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By Jahan Marcu, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer for Americans for Safe Access

With over 100,000 active members in all 50 states, Americans for Safe Access (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 and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis. One method is to share the facts when it comes to research.

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Despite recent roadblocks, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ efforts to restrict recreational marijuana use and the Veteran Administration’s refusal to study cannabis’s therapeutic benefit, legislation at the state and federal level is moving forward to allow or expand access to medical marijuana for those who need it.

“Americans should be encouraged by the progress being made,” explains Shaina Smith, director of state advocacy and alliance development for U.S. Pain Foundation. “Fortunately, Attorney General Sessions has only cracked down on recreational marijuana. Although there is some concern he might target medical cannabis, so far, we’re seeing a lot of positive action on medical marijuana bills in numerous states and at the federal level. But we need our advocates and ambassadors to step up and support the legislation being proposed.”

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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.

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