Letter from Executive Director

Wellness is Winning!


When we founded ASA in 2002, there were about 30,000 legal medical marijuana patients, only 11 medical cannabis distribution centers in the entire country, and they were all under attack by the Department of Justice. There were 7 states with medical marijuana laws on their books, but the laws were only criminal exemptions and provided no pathway to safe access.

Today, there are over 2 million legal medical cannabis patients and over 2000 medical cannabis distribution centers across the US serving patients! Thirty-four states and the District of Columbia have passed a medical cannabis law and Congress has ordered the Department of Justice to leave medical cannabis programs alone. And with the help of the American Herbal Products Association and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, we now have the tools we need to properly regulate medical cannabis as an herbal medicine. 

Our movement has been newly energized by the rise of powerful parent lobbying resulting in 11 states passing medical cannabis laws that I never would have imagined. New York, Minnesota and Maryland are now full medical cannabis states. We are seeing important positive trends such as the District of Columbia moving away from restrictive qualifying condition lists and the state of Colorado granting 20 million dollars in cannabis research funds.  

It is a proud time for our movement: we are strong and we are winning. But our struggle is not over. We must seize this moment in history and double down our commitment and efforts. We must prepare ourselves to not only bear witness to the changes around us but to bring safe and legal access to this nation through evidence-based policies. A new Congress means a new opportunity to end the state and federal conflict once and for all. This is why the theme of this year’s Unity Conference is ‘Wellness is Winning: Advancing Evidence Based Medical Cannabis Policy”.  

Please join me in Washington, D.C. March 27-31 where together, as a movement will both celebrate, and prepare, plan and lobby for a final chapter towards victory.

Wellness is winning!

Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Americans for Safe Access 

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