wrong agency to entrust with decisions related to medical care and access. There are good reasons why ABC does not control the operation of pharmacies or the distribution of antibiotics. The enforcement-minded culture at ABC may lead to regulations that limit access to medical cannabis and do little or nothing to promote patient safety, quality control, clinical research, and patients’ rights. These health care issues are more typically addressed in other parts of the Department of Consumer Affairs or the Department of Public Health.  Furthermore, the deputized peace officers who enforce ABC’s regulations are in no way trained to address medical cannabis in the context of healthcare or inclined to respect patients’ needs; on the contrary, many may view it as controlling a vice.

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  • Massachusetts DPH Looking for Input While Writing Regulations

    Earlier in the week, we posted a blog from one of our Board Members, Dr. Karen Munkacy, who is working hard on making sure that implementation of Massachusetts’ medical cannabis program goes smoothly.  Of course, Massachusetts scored a huge victory for safe access when they passed their initiative last November, but few people understand that this is only the first step towards ensuring patients get access to legal medicine in a state. The battle we’re fighting now, with the help of advocates like Dr. Munkacy, is making sure that the rules and regulations for the program are composed in a way that most benefits the patients.

    The good news is that what has truly been a battle in other states has become a welcome and open dialogue with the MA Department of Public Health (DPH), who is charged with the difficult task of interpreting the initiative while writing the program’s regulations. In fact, DPH is actually looking for public input on a number of issues and are holding Townhall-type meetings called “Listening Sessions” in the next few weeks. This is a great opportunity for MA patients and advocates to submit comments on these seven issues:



    • Patient eligibility and debilitating conditions

    • Guidance and training for physicians

    • Operations of a medical marijuana treatment center, including security requirements

    • 60-day supply of marijuana

    • Use of marijuana in food products for medical purposes

    • Requirements for hardship cultivation registrations

    • Monitoring of medical marijuana treatment centers and enforcement of regulations


    If you are planning on testifying in person, make sure your testimony addresses only these listed issues. Also, residents of MA can submit written comments on these issues if they cannot make it to testify at one of the sessions. ASA is encouraged by the amazing example that MA DPH is setting for their colleagues in other states through their transparency and disposition to hear stakeholder input. Through DPH’s willingness to work with the medical cannabis community, MA will soon have a functional and patient-oriented program to serve the needs of their patients. Hopefully this means that suffering patients in the Bay State won’t have to wait as long as their brothers and sisters in New Jersey (over 2 years) to receive legal medicine!
  • California Supreme Court picks February 5th for oral arguments to decide whether municipalities can ban local distribution of medical marijuana

    The California Supreme Court scheduled oral arguments this week in a case that has received widespread attention inside and outside of the medical marijuana community. The appellate court ruling in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center is being reviewed by the High Court in order to address the issue of whether municipalities can use zoning regulations to ban outright the local distribution of medical marijuana.

    Oral arguments in the Riverside case will be held in a special session of the California Supreme Court on Tuesday, February 5th at 10:15am at the University of San Francisco (USF) School of Law.

    In addition to the Riverside case, a number of other appellate court rulings from southern California focusing on the same issues were granted review by the Court, including County of Los Angeles v. Alternative Medicinal Cannabis Collective, 420 Caregivers v. City of Los Angeles, City of Lake Forest v. Evergreen Holistic Collective, and People v. G3 Holistic.

    Notably, two of these appellate rulings held that local officials may not ban distribution and must develop regulations instead. Specifically, the County of Los Angeles decision from July 2012 overturned a local ban on dispensaries, reversing the lower court’s preliminary injunction from the previous year. The appellate court in County of Los Angeles held that “medical marijuana collectives…are permitted by state law to perform a dispensary function,” and that “[Los Angeles] County’s total, per se nuisance ban against medical marijuana dispensaries directly contradicts the Legislature's intent.” The Court further concluded that, a “complete ban” on medical marijuana is “preempted” by state law and, therefore, void.

    Yet, other appellate court decisions have sided with municipal governments in their cynical effort to push out any form of safe and legal access to medical marijuana.

    Rest assured, however, that Americans for Safe Access will work with the lawyers in the Riverside case to obtain a ruling from the California Supreme Court favorable to patients across the state. Just as with its amicus ‘friend of the court’ brief filed last year in the Riverside case, ASA will continue to fight for safe access. “While municipalities may pass reasonable regulations over the location and operation of medical marijuana collectives, they cannot ban them absolutely,” read ASA’s amicus brief. “These bans thwart the Legislature’s stated objectives of ensuring access to marijuana for the seriously ill persons who need it in a uniform manner throughout the state.”

    See you at USF next month!
  • Labor stands up for safe access in LA

    Organized labor spoke up on behalf of medical cannabis patients and workers in Los Angeles today. One hundred medical cannabis patients, workers, and advocates gathered on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall for a press conference hosted by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 770, which represents workers at more than twenty of the most reputable patients’ cooperatives and collectives in the city. UFCW Local 770 called the press conference to oppose a motion by City Council Members Jose Huizar and Mitchell Englander calling for an outright ban on patients’ associations. The motion will be before the Public Safety Committee tomorrow, and may be before the full City Council within days.



    The Huizar-Englander motion is known by the euphemism “the gentle ban,” because the Author and the City Attorney claim the ordinance created by this motion would “allow” patients to grow their own medicine at home, but ban all other access in the city. But the right of patients and primary caregivers to grow medicine is already guaranteed under the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB 420). The “gentle ban” takes away real access for most patients, but gives nothing in return. “There is nothing gentle about the gentle ban,” said UFCW Local 770 Director of Organizing Rigo Valdez.

    The City Council has another option. A competing motion by Council Member Paul Koretz and Council President Herb Wesson would allow for a limited number of patients cooperatives and collectives in the city, provided they comply with as yet undetermined provisions. That motion is designed to settle numerous lawsuits and comply with the Appellate Court decision in Pack v. Long Beach, which if upheld, may bar the city from some kinds of regulation. Unfortunately, the Koretz-Wesson “limited immunity” motion is being ignored by committee members and city staff.

    The voice of organized labor is a welcome addition to the long and controversial debate about medical cannabis in Los Angeles. UFCW Local 770 is using its influence and experience to help to push the City Council away from the cynical “gentle ban” and towards an option that will preserve real access to medicine and good union jobs in Los Angeles. Patients and workers in Los Angeles hope lawmakers heard the voice of labor today, and will listen tomorrow at the Public Safety Committee hearing.
  • MT Patient Advocates Put Repeal of Medical Marijuana Restrictions on Ballot for 2012



    Patient advocates in Montana, including members of Americans for Safe Access, were successful this week in gathering enough signatures to overturn SB423, an extremely restrictive medical cannabis bill that took away many of the patients’ rights enshrined in Initiative 148, passed by 62 percent of voters in 2004. Since its passage last session, SB423 has threatened to reduce the number of patients who can qualify for protection under the state law by 90 percent. It also eliminated virtually all access to localized distribution, forcing thousands of patients into the illicit market.



    Although a lawsuit was partially successful in rolling back some of the restrictions imposed by SB423, it was unable to nullify the entire bill. Not wanting to rely completely on the courts, patient advocates began a signature drive to put the legislation on the ballot.

    It is now up to the voters to reject the onerous provisions of SB423 in its entirety in order to pave the way for more sensible regulation and reform.  Local activist and medical cannabis attorney, Chris Lindsey, commented on the progress made by the reformation committee stating that:
    We had a voter-approved law that was repealed by our state's politicians. When they were unable to come up with a complete ban, they cooked up a law that punishes people who wanted to participate in the medical marijuana program. The current law does not protect patents and those who provide to them. What we need is smart regulation, not a punitive law that works against the rights of Montana citizens.

    Lindsey speaks on behalf of thousands of patients whose access has been seriously compromised with the passage of SB423, and who agree that smart regulation is needed to resurrect safe and legal access to their medication.

    Placing this issue on the ballot is a great step in the right direction, and will hopefully restore the rights of Montana patients established under Initiative 148.  However, the work is far from over.  Our opposition has made it clear that the scope of Initiative 148 is too broad, and now it is up to the patient community in Montana to educate the greater public on why SB423 is not the “regulatory” answer.