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Patient-focused report graded medical marijuana programs. No states received an A.

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 11:45

By Bruce Kennedy for The Cannabist

Americans for Safe Access issues its annual state-by-state grades on medical cannabis laws and also calls on states to help combat the growing opioid crisis

None of the state medical marijuana laws adopted thus far in the U.S. can be considered ideal from a patient’s standpoint, and because of their patchwork nature, those laws do not function equitably and are often poorly designed, according to a new report by Americans for Safe Access.

The advocacy group’s new 2018 annual report, “Marijuana Access in the United States, A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” evaluates every state with any medical marijuana laws on a 500-point scale.

Of the 46 states and three U.S. territories with some form of a medical marijuana program — covering about 95 percent of the country’s population — none received an “A” rating.

Sweet Releaf: The Latest Cannabis App Is Changing How Patients Receive Their Plant Knowledge

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 11:54

By Kelly Johnson for Big Buds

It’s amazing what can happen in just two years. The recent partnership announced between the cannabis app Releaf and the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is proof that patience, and dedication to the consumer, is a virtue in the green space.

“Americans for Safe Access has been an important champion for cannabis patients since 2002. [Releaf is] very excited to work with such a well-respected organization, and we’re honored that they recognize our sincere passion for empowering patients,” says Franco Brockelman, CEO and founder of Releaf.

The joint venture between the Washington, D.C.-based app and the longtime cannabis patient nonprofit organization will improve how users and dispensaries share cannabis knowledge, as well as the quality of medical data for researchers across America.

Advocates Descend Upon Annual Meeting of the CND in Vienna

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 15:19

This week the United Nations (UN) Committee on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has their annual meetings in Vienna. The CND is responsible for implementing international drug control treaties as well as the scheduling of drugs. The CND makes decisions about scheduling new substances as well as changing the scheduling. The CND base these decisions on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO makes their recommendations on the scheduling of drugs only after the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) prepares a critical review document.

Today’s agenda for the CND delegation includes the “Implementation of the international drug control treaties,” where they will discuss “changes in the scope of controlled substances” and “international cooperation to ensure the availability of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances for medical and scientific purposes while preventing their diversion.”

Week of March 5, 2018

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 13:59
This Week's Volunteer Needs

Please comment below if you are interested in helping, or if you have completed any of the following:

ASA Activist Newsletter - March 2018

Sun, 03/04/2018 - 18:23

In the March 2018 Issue:

  • ASA’s Annual States Report Finds Improvements
  • DEA Removes More Misinformation from Website
  • CBD Businesses Targeted in Tennessee, Charges Dropped
  • ASA Partnering with Releaf App to Enhance Patient Services
  • ASA Patient Education Course at Cannabis Learn Conference & Expo
  • Tourette Association Symposium on Medical Cannabis Features ASA
  • Scholarships Available for 2018 National Unity Conference
  • Activist Profile: Ellen Lenox Smith, Rhode Island      
  • ACTION ALERT: Send the States Report to your Elected Officials        

Colorado Rates a "B" for Medical Marijuana Access

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 13:49

By Thomas Mitchell for Westword

Colorado used to to be one of the few states in the country with legal medical marijuana. But that has changed rapidly, with the majority of the states in the United States offering some kind of access to medical marijuana. According to a prominent advocacy group, however, many of those states put severe restrictions on MMJ, making Colorado's program look robust in comparison.

2018 States of States Report: Frequently Asked Questions

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 11:26

This week Americans for Safe Access released “Medical Marijuana Access in the United States: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws.” The report examines the status of states that have passed some form of medical marijuana laws and grades them on a 500 point scale based on how well their current law and regulations accommodate patient needs. The report reviews existing laws and regulations and laws passed in between January 1, 2017 and December 31, 2017, giving states letter grades from “A” to “F.”  Unlike previous versions of this report, states are urged to begin to use medical cannabis as a tool to fight the opioid crisis in the areas of improvement section.

State of the States’ Medical Cannabis Programs

Wed, 02/28/2018 - 10:57

WASHINGTON, DC — February 28, 2018  Today the medical cannabis advocacy organization, Americans for Safe Access, released its annual report entitled “Medical Marijuana Access in the United States: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws.” The report examines the status of states that have passed medical marijuana laws and grades them on a 500 point scale. Forty-six states and three territories have some form of medical cannabis program, meaning approximately 95% of the American population lives in a state with some form of medical cannabis law.

Americans for Safe Access Announces Partnership with Releaf App Aimed at Creating a New Class of Patient-Focused Dispensaries

Mon, 02/26/2018 - 11:49

Washington, D.C. - February 21, 2018 -- Today, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a non-profit organization promoting safe and legal access to medical cannabis since  2002, and Releaf App, an experience tracking tool for cannabis patients, officially announced their partnership to empower medical cannabis patients and establish a new class of like-minded U.S. medical cannabis dispensaries.

Raids on CBD Businesses in Tennessee Leave Patients without Access; Underline Need for Change in Federal Marijuana Laws

Tue, 02/13/2018 - 14:56

Similar Raids Across the Country Indicate Increasing Confusion Over Legality

Rutherford County, Tennessee — Yesterday, DEA agents, detectives from the local sheriff's office, and Smyrna, Murfreesboro, and LaVergne police raided 23 Rutherford County businesses accused of selling candy products containing cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating compound derived from the cannabis (and hemp) plant. Law enforcement claims that the products were of particular concern because they were seemingly being marketed towards minors.

Bills Expanding Cannabis Oil Access Advance

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 15:52

In Virginia, cannabis oils – often referred to as medical marijuana – are only legal for those with epilepsy.

Even that legislation is relatively new – just a few years old. Advocates like Beth Collins with Americans for Safe Access and her 18-year-old daughter Jennifer are a major reason why the oils are even legal at all.

“I’m incredibly proud of the advocacy efforts of my daughter. Couldn’t be prouder.”

Jennifer has epilepsy. She and her mom moved to Colorado so she could experiment with alternative treatments for her illness.

She tried CBD oil, but that didn’t work, but then she tried THC-A oil, and it did.

“It’s great, you know. I’ve got my life back.”

Week of February 12, 2018

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 15:45
This Week's Volunteer Needs

Please comment below if you are interested in helping, or if you have completed any of the following:

Virginia: A Path Forward for Conservative States

Fri, 02/09/2018 - 11:51

On Monday, February 5th, with Americans for Safe Access (ASA) patients, families, and advocates watching in the gallery above, the Senate of the conservative Virginia General Assembly, passed SB726 40-0 after passing its companion bill through the House of Delegates 98-0.  The bill allows all physicians to recommend Cannabidiol (CBD) and Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) oils to any patients for whom they feel the oils could help their conditions. Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam has said that he will sign the legislation when it comes before him.

Week of February 5, 2018

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 13:09
This Week's Volunteer Needs

Please comment below if you are interested in helping, or if you have completed any of the following:

DEA’s Internal Review Process Results in Removal of Misinformation about Cannabis from Website

Thu, 02/08/2018 - 10:44

Americans for Safe Access Applauds Action and Calls Upon Congress to Take Note

WASHINGTON, DC — In a letter dated January 26th, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, learned that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) denied their Information Quality Act (IQA) petition requesting the correction of misinformation disseminated on the DEA website on the health effects of medical cannabis, originally filed more than a year ago. However, the letter also pointed out that, through a “regular review process,” the DEA had removed certain documents and updated much of the information on the DEA website that ASA’s IQA petition addressed.

Harwell Plans to Back Faison’s Medical Marijuana Legislation

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 14:39

By Sam Stockard for the Memphis Daily News

David Hairston, of [Safe Access Tennessee], said a number of mothers on his board of directors also have epileptic children and face the same situation.

“We do have some very limited access if you have the diagnosis of epilepsy. But there are still restraints on the amount of THC, that as a child grows further into maturity, particularly into their teenage years, that are not adequate to serve the needs of these babies,” Hairston said.

He points out Tennessee has 5,000 children and 70,000 adults stricken with epilepsy, 300,000 cancer victims, 100,000 people with Alzheimer’s and 100,000 with ALS.

“These are just desperately debilitating diseases, and we’re just looking for some relief,” Hairston said.

Cannabis legalization revives nearly defunct California pot ID Card

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 14:39

By Julie Johnson for The Press Democrat

The backlog of appointments is troubling for people with medical conditions who rely on marijuana because they are the least likely to be able to afford the new slew of state and local taxes associated with new regulations, said Sarah Shrader, chair of the Sonoma County chapter of Americans for Safe Access.

“That means that patients cannot afford their medicine anymore, and they’re looking for any discount they can get,” Shrader said.

ASA Activist Newsletter - February 2018

Tue, 02/06/2018 - 20:06

In the February 2018 Issue:

  • Federal Budget Impasse Again Imperils Patient Protections
  • DOJ Action Spurs New Support for Legislation in Congress
  • VA Rejects Congressional Pressure on Cannabis Studies
  • Virginia Advocates Help Pave Way to Historic Bill
  • ASA Training and Education Programs Range from Raid Prep to CME
  • Registration Opens for 2018 National Unity Conference
  • Remembering Dennis Peron
  • ASA Activist Profile: Scott Roberts, Sacramento, California
  • ACTION ALERT: Protect Medical Cannabis Patients!

Virginia Paves Road for Medical Marijuana in Conservative States

Mon, 02/05/2018 - 14:20

Bill Allowing All Physicians to Recommend Cannabis Oils Passes House and Senate

Richmond VA — Today, the Virginia General Assembly Senate passed SB726 by a vote of 40 to 0. Last week, the companion bill passed the House of Delegates unanimously by a vote of 98-0. The bill will allow physicians to recommend cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THC-A) oils to any patients for whom they feel the oils could help their conditions. Last year, the General Assembly passed legislation permitting the cultivation and manufacturing of cannabis oils for up to five processors in the state, but the only condition permitted was intractable epilepsy.  

"This culminates four years of effort that has evolved from an effort to make it lawful for kids who have intractable epilepsy to possess non-psychoactive cannabis oils to the creation of a new industry in the Commonwealth that doctors can recommend these oils for treating any condition where they might be helpful,” said Senator Dave Marsden, chief co-patron for the Senate bill. “This is a big deal for people who suffer from a number of disorders and I am proud to have gotten this ball rolling years ago."

"Imagine that your child is suffering in agony with multiple seizures, in some cases hundreds, daily, and you as their parent have an opportunity to provide your child with some measure of relief," said Delegate Eileen Filler Corn, chief co-patron of the House bill. "The Virginia General Assembly has taken one step closer to making this a reality today, and I couldn't be prouder to have worked alongside my friends, the Collins and Brogan families, on this issue over the past five years. Those who suffer from intractable epilepsy have already seen the benefit of cannabidiol oil and how it can turn around one child's life. I am proud to be chief co-patron of HB 1251 and to have witnessed the courage of so many “parent warriors” who have been relentless fighters for their children and all Virginia children. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues, Delegate Cline and former Delegate Albo, as well as Senators Dunnavant and Marsden for their work on this life-changing issue, and together, we are on the path towards relief for so many children and families."

“We are thrilled with this move forward,” said Beth Collins, Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs for Americans for Safe Access. “We are grateful to the bill patrons, and hope that Virginia will provide a model to other conservative states with CBD laws as a way to help them move forward on the issue of medical cannabis and help more patients.”

There are currently 30 states with full medical cannabis programs and 16 with more limited CBD laws. Virginia is the only one of those states to allow THC-A and now will be the only one that does not restrict access based on diagnosis. Only three other states and the District of Columbia allow doctors to make that decision. The remainder have a list of conditions for which medical cannabis is permitted to be used as a treatment. In addition, Virginia is one of only 2 CBD states that allows for the cultivation and processing within the state, so patients are forced to obtain the oils elsewhere.


Americans for Safe Access was founded in 2002, by medical cannabis patient Steph Sherer, as a vehicle for patients to advocate for the acceptance of cannabis as medicine. With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, ASA is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political, social and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, research, grassroots empowerment, advocacy and services for patients, governments, medical professionals, and medical cannabis providers.

Media Advisory for: Monday, February 5, 2017
Contact: Beth Collins |  | 571-499-1632

Virginia moves closer to legalizing a form of medical marijuana

Sun, 02/04/2018 - 15:44

“I’m not giving up until everybody has what they need,” - Beth Collins