Medical cannabis activists had an exciting month in April: on April 19, West Virginia became the 29th state to legalize medical marijuana, and, from April 7 to 11, many activists attended the largest conference dedicated to improving access to medical cannabis: the Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Unity Conference. Ellen Lenox Smith, U.S. Pain’s advocacy director of Medical Cannabis, was among the presenters at the four-day event, which was held in Washington, D.C.

Lenox Smith, left, with peers at the ASA Conference

The focus of the conference was the roadblocks for accessing a variety of medications, services, alternative treatments, and clinicians. Although the audience was aware of the struggles of getting cannabis recognized as medicine, the idea was that this is not necessarily unique to this movement; many new treatments have to overcome challenges, and those challenges can be learned from.

“It was a true honor to be among such an amazing group of people from literally around the world,”says Lenox Smith. “I found a true interest and respect toward our foundation after my presentation. It was fascinating to listen to all the speakers and be reminded how much we do to try to make medication and services safer, more affordable, and more accessible in our country.”

ASA’s future goals include:

  • To see cannabis covered by insurance, like Germany recently mandated.
  • That product labels will be trusted and that the medicine would be free of pesticides and contaminants.
  • To have patients and medical professionals utilize a diverse group of products and delivery methods for a personalized treatment regimen.
  • For patients and their caregivers to have the information they need to make educated choices about medical cannabis therapies.
  • To see medical professionals recommend medical cannabis options as a frontline treatment option or an adjunct therapy.
  • For international, federal, and state laws and regulations to recognize cannabis as a legal medicine.

During her presentation, Lenox Smith announced that U.S. Pain Foundation was working on developing a medical cannabis website for for patients, family members, dispensary staff, caregivers, and medical professionals. Once completed, the website will offer an opportunity to learn about medical cannabis and earn continuing medical education credits (CMEs), thanks to a collaboration with Dr. Stephen Corn. Dr. Corn is a Boston Children’s Hospital anesthesiologist and medical cannabis activist who founded, a internationally known CME website for learning about the endocannabinoid system and the therapeutic use of medical cannabis, pain medicine and opioid prescribing. ASA is supporting the effort as well.


To learn more about U.S. Pain’s medical cannabis advocacy efforts, click here.