Historic California Medical Cannabis Regulations Advance

CALIFORNIA:  California lawmakers have reached a historic compromise on regulating the world’s largest medical pot economy — paving the way for recreational legalization in 2016.

Yesterday, a sweeping bill to regulate California medical marijuana passed the California Assembly with a resounding, bipartisan 60-8 vote.

Assembly Bill 266 was crafted by police, merged with an industry-backed bill, and ultimately earned bipartisan support of lawmakers and the endorsement of the Emerald Grower’s Association, Americans for Safe Access and other industry groups.

Medical Marijuana Supporters Host Patient Education Event

ILLINOIS:  Patient numbers have been low so far in the Illinois medical marijuana program. A daylong event planned Saturday in Chicago aims to answer questions for patients who’ve been on the fence.

Americans for Safe Access-Illinois and the Epilepsy Foundation of Greater Chicago are co-hosting the event.

A $25 workshop for patients and caregivers will be followed by a free forum for military veterans.

Speakers include Dr. Sue Sisley, an Arizona psychiatrist and a co-investigator on an upcoming study of marijuana for post-traumatic stress disorder.


The Millionaire Who Wants To Control Washington’s Weed

WASHINGTON:  The state of Washington’s legal marijuana market is at a major crossroads, with its fate to be determined by pending legislation that seeks to address a conflict in the system.

In the big picture, the choices to be made along the path ahead boil down to a struggle between business and patient interests. The pending legislation at the heart of the issue seeks to bring Washington’s largely unregulated medical-marijuana market under the rubric of state oversight.

In November 2012, as part of a statewide referendum known as Initiative 502, voters in Washington, by a margin of 56 percent to 44 percent, approved the creation of a legal recreational-marijuana market served by growers, processors, and retail shops. However, the referendum was silent on the treatment of medical marijuana.

“We are for regulation of medical-marijuana businesses and for standards,” said Kari Boiter, a Washington State-based spokesperson for Americans for Safe Access, a medical-marijuana patient advocacy group. “But we represent the vulnerable patients’ voice in the process, and we want to make sure their rights are protected.”

Medical Cannabis Lobby Day In Olympia Brings Out Local Business Owners

By TwiceBakedinWA

WASHINGTON: While attending the 2015 Medical Cannabis Lobby Day in Olympia, Washington, I had the chance to talk with Ah Warner CEO of Cannabis Basics, a  Seattle-based company that makes cannabis topicals.

Ah was in the State Capital representing Americans for Safe Access and lobbying for the big medical marijuana bills that will potentially pass this legislative session. She was also there drumming up support for SB5493, a new topical bill that would allow for the sale of cannabis health and beauty aids in any store in the state without need for a special license.

SB5493 distinguishes cannabis health and beauty products from marijuana which means that products that are made with less than .3% THC will be able to be made and sold everywhere.

The passage of this bill would vastly affect her cannabis topical business who is currently only available to distribute to medical marijuana shops.



Historic Senate Pot Vote Imminent

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Advocacy groups like the Drug Policy Alliance, Marijuana Policy Project, and Americans for Safe Access are urging citizens to contact their Senator today as a historic vote on de-funding the war on weed nears.

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker’s (D-NJ) proposed amendment to the Commerce, Science & Justice appropriations bill would block the Department of Justice from spending money raiding lawful medical marijuana providers in states that it is legal. The idea passed the House 219-189 in May, in a surprise example of bipartisanship, but it faces much tougher odds in the Senate.

Democratic Senators like Diane Feinstein remain opposed to ending the federal war on medical pot, her office said. She said the amendment would interfere with the police’s ability to shut down “rogue” clubs. Advocacy groups call that argument factually incorrect.

The National Cannabis Industry Association notes: “The amendment does not legalize marijuana but simply prevents tax dollars from being spent undermining state medical marijuana laws.
 The Amendment does not prevent enforcement from combating marijuana-related activity that is not in compliance with state laws.”


“Vote Medical Marijuana” TV Ads Air All Week Spotlighting Congressional Members in Washington State

WASHINGTON:  The medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is running two new 30-second TV advertisements on MSNBC, CNN, and HLN in eastern Washington every day this week. The ads draw attention to the Kettle Falls 5 case–a federal prosecution against patients lawfully growing for their own personal use–and spotlight how Members of Congress voted last month on a House measure to curb this type of federal medical marijuana enforcement.

One of the ads focuses on Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), who grew up in Kettle Falls and now represents the same district where defendant Larry Harvey lives. On May 30th, Rep. McMorris Rodgers voted against a bipartisan measure that would protect her constituents by restricting Department of Justice (DOJ) spending on enforcement in states that have legalized medical marijuana. Despite Washington’s 16-year-old medical marijuana law and the questionable enforcement practices occurring in her own district, McMorris Rodgers has consistently opposed medical marijuana reform in Congress.

The other ad praises Congressman Doc Hastings (R-WA), one of 49 House Republicans who voted in favor of restricting DOJ enforcement in medical marijuana states. Hastings reversed his stance on medical marijuana from previous years, but he will be retiring his seat in eastern Washington at the end of his term. The ad publicly recognizes the Congressman’s position, but also encourages voters to find out where the numerous candidates running for Hastings’ open seat stand on medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana Advocates Descend on Capitol Hill

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  Medical marijuana supporters flocked to Capitol Hill on Monday to push for legislation that would prohibit the federal government from restricting state medical-marijuana laws.

“We’re doing this work,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access, a pro-medical-pot group that brought 152 people to Washington to lobby 300 members of Congress. “It’s not just a bunch of potheads [saying], Please let us do this.”

The House bill would offer legal clarity to the growing number of states that are legalizing medical marijuana even as it remains illegal under federal law. New York might become the 21st state to legalize medicinal marijuana this year, but the Drug Enforcement Agency considers marijuana a drug on the same level as heroin, and the Justice Department under the Obama Administration hasn’t always been consistent in its level of prosecutorial restraint and its willingness to defer to state laws.


Women Move To The Front Of Pro-Pot Movements

MICHIGAN: Members of the group Michigan Moms United gathered outside the state Department of Human Services last week, along with other groups protesting the controversial removal of 6-month-old Bree Green by Child Protective Services from her Lansing family. [Read more…]

Berkeley City Council To Consider Increasing Number Of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries

CALIFORNIA: Berkeley City Council will discuss increasing the number of medical cannabis dispensaries in the city from four to six at Tuesday’s meeting. [Read more…]

Medical Marijuana Patients Need Protection NOT Policy Rhetoric. Will Congress Step Up?

CALIFORNIA: Last Thursday, Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a long-awaited memo laying out the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) policy on state marijuana laws. At my office at Americans for Safe Access, we were all experiencing a kind of déjà-vu as the emails started flooding in. However, our excitement began to diminish as we read through the details. [Read more…]