A view on “American for Safe Access” Conference, Washington D.C. (22-25 Feb.2013)
A report by Encod SC member Boaz Wachtel, March 3, 2013
1. Over 280 attended the 4 day patient-centric conference. Lectures included issues of science, policy, activism, international models (Canada, Israel + Bedrocan from Holland)
2. The strength of ASA is in its numbers, organization and ability to work vis-à-vis different legislators on state and national levels. Each member pays a fee and ASA is fund raising as well beyond the membership fees. Patient groups are growing in strength and scope in the USA. They form coalitions, for example with the 1.3 million strong Food Workers union, with LEAP, etc.
3. ASA made a press conference outside Capitol hill steps and one congress man and some other politicians spoke. We (6 speakers) then presented inside congress meeting roomto a few congressmen and staff our positions. I was the only foreign invited to speak on Israel’s national medical cannabis program. I especially emphasized the need to integrate patient education in each model and the need to address war related PTSD symptoms with smokes cannabis – supported by the great results from a pilot study we had here (in collaboration between the Ministry of Defense and M. of Health.
4. I proposed that ASA and ENCOD cooperate and form international collaboration between patients in countries where MC is available. Stephen Sherer agreed and we should talk about this and other forms of collaboration with ENCOD.
5. In addition – there was a talk of the need of patients to travel with their MC from country to country. It is possible to travel now with MC between some countries (with advance notice to the Embassy of the destination) but it’s an issue that needs attention (similar to travel with Methadone)
6. Bedrocan is examined closely by the Canadian and Israeli governments as a possible source of supplies as a substitute to local growing, a threat that we are trying to address. Bedrocan is selling about 400 kg annually both to Dutch patients and to single EU patients in a few countries at an exuberant prices. There is an international run by pharmaceutical companies to develop various cannabinoids backed by patents. This is a welcome edition if it does not come on the account patients access to the raw flower at cheap prices. I made a comparative chart with the price of MC in various countries and the price of Sativax and MArinol – the approved medications is 10-20 more expensive then the raw cannabis.
7. There are 19 states (including the District of Columbia – Washington DC) that approved by referendum the use of cannabis for medicinal use. There is no harmonization between the rules and regulations governing the issue at the various states, and as a result, it’s a patch work of various rules and regulations, depending on local politics and power balance within the relevant parties at any given state – for example some states limit the thc level in blood that patients can drive with, three states allow patients to grow etc.
8. If the Federal government would move on MC approval it would probably ask the states to follow – but this is an assumption.
9. The biggest issue is Federal interference with Medical Cannabis research. It is virtually impossible to obtain license to conduct MC research from the DEA , and if its provided, the Cannabis from NIDA (the designated “medical Cannabis Agency” in the USA) will provide shitty Cannabis grown at a University of Tennessee (that supplies the 7 or 8 remaining patients in the Federal Cannabis program that existed until Ronald Reagan shut it down).
10. Due to this federal objection (passive Aggressive) to MC research and no recognition of Cannabis’s medical value, other countries are taking the lead in MC research (Israel, Spain, Italy?). The lack of official recognition is in contrast to the Federal government registering cannabinoids patents, monopolizing, for example “Cannabinoids as nuero-protective agent” etc…Republish