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National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference in D.C. Aims to Bridge Gaps

Sam Sabzehzar 2013-02-07 0 comments

The National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference will take place in D.C. later this month and it is clear Americans for Safe Access is taking a strategic approach to bridging the gap between public and policy and bringing in experts from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition as well as medical experts to discuss harm reduction, science, public policy, and wellness.

By Sam Sabzehzar  |  February 7, 2013

Americans for Safe Access are pleased to announce Bridging the Gap Between Public & Policy – Americans for Safe Access National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, taking place February 22nd – 25th at the Mayflower Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Tickets are still available through the link above and will include an accredited cannabinoid education program called “Cannabis in Medicine: A Primer for Health Care Professionals” which will provide an expert overview of the clinical use of cannabis, providing health care professionals with up-to-date clinical information on the therapeutic potential of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.

Physicians who attend will receive 2.75 AMA PRA Category 1 credits. The program is jointly sponsored by the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids and the University of California-San Francisco, in collaboration with the Society of Cannabis Clinicians and is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from the Americans for Safe Access Foundation.

The objective of this CME is to present a balanced and expert overview on the clinical use of cannabinoids to an engaged audience of healthcare professionals. The lecture series will focus on the clinical and practical therapeutic potential of cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system.

Other voices at the conference include Major Neill Franklin, Executive Director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP),  along with SSDP’s Aaron Houston and DPA’s Bill Piper who will discuss how drug policy reformers can help lead moving forward.

The full agenda is below.


  • 7:00-9:00 am Registration
  • 9:00-10:00 A History of Medical Cannabis Research and the Endocannabinoid System featuring Sunil Kumar Aggarwal and Mark Ware. Overview of the history of medical cannabis research as well as the endocannabinoid system.
  • 10:00-10:30 Cannabis, The Exit Drug featuring Phillipe Lucas and Amanda Reiman
  • 10:30-11:00 Is Medical Marijuana a Thing of the Past? Featuring Wendy Chapkis.
  • 11:00-11:30 An Integral Frame for MMJ Organizations featuring Regina Nelson.
  • 11:30-1:00 pm The Science of Medical Cannabis featuring Donald Abrams of the IACM, Mark Ware of the CCIC, Jahan Marcu, Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, Michelle Sexton of the ASA Board, and Mary Lynn Mathre of Patients out of Time. Panelists will comment on presentations of the day, highlight scientific findings, and comment on future research directions in medical cannabis and cannabinoid medicine.
  • 1:00 pm-2:00 pm Lunch
  • 2:00 pm-6:00 pm Poster Exhibitions featuring work by Jahn Marcu, Sunil Kumar Aggarwal, Michelle Sexton and Robert Melamede
  • 2:00 pm-6:00 pm Continuing Medical Education Course (CME)
  • 2:00 pm-6:00 pm Continuing Legal Education Course (CLE)
  • 3:30 pm-5:30 pm ASA members meeting
  • 6:30 pm -8:30 pm ASA reception


  • All day registration
  • 9:00 am -9:30 am Welcome from Steph Sherer
  • 9:30 am-10:45 am Medical Cannabis Policy in the US: A History of Resistance. Featuring Valeria Coral of the Women’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana, Stephen Deangelo of Harborside, and Mary Lynn Mathers of Patients Out of Time. Covers current policy in the US state by state, in both medical marijuana states and non-medical marijuana states. Also covered will be an overview of the history of Medical Cannabis advocacy including a presentation on Bob Randall, pre-medical cannabis state laws, past victories and court support, and current medical cannabis litigation.
  • 10:45 am-11:00 am Break
  • 11:00 am-12:15pm International Medical Cannabis Policy featuring Phillipe Lucas, Boaz Wachtel, Tjalling Erkelens and George Pappas. Overview of current international medical cannabis policy, with a detailed report on Canada, Israel and the Netherlands.
  • 12:15-1:30 pm Lunch
  • 1:30 pm- 4:15 pm Stakeholder Meetings:
  • Patient advocacy featuring Steph Sherer of ASA, Darrell Rogers of the Alliance for Natural Health USA, and Bill McColl of Aids United. During this stakeholder meeting we will be hearing from other patient and consumer advocacy organizations about patient & consumer rules and the development of federal policy around those issues. Part of the discussion will be focused on developing federal legislative strategies for medical cannabis patients.
  • Drug Policy Reform featuring Neil Franklin of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, Aaron Houston of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance. Leaders in the drug policy reform movement will be leading a discussion about the role of drug policy reformers in the medical cannabis movement and about their role moving forward.
  • Medical Professionals featuring Mary Lynn Mathers of Patients Out of Time and David Bearman of the American Alliance for Medical Cannabis. This discussion will be centered on the issues medical professional face in the realm of medical cannabis as well as an overview of current medical cannabis projects by medical professionals.
  • Veterans featuring Michael Krawitz of Veterans for Medical Marijuana. This will be a discussion on the special needs for subcategories of medical cannabis patients that are also veterans. Part of this meeting will be focused on developing strategies on expanding protections for veterans.
  • Labor featuring Dan Rush of the United Food and Commercial Workers. This will be a discussion on labors role in the medical cannabis industry.  UFCW staff will be developing strategies regarding working within the medical cannabis industry.
  • Industry featuring Michael McGuffin from the Cannabis Committee of American Herbal Products Association. This stakeholder meeting will be hosted by the American Herbal Products Association’s (AHPA) Cannabis Committee.  The agenda for the committee meeting will include a discussion of the committee’s recommendations to regulators on industry standards, an overview of AHPA and projects moving forward.
  • 4:30 pm- 6:00 pm: Exciting Developments in Medical Cannabis Movement featuring Michelle Sexton, MD & ASA Board Member, Jill Limerourex of ASA, Michael McGuffin from the Cannabis Committee of American Herbal Products Association and Dan Rush of UFCW. 18 states and the District of Columbia have medical cannabis laws, and more states are continuing to follow in this direction. ASA would like to highlight some new special projects that will impact our work on the federal and state level.
  • 7:00 pm-8:00 pm VIP Reception
  • 8:00 pm-10:00 pm Awards Dinner


  • 10:00 am-12:00 am Stakeholder Presentations. Those who facilitated the stakeholder meetings will be presenting their discussions to the entire conference.
  • 12:00 pm-1:15 pm Lunch in Regional Break outs
  • 1:15 pm- 2:30 pm Training/Workshops 
  • Training: Strategic Messaging and Spokesperson Training featuring Kris Hermes of ASA. Workshop participants will be trained on becoming spokespeople on the issue of medical marijuana. If we expect to be heard and understood by mainstream media, we need to speak and communicate our message in such a way that it stands out among today’s tidal wave of information. Participants will learn the elements of a successful interview, how to effectively use sound bites, and how to tie these messages to our strategies and goals.
  • Workshop: Bringing Medical Cannabis Politics into the Mainstream featuring Jim Grieg an ASA, Robert Jacob, Mike Elliot (invited) and Lanny Swardlow (invited). This panel will discuss how to integrate mainstream politics into medical cannabis policy as well as offer an overview of the basic infrastructures in politics which includes PACs, democratic clubs, running for office, and getting medical cannabis champions elected.
  • Workshop: Fundraising for Grassroots featuring Hunter Holliman of ASA, Tony Bowles of SF ASA, and members of San Diego ASA. We all know that building and sustaining your organization or campaign take money. What are the best strategies when it comes to grassroots fundraising? Learn the basics of effective fundraising from experienced activists that you can start implementing immediately in your own community.
  • 2:30-2:45 Break
  • 2:45: 4:00 Training/Workshops
  • Training: Running an effective meeting; Facilitation and Consensus Building featuring Steph Sherer of ASA. One of the most overlooked skills in organizing is running effective meetings which allow individuals voices to be heard but that also accomplish objectives. This training will go over tried and true skills on successfully facilitating meetings, either in person or via conference calls, as well as running a consensus process during the meeting.
  • Workshop: Creating Campaigns for Initiatives and State Legislation featuring Matt Allen of The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance,  Don Duncan of ASA, Melissa Fults from AK ASA, and Rachel Kurtz(invited). Election Day and the day the legislature votes on a bill is the last day of what can take years to build. Hear from experienced advocates from around the country on building up state legislation and initiatives.
  • Workshop: Implementation and Regulations featuring Jill Lamourex of ASA, Tim Smale, and Mike Liszewski of ASA. Election Day and the day the legislature votes on a bill is the last day of what can take years to build. Hear from experienced advocates from around the country on building up state legislation and initiatives.
  • 4:00-4:15 Break
  • 4:15-5:30 Training/Workshops
  • Training: Citizen Lobbying featuring Caren Woodson of SF ASA.
  • Gathering Data in your Advocacy featuring Amanda Reiman of the Drug Policy Alliance. Presentation on assessing when better data is needed. Learn tips on developing surveys and gathering data, and the process for analysis for use in advocacy.
  • Utilizing Social Media in your Advocacy featuring Jonathan Bair, Talana Lattimer of ASA and Heather Holdridge of Planned Parenthood. Social Advocacy is the leading edge of online advocacy. New social media tools not only allow advocacy campaigns and activists to educate, engage and mobilize the public to participate in campaigns, but they also can be used to target policy makers, directly. This session will provide you with an extensive overview of the strategies and tactics that can turn Twitter, Facebook and other social media into tools for changing policy.
  • 5:45-6:30 Final Panel


  • 8:00 am -9:30 am Distribute lobbying materials and depart the Mayflower
  • 10:00 am-11:00 am Press Conference
  • 12:00 pm-1:00 pm Congressional Briefing
  • 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm Congressional Visits