Golden with the ASA award.

On May 23, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) awarded U.S. Pain with its inaugural “End Pain, Not Lives” Champion of the Year, a new award that recognizes the organization that best supports ASA’s effort to make it easier for people with pain, chronic pain, and opioid use disorder to utilize medical cannabis in their treatment plans. The award was presented at the Unity Awards Dinner, as part of ASA’s National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in Washington, D.C.

Katie Golden, U.S. Pain migraine advocacy liaison, accepted the award on behalf of the organization and Ellen Lenox Smith, U.S. Pain Board member and co-director of its Medical Cannabis Program. Lenox Smith, who couldn’t attend due to her health, provided remarks via a pre-recorded video.

In the video, she spoke about the medical cannabis landscape in her home state of Rhode Island, which is complicated by the conflict of local vs. federal laws, affordability issues, and the looming possibility of full recreational legalization. While that could be a boon in some ways, Smith cautioned the audience about how the needs of patients differ from the needs of other stakeholders, especially since taxation and revenue have come more to the forefront.

“Their concern is money—our concern is staying alive and having access to medication that’s safe and affordable and accessible,” Lenox Smith explained.

Lenox Smith, concluded her speech with thanks to ASA and a final word of wisdom for listeners with chronic pain: “No patient should be left in the dark. If you need to use medication to help your life, then you should have the right to do so.”

For more information on U.S. Pain’s medical cannabis advocacy efforts, click here.