MMJ Advocates Invite Pat Kennedy to Better Understand Medical Marijuana

10 Jan, 2013

By Americans for Safe Access

National conference in February will better equip Kennedy, others to develop public health policy based on science

Washington, DC – In response to public comments made against U.S. marijuana reform today by former Rhode Island Congressman Patrick Kennedy, patient advocates wrote to Kennedy inviting him to attend a national conference on medical marijuana scheduled for February 22nd – 25th at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. Kennedy announced today the formation of a new group, “Smart Approaches to Marijuana,” or SAM, which claims to take a different approach to marijuana use than legalization advocates or government drug warriors. However, advocates argue that SAM’s apparent pro-public health approach ignores the therapeutic benefits of the marijuana plant and is simply using a new narrative to make the same arguments used by marijuana opponents for years.

The country’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has invited Kennedy to find out more about the marijuana plant and its proven medical efficacy. On February 22nd, ASA will host a National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, “Bridging the Gap Between Public & Policy,” which will include workshops and panels on the scientific research around medical marijuana, strategic planning, skills building, and a lobby day on Monday, February 25th, with hundreds of advocates requesting reform of their Member of Congress.

“The opening day of the conference will be dedicated solely to scientific research on the medical efficacy of cannabis,” read the letter to Kennedy. “Co-sponsored by Patients Out of Time, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the American Alliance of Medical Cannabis, the day will feature world-class medical marijuana researchers from around the world, presenting on the most recent advancements in the field.”

The same day, the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids and the University of California-San Francisco, in collaboration with the Society of Cannabis Clinicians will host “Cannabis in Medicine: A Primer for Health Care Professionals,” a Continuing Medical Education (CME). The accredited CME course is an overview of the clinical use of cannabis, providing health care professionals with up-to-date clinical information on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.

ASA will also be holding workshops on movement building and development, bringing together stakeholders from labor, industry, drug policy reform, environmental movements, and veterans. The American Herbal Products Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access will be joining ASA as convening sponsors.

“This conference is not only for medical marijuana patients and their advocates,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “It’s also for key stakeholders, like Patrick Kennedy and the members of SAM, who may mean well, but aren’t equipped with the relevant scientific information to make sound public health decisions on behalf of our most vulnerable Americans.”

Further information:
ASA letter to Patrick Kennedy: AmericansForSafeAccess.org/downloads/ASA_Letter_Kennedy.pdf
Bridging the Gap Between Public & Policy: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference: AmericansForSafeAccess.org/blog/conference2013

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Written by Charmie Gholson

Charmie Gholson is a national drug policy reform advocate, a working journalist, mother of three sons and oldest of three daughters.

Charmie is the Founder of Michigan Moms United -an umbrella organization that works to give voice to families caught in the criminal justice system, including the failed drug war and mental health issues. Their Safety Campaign was launched July 2012 and works to reform Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws, create drug task force accountability and work with CPS to minimize state created, family trauma.

Charmie previously worked as a staff writer for LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of law enforcers who speak out against and want to end the failed drug war.

She is still owner of The Midwest Cultivator. If you would like to purchase her half of the business, email her at okisay@yahoo.com

From 2003-2009, Charmie created, produced and hosted Renegade Solutions, a Native Rights public affairs radio show that reported on environmental and social justice issues, including drug policy reform. She has written for many national publications, including The New York Times Magazine, and was a columnist for Current Magazine for ten years. She also was a regular contributor to The Ann Arbor Observer before she became obsessed with ending the drug war.

Charmie regularly writes about and speaks on a wide range of topics: how and why to end the failed drug war, the rise of paramilitary drug raids, policing for profit-civil asset forfeiture, taking the profit out of the drug war, how to move from being an activist to an ambassador, how the drug war has skewed police priorities, and minimizing potentially dangerous interactions with police. She believes that all marijuana use is medicinal, and that legalizing marijuana is an essential step towards a return to traditional medicines and healing.

About the author

Charmie Gholson

Charmie Gholson is a national drug policy reform advocate, a working journalist, mother of three sons and oldest of three daughters. Charmie is the Founder of Michigan Moms United -an umbrella organization that works to give voice to families caught in the criminal justice system, including the failed drug war and mental health issues. Their Safety Campaign was launched July 2012 and works to reform Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws, create drug task force accountability and work with CPS to minimize state created, family trauma. Charmie previously worked as a staff writer for LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, an organization of law enforcers who speak out against and want to end the failed drug war. She is still owner of The Midwest Cultivator. If you would like to purchase her half of the business, email her at okisay@yahoo.com From 2003-2009, Charmie created, produced and hosted Renegade Solutions, a Native Rights public affairs radio show that reported on environmental and social justice issues, including drug policy reform. She has written for many national publications, including The New York Times Magazine, and was a columnist for Current Magazine for ten years. She also was a regular contributor to The Ann Arbor Observer before she became obsessed with ending the drug war. Charmie regularly writes about and speaks on a wide range of topics: how and why to end the failed drug war, the rise of paramilitary drug raids, policing for profit-civil asset forfeiture, taking the profit out of the drug war, how to move from being an activist to an ambassador, how the drug war has skewed police priorities, and minimizing potentially dangerous interactions with police. She believes that all marijuana use is medicinal, and that legalizing marijuana is an essential step towards a return to traditional medicines and healing.

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