Victory in Arizona!
Arizona voters approved Proposition 203, making that state the 15th to legalize medical cannabis. Supporters are celebrating the results after ten days of uncertainty during which victory seemed to be slipping away. Patients and advocates deserve congratulations. Proposition 203 is an important step forward for Arizona and in the state-by-state march to bring safe access to patients nationwide. Adopting state initiatives and passing legislation is a crucial step, but we can see from our experience that state medical cannabis laws do not necessarily translate into support from the state’s Congressional delegation. In California, where medical cannabis has been legal since 1996, long-time Senators Feinstein and Boxer have yet to pick up the mantle of safe access. Control of the US House of Representatives has shifted from the Democrats to the Republicans. This will test the Obama Administration’s evolving policy on state-based answers for medical cannabis. It is more important than ever that Americans for Safe Access (ASA) bring an educated and empowered constituency with real solutions to the table. We have to show policymakers how to bridge the divide between federal and state laws regarding medical cannabis – and prove that there is a safe political space to make it happen. Let’s celebrate our victory in Arizona; and then get down to the hard work of moving Congress and changing federal law. We still have a lot of work to do in ending the arrests and prosecutions of patients, ending the ban on research, and creating an access plan for the entire nation. Suggested Action: Email the US Senate Judiciary Committee about confirmation hearings for DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart.
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