The country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), will hold its third annual national Unity Conference, “Wellness is Winning,” in Washington, D.C. on March 27-31, 2015. The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, policymakers, and a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Tuesday, March 31st, ASA will host a press conference at 11am, followed by a lobby day with hundreds of patient advocates.
What: Third Annual National Unity Conference, “Wellness is Winning”
When: March 27-31, 2015, including a press conference at 11am on March 31st
Where: Loews Madison Hotel, 1177 15th Street NW, Washington, D.C., press conference will be on the Capitol grounds
“Patients and advocates are excited to be gathering this year after an historic victory in Congress, which paved the way for a very promising bill in the US Senate,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “Hundreds of patients and advocates will gather in the nation’s capitol next week with a unified goal to urge Congress to adopt sensible federal medical marijuana policy reform.”
The national conference comes just two weeks after a comprehensive medical marijuana bill was introduced in the US Senate, endorsed by several advocacy groups including ASA, which helped Senate authors develop the legislation. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) introduced S.683, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act to end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and allow states to set their own policies.
The conference also follows an historic vote in Congress with the adoption of Section 538 of the Appropriations Act, a one-year spending provision that prohibits the Department of Justice (DOJ) from using its funds to interfere in the implementation of state medical marijuana laws.
Notably, the first conference panel on Saturday, March 28th is “We are Winning!” which will feature medical marijuana experts in the field, followed by a panel on Congress and the CARERS Act, and the conference Key Note by cannabis researcher Ethan Russo, MD. That afternoon, experts on product safety will explore the current state of product safety laws and regulations as well as implications for patients and medical marijuana industries. The program will close on Saturday with stakeholder break-out sessions to discuss issues affecting medical marijuana patients, medical professionals and researchers, the cannabis industry, veterans, and the parents of pediatric patients.
Sunday, March 29th will begin with a panel on overcoming persistent and pervasive stigma related to employment, housing, parental rights, and access to health care. The panel will address the roots of this discrimination and solutions for overcoming it on a personal and political level. Medical marijuana researchers will then discuss exciting new developments and clinical applications of cannabis, which will be followed by a panel on harmonizing the regulatory schemes of different cannabis sectors from legalization to pharmaceuticalization, and from herbal medicine to industrial hemp.
Monday, March 30th will be dedicated to skills building and education for activists, including workshops on advocating for cannabis as a medicine, social media training, best practices for nurses and caregivers, utilizing local voter initiatives, building relationships with elected officials, parenting and medical marijuana, as well as developing and supporting legislation and regulations. There will also be three educational programs Monday for medical professionals and industry stakeholders, as well as a detailed analysis of the cannabis plant. Monday evening, ASA will host its awards banquet, which recognizes individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the promotion and expansion of safe access to medical marijuana.
Tuesday, March 31st will begin with a press conference on the Capitol grounds, featuring Members of Congress, patient advocates and experts in the field. The press conference will be followed by a grassroots lobbying effort in which hundreds of patient advocates will urge their Senators to adopt sensible federal medical marijuana policy by voting for the CARERS Act.
Sponsors of the conference include OrganiCann, the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, Grace, Mary’s Medicinals, CannaBest Medical, Abattis Bioceuticals, Remedy Compassion Center, and the American Herbal Products Association.