Safe and legal
Courtney Sheats makes sure patients know their rights
Oakland-based Americans for Safe Access was founded in 2002. Cannabis-patient advocate Courtney Sheats—who is a patient as well—works as the organization’s Sacramento representative. She’s a major force in ensuring that true patients can relieve their pain and suffering with high-quality and easily accessed cannabis in the Sacramento area.
Describe the state of the cannabis community in Sacto post-Proposition 19.
Americans for Safe Access took no position on Proposition 19 because it lies outside the scope of our focus and area of expertise. Even post-Prop. 19, the reality is that it has been 15 years since Prop. 215 passed, and we are still fighting for patients’ rights and to prevent local governments from adopting bans.
Why did you decide to become involved with ASA?
[T]o work on closing the divide between state and federal laws. Great progress has been made in California. However, patients are still facing issues with housing, employment, child custody, veteran and health-care services and traveling between states. ASA is working on pushing the Obama administration toward a sensible federal policy.
What is one thing would you like to see happen with dispensaries in 2011?
In the city, I anticipate a continued focus on our medical-marijuana community working together. Cannabis dispensaries are already legal under state law, so we need local governments in our surrounding areas to adopt ordinances that don’t create hardships for patients and providers.
If you could give patients any one word of advice, what would it be?
Know your rights and exercise your freedom of speech.
Has the city ordinance changed access for patients in the city? What would you like to see the city of Sacramento do next?
Over the past several years, we have gained a victory for the pre-moratorium dispensaries to remain open under the new city ordinance. With this victory, however, dispensaries now have high permitting costs associated with the licensing process. The high fees that the city is imposing could result in rising medicine costs for our patients or a smaller number of dispensaries, which may impact access. The city will need to keep the needs of the patients in mind when addressing future fees and raising taxes.
Does ASA hold local meetings or events? How can others become involved?
ASA meets on the first and third Tuesday of every month, 7 p.m., at Crusaders Hall, 320 Harris Avenue, Suite H, in Sacramento. … ASA peer counselors are also available to answer legal, medical and political questions, as well as conduct legal trainings and patient spokesperson trainings.