ASA Excellence Awards


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 Wednesday, May 23, 2018 -- Omni Shoreham Hotel

A banquet honoring Americans for Safe Access Award winners will be held Wednesday, May 23, 2018 at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC.  Join ASA and advocates from across the country as we celebrate those who make a difference in the lives of patients every day.

Since 2002, ASA has promoted excellence in the medical marijuana movement.  The ASA Excellence Awards program recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to Safe Access, programs that exemplify the highest standards and organizations that have conducted activities to promote and expand safe access.

Don't miss your chance to be a part of the most important night for Safe Access!

2018 ASA Excellence Award Winners


  • Patient Advocate of the Year:  Jennifer Collins -- Jenn has achieved so much in her young life already we cannot wait to see what she has in store for the future. We are also happy to be able to screen The Life She Deserves, a new film about her achievements as a patient and advocate.

  • Elected Official of the Year: West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda -- Senator Ojeda led the effort on SB386, the West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act which created West Virginia's medical cannabis program. His legislation was inspired by a desire to do something about the opioid crisis in his state. As a candidate for U.S. Congress (West Virgina's 3rd District) and a retired army combat veteran, Senator Ojeda has made access to medical cannabis a significant part of his policy platform.

  • Chapter, Affiliate, or Action Group of the Year: Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education (TRUCE) -- We have groups working in difficult states all across the country, but everyone would acknowledge that working for medical cannabis in Utah presents a whole new set of unique challenges. That makes the work and dedication of TRUCE all the more impressive. Their progress against strong headwinds is truly inspiring.

  • Researcher of the Year: Ryan Vandrey, PhD -- His groundbreaking work on cannabis administration and dosing will help provide a foundation for the development of many novel cannabis-based medicines. He also conducted the first ever series of labeling studies for THC and CBD products, utilizing laboratories enrolled in the Patient Focused Certification Program. Dr. Vandrey’s research is playing an important role in guiding policy for the benefit of medical cannabis patients.

  • Medical Professional of the Year:  Carlo Tornatore, MD -- Dr. Tornatore is the Associate Professor and Chairman of the Department of Neurology and the Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center at Georgetown University. Dr. Tornatore has made the inclusion of medical cannabis as an option for his patients a priority. He has thoughtfully and pointedly included patient education on the use of medical cannabis in his patient education seminars, and has brought medical cannabis into the mainstream at one of the most prestigious neuroimmunology centers in the country.  The largest center of its kind in the mid-Atlantic, the Georgetown Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology Center offers diagnosis and treatment of neuroimmunological disorders including multiple sclerosis (MS), neuromyelitis optica (NMO), vasculitis, myasthenia gravis, neuro-sarcoidosis, Sjogren's disease, stiff person syndrome and other paraneoplastic syndromes. 

  • Journalist of the Year: David Hodes -- David has worked both as a contributor and editor of several cannabis publications including Cannabis Business Executive. His coverage of the intersection of federal policy with the cannabis industry is invaluable for both the industry and the public.

  • Courage Award: Zartler Family -- Their struggle to treat their daughter Zara and keep their family together has been a very public one. Facing down the state of Texas to do what is right for your children defines bravery for medical cannabis advocates.

  • End Pain Not Lives Champion of the Year: U.S. Pain Foundation -- The U.S Pain Foundation has been ASA's partner on our End Pain Not Lives campaign since 2017. The U.S. Pain Foundation works to empower, educate, connect, and advocate for people living with chronic conditions that cause pain. The organization is dedicated to serving those who live with pain conditions and their care providers and helps individuals find resources and inspiration. 

  • Partner Advocate of the Year: Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe -- Awarded to a partner organization or company that has displayed leadership and courage in their work on behalf of medical cannabis patients. This work can span a variety of endeavors, such as research or legal assistance.

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