Scientists, patients, doctors, advocates, lawyers, policymakers unite to advance public health policy reforms
The medical marijuana advocacy group, Americans for Safe Access (ASA), announced on Thursday its National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference, “Bridging the Gap Between Public & Policy,” to be held in Washington, D.C. on February 22-25, 2013.
The conference will highlight medical and legal experts, members of Congress and other policymakers, as well as a wide array of workshops and panels focusing on scientific research, strategic planning, and skills building. On Monday, February 25, ASA will host a press conference, followed by a lobby day with hundreds of patient advocates meeting their Members of Congress and demanding change.
“We’re at a pivotal moment in the history of medical marijuana,” said ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer. “It is now more important than ever for us to come together to better educate ourselves and strategize on changing public policy in order to meet the real needs of medical marijuana patients across the country.
“However, this conference is not just for patients and their advocates, it’s also for lawyers, doctors, policymakers, and key stakeholders in the effort to establish medical marijuana as one of the public health issues of our time,” Sherer said.
The opening day of the conference, Friday, February 22, will be dedicated solely to scientific research on the medical efficacy of marijuana. Co-sponsored by Patients Out of Time, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the American Alliance of Medical Cannabis, the day will feature medical marijuana researchers from around the world, presenting on the most recent advancements in the field.
At 2 pm on Friday, the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids and the University of California-San Francisco, in collaboration with the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, will host “Cannabis in Medicine: A Primer for Health Care Professionals,” a Continuing Medical Education (CME). The accredited CME course is an overview of the clinical use of cannabis, providing health care professionals with up-to-date clinical information on the therapeutic benefits of cannabis and the endocannabinoid system.
Also on Friday, ASA will co-host a Continuing Legal Education (CLE) course with the National Lawyers Guild. The four-hour seminar from 2-6 pm will focus on medical marijuana law in the states of California, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, as well as on issues of federalism.
The primary areas of law to be discussed include the rights of patients, in both criminal and civil contexts, including their impact on employment, housing, and child custody. The CLE will also address issues such as the effort to reclassify marijuana for medical use, and the federal government’s expansive response to medical marijuana laws, such as raids, criminal prosecutions, and forfeiture actions.
On Saturday and Sunday, ASA will be holding panels and workshops on movement building and development, under the banner “Harnessing our Power for Victory,” bringing together patients, doctors, labor, industry, drug policy reformers, environmentalists, and veterans. During the two days of strategic planning and skill building, participants will hear from various experts on international and U.S. policy, as well as from medical marijuana stakeholders.
In addition to discussing the movement’s history and what to consider when moving forward, panelists and workshop facilitators will lead sessions in citizen lobbying, speaking to the media, grassroots fundraising, and much more.
ASA will host a dinner and awards ceremony on Saturday evening from 7-10 pm.
Additional sponsors of the conference include the American Herbal Products Association, the United Food and Commercial Workers, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), Veterans for Medical Marijuana Access, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and Dr. Bronner’s.
What: National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference: “Bridging the Gap Between Public & Policy”
When: February 22 thru February 25
Where: The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel, 1127 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, D.C.
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