Current Affairs

Highlights from the 2019 ASA State of States Report

Written by Lydia Kariuki

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is a nonprofit organization in the cannabis sector with over 100,000 members in the United States. It was founded in 2002 by Steph Sherer with the vision to advocate for safe and legal access to medical cannabis in the US. It draws its membership from across the US and this includes clinicians, patients, professionals, and researchers.

What is the ASA State of States Report?

ASA releases an annual report on the state of medicinal cannabis across the US. The report surveys medical cannabis programs and analyzes how effectively they are being implemented. It draws comparisons between different states, critiques policies, and gives recommendations to improve the accessibility of medicinal cannabis. This report was first published by ASA in 2014. At that time, it only included 22 states.

The report is intended to act as a benchmark for policy makers who are involved in formulating medicinal cannabis laws. It’s not intended to serve as a “final report book,” for medicinal cannabis but, rather, it should point the sector in the right direction.

The 2019 ASA State of States Report Overview

This report provides an in-depth analysis of the medicinal cannabis programs across 47 states plus the District of Columbia. Generally, the report indicates that more patients have safe access to medicinal cannabis, which echoes one of the core goals of ASA. More states have also expanded their lists of “qualifying conditions”  for medicinal cannabis and formulated favorable policies and laws in this area.

From this report, ASA has cause to celebrate. You can check the full report via this link.

Report Highlights

  1. 0 Deaths related to medicinal cannabis
  2. 47 States have legalized medicinal cannabis
  3. Over 3 Million patients have been approved for medical cannabis
  4. More than 95 medical conditions have been approved for medical cannabis treatment as “qualifying conditions”
  5. 25% Reduction in opiate related deaths in states that have legalized medicinal cannabis
  6. So far, over 30,000 studies on the endocannabinoid system (ECS) have been conducted and the results published
  7. 93% of Americans are in full support of the legalization of medicinal cannabis
  8. At least 103 cannabinoids in cannabis have been identified
  9. There were 70,237 deaths related to prescription drug overuse in the US in 2017
  10. 126 million Americans suffer from chronic pain

The 2019 ASA State of States also covers each state’s medical cannabis program in detail and assigns a letter grade (A-F) based on patient rights, access to medicine, ease of navigation, and functionality. Highlights included:

  1. Illinois and Oregon earned an A-, the first “A” grades ever issued.
  2. California and New York responded the best to the opioid epidemic.
  3. West Virginia failed its second year due to political and administrative delaying.
  4. States with low-THC/CBD-only medical programs failed.
  5. Affordability remains a key issue for patients.

ASA, together with other partners, have worked hard to ensure that patients across the US have safe access to medicinal cannabis. The highlights listed above are proof of their relentless efforts.

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Lydia Kariuki

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