What We Accomplished in 2021

Despite the Covid global crises, ASA was hard at work at the state and federal levels, and had a busy 2021. Here are just a few of the activities we accomplished last year.

In January, ASA launched its “What Can Joe do?” campaign urging presidential action on a variety of medical cannabis reform items which could be achieved through the White House action alone. Thousands of ASA supporters and advocates took action to call or email the White House, the DOJ, VA, HUD or OPM and demand these simple fixes to improve medical cannabis access. Unfortunately, the administration has yet to address our demands.

In April, our Executive Director, Debbie Churgai, published an editorial in The Hill newspaper denouncing the administration’s archaic views on cannabis in response to the administration’s termination of staffers for cannabis use.

Also, ASA held its 9th annual National Medical Cannabis Unity conference, No Patient Left Behind in April. Highlights of panels and presentations from ASA’s 9th annual conference include removing barriers to housing, healthcare and employment; kids and cannabis; controlling cannabis cost; federal standards for testing; changing federal law; and addressing veterans’ issues.

More big news came in April when ASA's PFC Program achieved accreditation to the ISO/IEC 17065:2012 standard for certifying bodies (Certificate #5284.01), becoming the first and only compliance program to obtain international accreditation for cannabis. This accreditation certifies that the PFC program’s policies and procedures have been vetted and validated by auditors from an internationally recognized organization.

In August, in response to the introduction of a draft cannabis reform bill by Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), ASA completed a detailed analysis of the bill and returned to offer the Senator’s office a whole report of proposed improvements to ensure that no patient is left behind by efforts to expand cannabis legalization. Responding to bills and offering critiques and improvements is a very important component of our policy work.

In September, following a mass outcry caused by the Olympics banning sprinter Sha-Carri Richardson, ASA created a petition calling on the White House and Congress to pass medical cannabis laws at the federal level and to stop penalizing cannabis consumers, like Sha-Carri. Shortly after, the World Anti-Doping Agency agreed to revisit their cannabis ban. Though it will take time, we appreciate this agency taking steps to bring their policies into accordance with the modern medical science of cannabis.

In November, ASA held a welcome reception for state lawmakers at the National Conference of State Legislators in Tampa, Florida. Over 130 state legislators from around the country heard from ASA about medical cannabis access across the states and the need to improve programs for patients.

In December, ASA launched a campaign to help implement California’s SB311 or “Ryan’s Law,” which requires all healthcare facilities in the state to allow terminal patients to use cannabis on site. ASA notified state facilities that the law will go into effect January 1, 2022, and provided resources for physicians and their patients to help navigate the new law, including information on patient requirements, links to sample written recommendations, and CME courses on cannabis. For patients who encounter facilities refusing to comply, ASA has set up an online reporting system and a designated email account [email protected].

In December, due to a spike in robberies hitting cannabis businesses across the U.S, ASA created a Robbery Preparedness Guide to aid businesses in developing plans to stay safe during robberies and adopt policies to help prevent robberies and burglaries. The guide can be used to help companies have internal conversations among partners, managers, and staff.

If you appreciate our work, please consider donating to ASA today. You can be listed on our website as a business supporter or become a member for as little as $25 a year. Please consider joining so that we can continue advocating for a better future for patients and consumers together.

You can read more about ASA’s 2021 activities in the 2021 Year in Review Newsletter.