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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
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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

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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

Honoring Dennis Peron

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 16:33

The medical cannabis community is mourning the death of medical cannabis pioneer Dennis Peron, who died on Saturday at the age of seventy-two. Dennis was the founder of the legendary San Francisco Cannabis Buyers Club in San Francisco and a crusader for the right to safe access to medical cannabis in California.

Called the “Father of Medical Marijuana,” he inspired the grassroots movement that adopted Proposition 215 legalizing medical cannabis in California in 1996.

Valley delegate introduces bill expanding the uses of medical cannabis oil

Tue, 01/30/2018 - 13:08

By Marina Barnett for WHSV3

Beth Collins, who is a Senior Director of Government Relations and External Affairs at Americans for Safe Access, said cannabis oil was the last option for her daughter, who suffers from epilepsy. She wants this bill to help other patients who are struggling with symptoms to get the help they need as well. The new bill lets doctors make that decision, instead of lawmakers.

"We just don't think that's a good approach for anybody, or fair, so we wanted to let doctors decide and Senator Dunnavant agreed to submit the bill," said Collins.

Week of January 22, 2018

Mon, 01/22/2018 - 10:24
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Changing political climate threatens US cannabis research

Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:13

By Rebecca Trager for Chemistry World

‘For a lot of people who are in the medical cannabis space, this is one of their biggest fears about Sessions – that he would rescind the non-interference cannabis policies of Obama,’ - Jahan Marcu

New Memo from Congressional Research Service

Tue, 01/16/2018 - 11:42

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) released a memorandum analyzing the Justice Department’s Decision to rescind Obama-era guidance on federal cannabis policy including the Cole Memo, the Ogden Memos,  the Wilkinson memo on cannabis on tribal lands and the FinCen guidance which created policies for financial institutions interacting with cannabis businesses. CRS is a non-partisan office in the Library of Congress that provides legislative advice and analysis to both parties in a neutral way.

ASA Activist Newsletter - 2017 Year in Review

Mon, 01/15/2018 - 16:58

In the January 2018 Issue

  • DOJ Memo on Prosecutions Rescinded; Temporary Protections Remain
  • ASA Launches Campaign on Cannabis as a Tool in Opioid Crisis
  • Veterans Administration Loosens Cannabis Policy
  • WHO Initial Report Says CBD Needs No Restrictions
  • DEA Yields to Pressure, Removes Misinformation on Cannabis
  • ASA National Unity Conference a Success
  • ASA’s Annual Report on State Medical Cannabis Programs Finds Improvements
  • State & International Developments
  • ASA’s Patient Focused Certification Going Global
  • ACTION ALERT: Send Congress Your Story Today!

The grass is green for careers in cannabis research

Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:25

By Beryl Lieff Benderly for Science Magazine

Growing up with a close relative who used marijuana before legalization to alleviate symptoms of a medical condition inspired [Dr. Jahan] Marcu’s fascination with the plant’s relationship to the human body. Having researched cannabinoids’ anticancer activity as a technician and the structure, function, and signaling of cannabinoid receptors, especially in bone, for his Ph.D. dissertation, he now focuses on developing and implementing recognized, science-based standards to assure that the medicine sold is safe, pure, and what it purports to be.

Can veterans be penalized for using pot? Answer is hazy

Tue, 01/09/2018 - 15:55

By Libby Denkmann for 89.3 KPCC

“As long as there’s a federal conflict with state laws, any patient has significant reason to be worried,” said David Mangone, legislative counsel for the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access. He added, while the danger of criminal prosecution is low, “any recreational user who receives federal benefits, they do run the risk of being subject to federal prosecution even if they are complying with state law.”

Medical cannabis community must join together and resist any action taken against us

Mon, 01/08/2018 - 16:06

By Steph Sherer for The Hill

Yesterday, I awoke to the news that I have been fearing since Jeff Session was nominated as Attorney General, his Department of Justice is rescinding the non-interference cannabis policies from the Obama Administration, the 2013 Cole Memorandum. As I was trying to respond to the flood of texts and emails, I had to fight off flashbacks from events that plagued the first 13 years of my work at Americans for Safe Access.

Between 1996 and 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted 528 paramilitary-style raids (270 occurring during the Obama administration), filed civil asset forfeiture actions against property owners, and used bullying tactics to dissuade state elected officials from adopting or implementing medical cannabis laws. For each of these actions, dozens of lives were ruined and thousands of patients lost their access to medical cannabis. This was at a time when only twelve states had medical cannabis access programs.