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Medical Cannabis Certification at Emerald Cup

MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: December 9, 2016

Patient Focused Certification

A project of Americans for Safe Access

Contact:  Jahan Marcu (215) 828-9183

Medical Cannabis Certification at Emerald Cup

Americans for Safe Access Attends Emerald Cup to Demonstrate and Discuss Patient Focused Certification for Medical Cannabis Products with ASA’s Chief Scientific Officer

What: PFC certification for Medical Cannabis, product label demo and panel discussion
Who: Jahan Marcu, Ph.D – Patient Focused Certification, Americans for Safe Access – Finely Hall Booth #8

Kristin Nevedal – Humboldt’s Finest, Patient Focused Certification – Little Cow Palace Booth# p53/54

When: Saturday December 10th

KRAFT STAGE – CULTIVATION

1:00-2:15pm – Certifying Your Farm: The Importance in 2017

FINLEY STAGE – SCIENCE AND COMPLIANCE

2:45-4:00pm – Terpenes: Creating the New Nomenclature for Cannabis

Where: Finley Hall Booth #8

Sonoma County Fairgrounds

1350 Bennett Valley Road

Santa Rosa, CA 95404

http://theemeraldcup.com/faqs

Why: As the medical cannabis industry develops, Patient Focused Certification (PFC) will be central to standardize dosage and meet applicable health and safety regulations. PFC is the only certification developed through the APHA standards and with state government contracts.

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Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research, with  over 100,000 active members in 50 states . ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and caregivers.

Maine Medical Cannabis Business Achieves National Certification

Auburn, ME – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is pleased to announce that Remedy Compassion Centerimage002 of Auburn, Maine has been certified for cultivation, manufacturing, and distribution of medical cannabis products under ASA’s Patient Focused Certification(PFC) program. PFC is a project of ASA, and the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical cannabis industry based on quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and theAmerican Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP).

The AHP Cannabis Monograph and the AHPA cannabis guidelines offer the most comprehensive regulatory and product safety guidance as well as Best Business Practices for the production of cannabis and cannabis products. Since the release of AHPA’s guidelines in 2012 and the Cannabis Monograph in 2013, components of these guidance documents have been included in several states’ regulations. Recently, ASA announced a joint collaboration with the American Association of Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) to expand the PFC program by offering a new accreditation program based on the requirements of both ISO/IEC 17025 and the PFC program.

“This tremendous achievement demonstrates Remedy Compassion Center’s commitment to producing and distributing cannabis medicines of the highest quality, purity, and safety for their patients”, said Kristin Nevedal, PFC Program Director. “Remedy Compassion Center has become a model for other cannabis operations and regulators in Maine,” added Nevedal.

Remedy Compassion Center is the first business to be awarded certification for Cultivation, Manufacturing, and Dispensing in the country and is the first New England medical cannabis operation to engage in the PFC program.  Maine’s overall product safety rating in ASA’s 2016 State of the States Report was an ‘F’, andRemedy Compassion Center has made great strides towards improving the state’s rating by implementing the best practices outlined under PFC certification and their commitment to producing high quality cannabis products.

“Going through the process of PFC certification has brought numerous benefits to our business and our patient consumers,” said Tim Smale, Owner and Director ofRemedy Compassion Center.  “The PFC program has helped us attain the highest levels of quality and consistency in our products, which has given caregivers and practitioners confidence in recommending cannabis therapies.  As a result, our business has increased by 40% over the past year.  The program has also saved us potentially thousands of dollars by ensuring we were prepared for regulatory inspections,” added Smale.

Remedy Compassion Center joins a growing list of PFC certified cannabis businesses since the program was officially launched in 2015, including Harvest of Tempe in Arizona, Sonoma Lab Works, Berkeley Patients Group, Humboldt Green Farms, Humboldt Hills Farms and Peace in Medicine in California, New Mexicann in New Mexico, and The Werc Shop and Dockside Co-op in Washington.

Further information:

Remedy Compassion Center

Patient Focused Certification

PFC Brochure

AHPA Guidelines

AHP Cannabis Monograph (Abridged version)

PFC/A2LA Press Release

PFC Certification Training Event – July 11-15

Patient Advocacy Group Partners with Internationally-Recognized Accreditation Body

Washington, DC – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA) are excited to announce a collaboration to develop a cannabis specific laboratory accreditation program based upon the requirements of ISO/IEC 17025 and ASA’ s Patient Focused Certification (PFC) Program.  This joint accreditation program will be recognized by the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) by virtue of A2LA’ s status as an ILAC Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) signatory for the accreditation of laboratories to ISO/IEC 17025. This accreditation program will offer the highest level of recognition and provide the most value to the laboratory and users of the products tested.

“A2LA is pleased to partner with ASA to offer a cannabis testing laboratory accreditation program to ISO/IEC 17025 that also includes the additional laboratory requirements from ASA’s Patient Focused Certification Program”, said Roger M. Brauninger, Biosafety Program Manager for A2LA.  “We believe that, by meeting these combined criteria, laboratories will be able to provide confidence to patients as well as regulators that their test results on these products are consistent, accurate, reliable and legally defensible.”

This program affirms laboratory operations are compliant with state and local regulations and helps cannabis testing laboratories adhere to the same standards followed by the laboratories used and inspected by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) as well as many other regulatory agencies.  This accreditation program comes at an opportune time when many states are requiring testing laboratories to meet ISO/IEC 17025 standards as well as state requirements.

“We are very excited to see the PFC program join the ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation efforts to help fully establish a robust and reliable cannabis testing foundation”, said Jeffrey Raber, CEO of The Werc Shop, a PFC-certified cannabis testing laboratory.  “It is a great testament to ASA’s commitment to quality in their PFC program by partnering with a world-renowned accrediting body to set a new standard for cannabis testing labs.”

For patients, this means the highest level of product safety is being ensured by adherence to an internationally-recognized program based on existing standards and best practices.  These guidelines for cannabis operations were issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, an industry stakeholder panel, and have already been adopted by 16 states.

“This joint accreditation program builds on the solid foundation of the PFC certification standards and will provide assurance that all regulatory requirements are being met by the laboratory, and that 3rd party inspectors, auditors, and assessors are receiving proper training”, added Kristin Nevedal, ASA’s PFC Program Director.

The two non-profit organizations will offer their first joint training course at A2LA’s headquarters in Maryland on July 11-15th.  During this course, participants will receive training on PFC’s national standards for cultivating, manufacturing, dispensing, and laboratory testing of cannabis and cannabis products, combined with ISO/IEC 17025 training.

Further information:

National Medical Cannabis Advocacy Group Partners with Leading Global Law Firm

(New York) – Orrick, a leading global law firm, is partnering with Americans for Safe Access’ Patients’ Rights Project to provide pro bono support to medical cannabis patients, many if not most of whom are low-income, to navigate the often confusing legal landscape of medical cannabis laws. Forty-one states, DC, Puerto Rico, and Guam all have some type of medical cannabis law today.  Each law is unique and presents varying challenges for patients trying to obtain treatment in these often complex programs. Once laws are passed, medical cannabis patients and providers are often unclear about the specifics of the laws, which leaves them vulnerable to arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. Furthermore, implementation of these programs has often required litigation. The services provided by this partnership will help fill a growing void for this type of resource.

Founded in 2002, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the nation’s largest medical cannabis patient advocacy organization.  For over a decade, ASA has offered educational tools for medical cannabis stakeholders and has worked through legislative advocacy and the court system to broaden patients’ rights to access medical cannabis. ASA identifies impact litigation through data gathered by offering medical cannabis patients legal support and cooperation with pro bono attorneys, including but not limited to, public defender offices. This impact litigation has helped protect and expand patients’ rights and uphold the validity of state medical cannabis programs.

“We are honored to be working with Orrick on this important project. With over 2 million medical cannabis patients nation-wide and laws evolving on a daily basis, this partnership means we can keep up with the demand on the Patient’s Rights Project” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of ASA.

The project includes creation and distribution of state-by-state legal manuals for patients and guides for public defenders, defending medical cannabis patients. In the fall, Orrick will be coordinating attorneys to support ASA’s legal hotline as well. The hotline will not only serve individual patients but will also help monitor implementation of state medical cannabis programs.

Founded in San Francisco a century and a half ago, Orrick today is named by Law360 as one of the “Global 20” leading firms. Their platform offers clients a distinctive combination of local insight and global reach across 25 offices. Orrick is also well known for its sustained pro bono commitment. Their pro bono program has been praised for the dedication of its lawyers to supporting diverse causes with tangible results—including high-profile immigration disputes, civil rights litigation, advocacy to solve systemic problems and grassroots global development through an innovative impact finance initiative. The firm’s commitment to serving its communities worldwide is underscored by the full participation of lawyers around the firm on important matters for low-income clients.

“We are very excited to start a pro bono relationship with such a dynamic nonprofit, as Americans for Safe Access. They offer first-rate advocacy in ensuring that low-income patients with a medical need for cannabis have the legal and other necessary support to address the challenges faced by their medical conditions and the use of a drug that makes life better for these patients,” said Rene Kathawala, Orrick’s firm-wide pro bono counsel.

Over the last fourteen years, ASA has helped thousands of patients with legal support through their toll-free patient hotline, online interactive FAQ, and one-on-one visits with patients and other stakeholders. Changing laws have reduced, but not eliminated, criminal sanctions and prosecutions of legal medical cannabis patients and others. However, patients still face pervasive discrimination in employment, access to health care, housing, and parental rights. They also face inappropriate harassment and prosecution.

“ASA anticipates that the support provided by Orrick will be increasingly significant as medical cannabis laws continue to be adopted, amended, and implemented nationwide” continued Sherer. “This type of professional help and capacity is needed to protect patients and providers, identify opportunities to expand their rights, and inform policymakers about the challenges that remain.”

State Officials and Experts Applaud New Report that Evaluates Medical Marijuana Programs Nation-wide

(Washington, D.C.) – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued “Medical Marijuana Access in the US: A Patient-Focused Analysis of the Patchwork of State Laws,” today. The annual report evaluates the array of differing state medical cannabis programs across the country from a perspective often overlooked in policy debates: the patients’ and provides policy makers with model legislation and regulations. With dozens of states already seeing legislative and regulatory proposals in 2016, this  groundbreaking report will provide state lawmakers with timely tools they need to improve their medical cannabis programs to truly meet the needs of the patients they are meant to serve.

Eighty-one percent  of Americans favor the legalization of medical marijuana according to a May 7, 2015, Harris Poll.  This broad support has led to unprecedented progress in state medical marijuana programs in 2015.  Nineteen states introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana during the year. In addition, many of the twenty three states with current medical marijuana laws passed legislation to expand or improve their programs in 2015, including New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Connecticut, Oregon, California, Washington, Maryland, Hawaii, Illinois, Delaware, and the District of Columbia. Other states, like Nevada and Vermont, expanded and improved their programs through new regulations.

PFC to Work with Regulators to Ensure Highest Level of Industry Compliance

Baltimore, MD – Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has been selected to provide training for compliance inspectors operating under the authority of the Natalie M. LaPrade Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. The auditors are charged with ensuring members of the state’s new medical cannabis industry comply with all applicable regulations, which were finalized by the Commission in August. 

In addition to developing its own rigorous compliance protocols, Maryland has adopted the American Herbal Product Association’s (AHPA) Recommendations to Regulators in the areas of: cultivation, distribution and manufacturing. AHPA’s guidelines offer seed-to-consumption product safety and quality control measures that will ensure rigid oversight of the state’s medical cannabis industry.

Auditor training will be offered through the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, a project of ASA with extensive experience training members of the cannabis industry to meet strict regulatory compliance guidelines. PFC has trained thousands of employees of the medical cannabis industry and is currently under contract with the District of Columbia to train all medical cannabis staff to achieve comprehensive regulatory compliance.

Industry Leaders Advocate Best Practices for Regulation, Labeling & Manufacturing of Medicinal Cannabis & Hemp Products

Washington, DC — The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Cannabis Committee, in coordination with Americans for Safe Access (ASA), and the Hemp Industries Association (HIA), announces the release of a joint statement advocating for implementation of best practices for the regulation of consumable, topical, and inhalant cannabis and hemp-derived products to ensure quality and consumer safety.  These best practices were developed with the input of numerous industry experts and establish common language and defined terms for the transparent and accurate labeling of these products to support responsible commerce and informed use of the cannabis plant.

AHPA, ASA and HIA will be promoting these best practices at the 3rd Annual National Medical Cannabis Unity Conference being held March 27-31, in Washington, DC.

Medical Marijuana Businesses Seek Regulatory Compliance in California Despite Failure by Legislature to Adopt Statewide Policy

Redway & Laytonville, CA — Multiple medical marijuana businesses from northern California — Sonoma Lab Works and Peace in Medicine, with dispensaries in Sebastopol and Santa Rosa — were certified earlier this month by Patient Focused Certification (PFC), a nationwide program that verifies the quality and reliability of products sold to patients, as well as quality control standards, calibration, and evaluation processes for labs that test medical marijuana products.

PFC is a project of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical marijuana industry based on new quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP). ASA formed PFC in part to fill the vacuum left by states like California, which have so far failed to adopt statewide regulations aimed at protecting patients.

Increased Certification of Medical Marijuana Businesses in Washington State Ensure Quality & Safety for Patients

Seattle, WA — Two Washington State-based laboratories — The Werc Shop and Phytalab — have recently been certified under a nationwide program that verifies quality control standards, calibration, and evaluation processes for labs that test medical marijuana products. These certificates were awarded by the Patient Focused Certification (PFC) program, which also certifies the quality and reliability of products sold at licensed medical marijuana businesses.

The Werc Shop and Phytalab test medical and recreational marijuana products produced, manufactured, and sold throughout Washington State. PFC is a project of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and the only nonprofit, third-party certification for the medical marijuana industry based on new quality standards issued by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia (AHP).

New Medical Marijuana Manufacturing Guidelines Issued by National Herbal Medicine Industry Group

Washington, D.C. — The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) released its long-awaitedmedical marijuana manufacturing guidelines today, completing its compendium of industry standards which include regulatory recommendations for cannabis from seed to sale. The AHPA manufacturing guidelines come as licensed Colorado business “At Home Baked” sees the country’s first medical marijuana product recall.

A new nationwide program called Patient Focused Certification (PFC), a project of Americans for Safe Access (ASA), aims to bring greater standardization to the medical marijuana industry. The PFC program uses the recently completed AHPA guidelines in combination with standards set byAmerican Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) for the plant’s identity, purity, quality and botanical properties. Together, these standards have the means to bring greater accountability to the industry and increased safety for patients.