Americans For Safe Access

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  • Patient-Focused Recommendations Regarding the Vaping Crisis October 1, 2019 6:01 pm
    Over the past two months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been working with state and local departments of health around the country to identify cases of what has come to be known as Vaping-Associated Pulmonary Illness (VAPI). As of 5:00 PM on September 25, the CDC had confirmed 805 cases of lung injury in 46 states and one U.S. territory. The CDC also confirmed a total of 12 deaths in 10 states. While several states have issued recommendations to quit using vapes, other states have banned, or are currently looking into banning, vaporization products (for both nicotine and cannabis) altogether. Massachusetts has banned the sale of all vaporization products for four months, and New York and Michigan are banning sales of flavored vaping products. Other jurisdictions, such as Los Angeles, are considering bans as well.
    Sean Khalepari
  • How the Historic Passage of the SAFE Banking Act Could Benefit Patients September 26, 2019 9:54 pm
    “The potential benefits that patients stand to gain from passage of the SAFE Banking Act are significant. Americans for Safe Access is proud to have supported this historic bill since its introduction and reiterates its call for swift passage in the Senate. Broader, more robust cannabis reform is still urgently needed, but the Act’s passage through the House is an encouraging sign that we are on the right path.”-Sean Khalepari, ASA Regulatory Affairs Coordinator This week cannabis legislation made history. The first ever federal cannabis reform legislation was passed by the House of Representatives by a vote of 321-103. This bill will still need to pass the Senate and be signed into law, but it serves as a marker of the progress cannabis legislation has made.
    Geoffrey Marshall
  • Abridged Guide to State Cannabis Laws September 10, 2019 4:18 pm
    We are happy to share this brief guide to State Cannabis Laws with you. Created with the talented designers of Centennial Media this guide serves as a bite-sized version of the full analysis of state laws available on our website under: "Legal Information By State & Federal Law."
    Geoffrey Marshall
  • 9 Ways to Help Build ASA This Summer August 26, 2019 5:56 pm
    A lot has changed for ASA (and this country) in the 17 years that we’ve been working for safe access to medical cannabis.  Something that hasn’t changed is that we are still focused on serving patients and we are still absolutely dependant on the hard work and financial support of our members and activists. With major changes coming to the medical cannabis landscape in the near future we want to take this opportunity to ask for your support to keep ASA fighting for patients.
    Geoffrey Marshall
  • The Hazards of Untested Products August 23, 2019 9:54 pm
    Recent news articles have shed light on a new problem that is being attributed to vape pens. The CDC has stated that “all reported cases have e-cigarette product use or ‘vaping.’” but that some patients have also acknowledged use of cannabis products containing THC. At this time there is no specific product that has been implicated in these adverse events, but we at ASA wanted to reach out and remind consumers and patients to be aware of the products they are consuming. 
    Heather Despres
  • The 5 Key Takeaways From the 2019 State of the States Report August 6, 2019 4:29 pm
    Every year the ASA team and I spend a considerable amount of time formally comparing every medical cannabis program in the United States. In 2019 this meant assessing the medical cannabis programs of 47 states, the District of Columbia, and four territories. The nearly 200-page report we created provides a detailed analysis of the state of medical cannabis programs around the country. Access to medical cannabis has come a long way since California passed Proposition 215 in 1996. However this report shows us that while the national trend is towards better medical cannabis laws, many states still need significant improvements in their programs to ensure that all patients have access to the medicine they need.
    David Mangone
  • The Fight Continues: An Update from the Second Circuit June 6, 2019 10:08 pm
    In July 2017, four medical cannabis patients joined other advocates in filing a lawsuit against the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the Second District of New York. The plaintiffs in the case (originally Washington v. Sessions, now Washington v. Barr) sought a declaration that the placement of cannabis in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act was unconstitutional because it violates the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, protections guaranteed by the First Amendment, and the fundamental right to travel. The judge expressed sympathy to the plaintiffs and pointedly noted that his dismissal of the case was not a ruling on the merits of their claims regarding the medical efficacy of cannabis, but he upheld the constitutionality of cannabis’ scheduling status and ruled that the plaintiffs were required to exhaust administrative options, including petitioning the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to reschedule cannabis, before filing suit. The plaintiffs appealed his decision.
    Sean Khalepari
  • What the legalization bill means for patients in Illinois June 6, 2019 8:15 pm
    Last week, Illinois became the 11th state to legalize cannabis for both medical and non-medical purposes. This move by Illinois is significant because it is the first state to legalize the adult use of cannabis through the legislature, rather than through a citizen initiative. By moving a legalization bill through its legislature, it is possible that Illinois will serve as a model for other states that are considering legalization, but may not wish to put the question before voters or may lack an initiative process. The bill takes effect January 1, 2020. While the legalization bill in Illinois covers issues from criminal justice reform to the creation of new sets of licenses, it is also expansive (the final text of the bill runs more than 600 pages) and includes several new provisions for medical cannabis. Here a few things patients should know:
    David Mangone
  • Submitting Comments That Will Make A Difference May 21, 2019 4:37 pm
    Americans for Safe Access Wants to Help You Navigate the Federal Regulatory Process Earlier this spring, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a notice in the Federal Register that invited the public to submit scientific information and comments on cannabis and cannabis products. This is not the first time that the FDA has called for comments. In 2018, the FDA solicited public comments to help determine the United States’ position on the rescheduling of CBD and other cannabis compounds under international law. Fortunately, in recent years, there has been a shift in the FDA’s attitude about cannabis. Currently, their website acknowledges that states are developing their own programs and that there is medical value to, at a minimum, isolated components of the cannabis plant, marking a shift from previous years when the agency outright ignored the progress being made at the state level. Regulatory comments are a good way for activists to make their voices heard. However, unlike typical grassroots campaign activities that rely on building coalitions and generating large scale support, regulatory comments do not benefit from a large number of people saying the same thing. In fact, the FDA itself specifies that the FDA comment process is not a popularity contest in which the agency will adopt the policy position promoted by the greatest number of commenters. What the FDA and other regulatory agencies look for during the commenting process are concise, well-thought-out responses that cite scientific research and make recommendations for sound public policy.
    David Mangone
  • A response to NPR's misinformation regarding THC potency May 17, 2019 4:58 pm
    On May 15, 2019, the National Public Radio (NPR) program All Things Considered included a segment about high-potency cannabis. A corresponding article, "Highly Potent Weed Has Swept the Market, Raising Concerns About Health Risks," was posted to NPR's website. Unfortunately, NPR presented a one-sided view of the topic and made assertions that are not supported by the available evidence. We are reproducing below the letter that ASA's William Dolphin sent to NPR in response to this misleading segment.
    William Dolphin
  • The Status of CBD April 11, 2019 4:57 pm
    With passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the framework was put in place for states to pass laws legalizing the production and distribution of industrial hemp. But what does that mean for CBD and products containing CBD? A search for “CBD” on the website of the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) brings up a list of warning letters that have been issued to companies. In 2015, the FDA issued 18 warning letters and conducted a study on label claims for CBD content. This study showed that only one product came close to the labeled CBD content, while a number contained no cannabinoids, and many contained THC despite not advising so on the label.
    Heather Despres
  • New Mexico is now the 8th Medical Cannabis State to allow Safe Access to Medical Cannabis at Schools April 11, 2019 4:49 pm
    By Jason Barker for Cannabis News Journal On Thursday, April 4th 2019, Governor Lujan Grisham made history for the state of New Mexico by signing into law Senate Bill 204, Medical Cannabis in Schools. Currently there are now eight states and one capital city with comprehensive medical cannabis programs allowing medical cannabis in schools: Oklahoma City and these states; NEW MEXICO, New Jersey, Maine, Washington, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Florida, Illinois. All have successfully set forth rules and regulations for allowing safe access to medical cannabis while attending public schools. No school or school district in the US has ever lost any federal funding for allowing safe access to medical cannabis at school, nor has there been any problems. California, New York, Virginia and Washington all have active 2019 Legislation for Allowing Safe Access to Medical Cannabis in School that is expected to pass into law. June 14th 2019 is the effective date of this new law now allowing safe access to medical cannabis at schools for New Mexico.
    Jason Barker
  • Lobbying in D.C. with Americans for Safe Access at the 2019 Unity Conference April 2, 2019 7:12 pm
    The Americans for Safe Access 2019 Unity Conference, themed The Price of Being a Medical Cannabis Patient, featured over a hundred patients from all over America visiting their representatives in Congress and the Senate to promote the Medical Cannabis Control Act of 2019. There are numerous legislative proposals in the current 116th Congress that seek to deschedule or reschedule cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act, but what happens after that? At least five federal agencies currently have juristiction when it comes to cannabis policy; The DOJ, the DEA, the FDA, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and, the Department of Health and Human Services. What is going to happen when cannabis policy changes occur at the federal level? Which agency will have authority over medical cannabis policy? Will they all continue to play a role, as they have in the past?
    Timothy Smale
  • WHO Recommends Cannabis Rescheduling February 1, 2019 10:54 pm
    This morning the World Health Organization (WHO) made an announcement that has the potential to change the status of medical cannabis globally. The WHO has determined that cannabis and cannabis resin should be removed from Schedule IV of the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs (which is different than the U.S. Controlled Substances Act scheduling) and divided into more specific categories in lower schedules. For, example compound pharmaceutical preparations containing THC  would be placed in Schedule III and CBD preparations would be removed from scheduling entirely.
    David Mangone
  • Trump Administration’s First National Drug Control Strategy Emphasizes Opioid Crisis, Makes No Mention of State-Legal Cannabis Regimes February 1, 2019 10:35 pm
    The Trump Administration’s White House Office of Drug Control Policy released its first National Drug Control Strategy on Thursday, January 31, 2019. The document outlines President Trump’s priorities regarding drug trafficking and drug use and provides strategic direction to federal agencies involved in preventing initiates to illicit drug use, treating those suffering from substance abuse disorder, and enforcing laws regarding illicit drug production, trafficking, and distribution.
    Sean Khalepari
  • The Top Ten Medical Cannabis Developments of 2018 December 28, 2018 3:10 pm
    It has been an exciting year in the world of cannabis reform. From studies that underscore the therapeutic potential of cannabis to political changes that bode well for patients and consumers, there is much to celebrate. Before we close the books on 2018, let’s take a look back at ten of the most significant developments over the past year from ASA’s perspective and consider their impact.
    Sean Khalepari
  • What Does a Government Shutdown Mean for Medical Cannabis? December 21, 2018 7:32 pm
    If you have seen the news lately, you know that the possibility of a partial government shutdown is looming. Although Congress has passed funding extensions, the President is threatening to veto any appropriations packages that do not contain sufficient funding for border security. Without further action, much government funding will end at 11:59 PM on Friday, December 21, meaning that many non-essential government operations and agencies will be suspended until a budget is passed. This would NOT include operations at the Department of Justice (DOJ) as it is considered essential.
    Sean Khalepari
  • World Health Organization Keeps Patients Waiting December 7, 2018 9:13 pm
    Despite the anticipation of a major announcement  at the 61st Commission on Narcotic Drugs relating to the international scheduling of cannabis, no announcement came from the World Health Organization (WHO) today. Many expected the WHO to issue a recommendation on its findings of the first ever critical review of cannabis, however the WHO delayed its recommendation saying that it needed more time to review its findings.
    David Mangone
  • Medical Cannabis in the 2018 Midterm Elections November 9, 2018 7:20 pm
    This week has been big for cannabis in electoral politics. Thanks to Tuesday’s election, thirty-three states now have a comprehensive medical cannabis program. Ballot victories in Missouri and Utah transitioned these states’ low-THC CBD programs to significantly broader access. Voters in eleven Wisconsin counties and one city approved non-binding referendums supporting medical cannabis legislation.  Michigan passed an initiative that legalized the adult use of cannabis.
    David Mangone
  • Connecting with Lawmakers at NCSL August 7, 2018 8:49 pm
    From July 29 through August 2, Americans for Safe Access attended the annual National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) in Los Angeles, California. We joined over 5,000 conference attendees (about 1,200 of which were state lawmakers or state legislative staff) to promote the goals of our End Pain, Not Lives Campaign.
    David Mangone