March 2008 Activist Newsletter

 
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—– Original Message —–

To: opn
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2008 11:50 AM
Subject: OPN: [asa] March 2008 Activist Newsletter

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In This Issue:

On the Web:

Become an ASA Member!

Please support the work of Americans for Safe Access

ASA’s Online
Store

"Gear up" for medical cannabis activism with ASA’s new T-shirts, hats,
stickers, bags and more! All proceeds go to ASA advocacy

Americans for Safe Access

1322 Webster Street, Ste. 402
Oakland, CA 94612
Phone: 510-251-1856
Fax: 510-251-2036

Americans for Safe Access
Monthly Activist Newsletter

Defending Patients’ Access to Medical Marijuana

  • March 2008
  • Volume 3, Issue 3

New Employment Bill Would Protect California Patients

California medical marijuana patients may soon have protection from
employment discrimination, thanks to legislation sponsored by Americans for
Safe Access that was introduced on February 20. The new law has been proposed
in response to a January California Supreme Court ruling that said employers
may fire qualified patients for no reason other than following the medical
treatment recommended by their doctors.
Assemblyman Mark Leno
Assemblyman Mark Leno
The employment rights bill leaves intact existing state law prohibiting
medical marijuana consumption at the workplace and protects employers from
liability by allowing exceptions for jobs where physical safety could be a
concern.
"The California Supreme Court decision said that an employer may fire
someone solely because they use medical marijuana outside the workplace," said
Assemblymember Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), the author of the bill. "AB 2279
is merely an affirmation of the intent of the voters and the legislature that
medical marijuana patents need not be unemployed to benefit from their
medicine."
Joining Assemblymember Leno as co-authors are Patty Berg (D-Eureka), Loni
Hancock (D-Berkeley) and Lori Saldaña (D-San Diego).
The bill is designed to rectify a 5-2 decision by the California Supreme
Court in Ross v. RagingWire, a case which was argued by ASA Chief Counsel Joe
Elford.
The court upheld a lower court ruling that qualified patients could be
fired based on either their status as a patient or a positive test for
marijuana. The plaintiff in the case, a 46-year old disabled veteran named
Gary Ross, lost his job as a systems engineer in 2001 after testing positive
for marijuana. His employer, RagingWire Telecommunications, would not make an
exception for medical use, even though Ross did not use cannabis on the job
and was treating injuries sustained during his military service.
Gary Ross Gary
Ross, speaking to the media
"It’s important that we not allow wholesale employment discrimination in
California," said Ross. "If the court is going to ignore the need for
protection, then it’s up to the legislature to ensure that productive workers
like me are free from discrimination."
California joins Oregon and Hawaii in introducing legislation to protect
medical marijuana patients from employment discrimination.
Since 2005, ASA has received hundreds of reports of employment
discrimination from all across California. Employers that have either fired
patients from their job, threatened them with termination, or denied them
employment because of patient status or because of a positive test for
marijuana, include Costco Wholesale, UPS, Foster Farms Dairy, DirecTV, the San
Joaquin Courier, Power Auto Group, as well as several construction companies,
hospitals, and various trade union employers.
"We welcome and strongly endorse this clarification from the
legislature," said ASA spokesperson Kris Hermes. "Despite the ill-conceived
ruling by the California Supreme Court, the intent of state legislatures has
been to recognize the civil rights of patients and to offer them reasonable
protections."
Further information, see ASA’s website at: www.AmericansForSafeaccess.org/Ross.

Sixth Annual Medical Marijuana Week Another Success

For the sixth year in a row, Americans For Safe Access organized a
Medical Marijuana Week. And for the sixth time, the event was a huge success,
providing opportunities for patients and activists to learn about the issues,
take action, and educate others.
Held every year during the week of 2/15
— to commemorate the passage of Proposition 215, California’s medical
cannabis law — Medical Marijuana Week this year had an activity or event for
every day of the week from February 11-17.
Monday’s focus was on
membership, as ASA supporters reached out to friends and family to encourage
them to join the nation’s largest and fastest growing organization of
patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting
safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
On Tuesday, hundreds of activists throughout the country visited their
U.S. Senators’ district offices to ask their representatives to support access
to new sources of cannabis for FDA-approved medical research. The senators
were urged to support patients by signing on to the letter Senators Ted
Kennedy and John Kerry are circulating to enable FDA-approved research.
Wednesday, activists wrote letters to their local newspapers calling on
Congress to support access for FDA-approved medical marijuana research.
FDA-approved research is key to safe access nationwide. ASA created a Letter
to the Editor action site as an easy way to submit LTEs online, using talking
points provided by ASA’s communications specialists.
For Thursday, patients were asked to plug into ASA’s condition-based
unions to further promote medical cannabis research and advocate for safe
access.
On Friday, ASA released its first National Field Report, which paints a
comprehensive picture of the local, state, and national campaigns ASA’s
chapters and affiliates work on and also highlights the 2007 accomplishments
in the field. Patients and activists were asked to start or join a local ASA
chapter.
Finally, the weekend was devoted to mobilizing local communities and
getting signatures for ASA’s Congressional research petition.
All in all, it was another fun, informative, and empowering week of
activities for medical marijuana patients and activists across the country.

RESEARCH UPDATE

Osteoporosis May Be Treatable with Cannabinoids

New research out of Israel shows that osteoporosis, a degenerative bone
condition afflicting 10 million Americans over age 50, may be treatable with
cannabinoids.
Researchers found that the body’s natural endocannabinoid system helps
control how the body replaces old bone with new growth. In the study,
activating CB2 cannabinoid receptors reduced bone loss and stimulated bone
formation.
This would seem to confirm early studies that showed faster bone loss in
mice that had fewer CB2 receptors.

Study Confirms Cannabis Helps People with HIV/AIDS

Cannabis has been commonly recommended to help people with HIV/AIDS
combat nausea and appetite loss, and numerous studies have shown it to be an
effective treatment.
A new Columbia University study, the first in nearly 20 years to examine
cannabis’ efficacy, has shown that not only is smoked cannabis effective, it’s
substantially more so than Marinol, the synthetic oral drug, in a
double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Patients in the trial gained almost
2.5 lbs over four days.
To produce similar weight gain, Marinol had to be given in doses eight
times higher than current recommendations.

State Medical Marijuana Laws Do Not Increase Drug Use

A statistical study has found that passing state laws legalizing the
medical use of cannabis does not increase the drug’s recreational use.
Researchers looked at two "high-risk" groups (ER patients and arrestees)
in four states, California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Researchers
reported that "the introduction of medical cannabis laws was not associated
with an increase in cannabis use."
This finding confirms a study of states with medical marijuana laws
conducted by the US General Accounting Office (GAO), which found that
legalizing medical cannabis has not led to increased recreational
use.

NATIONAL ACTION ALERT

Reach Out for Research: Petition Your Community
to Support Medical
Cannabis Research!

ASA has created a petition
that you can print out and circulate at your work, school, home, church, and
in your larger community. Download and print out this petition calling on your
U.S. Senators to support access to materials for FDA-approved medical cannabis
research. Our goal is to collect 30,000 signatures by April 21st. These
petitions will be hand delivered each to of your Senators by our National
Office staff. Please join in our efforts and begin gathering signatures today!
Visit ASA’s fun interactive map to download a petition
addressed to your state’s U.S. Senators. Go to www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org/SenatePetitionMap
and click on your state for your specialized petition or call ASA at (510)
251-1856 and ask for petitions to be mailed to you.
Please send completed petitions to ASA Headquarters:
Americans for Safe Access
Attn: Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
1322 Webster
Street, Suite 402
Oakland, CA 94612
Fax: (510) 251-2036

Click here to download a pdf of
this
newsletter to print and distribute
.

Americans for Safe Access * 1322 Webster Street, Ste. 402 * Oakland, CA
94612

____________________________________________________________

http://www.SafeAccessNow.org

Brandy
Zink, LMT
Executive Director
Ohio Patient Action Network
President
Ohio Patient
Network

http://www.ohiopatient.net
http://www.ohiopatientaction.org

bzink@ohiopatient.net
888-647-2843


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