Americans for Safe Access is based in Oakland, California and is the largest member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens working to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic uses and research. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) works in partnership with state, local and national legislators to overcome barriers and create policies that improve access to medical marijuana for both patients and researchers. ASA has over 30,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states.
ASA provides legal training for and medical information to patients, attorneys, health and medical professionals and policymakers throughout the United States. They also organize media support for court cases, rapid response to law enforcement raids, and capacity-building for advocates. Their successful lobbying, media and legal campaigns have resulted in important court precedents, new sentencing standards, and more compassionate community guidelines.
The mission of Americans for Safe Access is to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research.
Medical cannabis patient and current Executive Director Steph Sherer founded ASA in 2002 in response to federal raids on patients and providers in California. Ever since then, ASA has been instrumental in shaping the political and legal landscape of medical cannabis. Their successful lobbying, media, and legal campaigns have led to positive court precedents, new sentencing standards, more compassionate legislative and administrative polices and procedures, as well as new legislation.
ASA has achieved much in its short existence, including:
- ASA successfully filed suit against California Highway Patrol (CHP), the largest law enforcement agency in the state, compelling CHP to stop confiscating patients’ medical cannabis and otherwise comply with the mandates of Proposition 215.
- ASA has worked with elected officials to enact sound ordinances regulating medical cannabis dispensing collectives (dispensaries). Currently, 24 cities and 7 counties have given dispensaries protection and legitimacy under local law.
- ASA has turned the tide of media bias and indifference with a professional, proactive media strategy, making medical cannabis a major story nationwide and has generally worked to frame the national discourse on medical cannabis issues.
- ASA has provided outreach services to countless collectives, including legal training, peer counseling, and media spokesperson training.
References[edit | edit source]
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- Radio interview with Joe Elford, Staff Attorney for Americans for Safe Access. (Soapbox Derby on KALX-FM, January 24, 2008)
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