Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

Oakland, California
Logo for Americans for Safe Access (ASA)

About this Organization

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has a mission to ensure safe and legal access to cannabis (marijuana) for therapeutic uses and research. ASA works with our grassroots base of over 50,000 members to effect change using public education and direct advocacy at the local, state, and federal level.

ASA focuses its efforts on training and educating patients, advocates, health care professionals and other stakeholders. On top of that, Americans for Safe Access also provides direct legal support and uses impact litigation to protect and expand patients’ rights.


Don Duncan
California Director
Don Duncan is the California Director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). As such, he is coordinating the grassroots and grasstops campaign to fully implement the states medical cannabis laws, respond to federal interference, and build a broader and more powerful coalition for medical cannabis in California. Mr. Duncan was instrumental in galvanizing grassroots resistance to federal raids and in seeding local self-regulatory alliances for medical cannabis providers statewide. He has worked closely with elected officials, law enforcement, collective operators, and community members in local implementation efforts in several California cities and counties, and is currently working with lawmakers in …
Joe Elford
Chief Counsel
Joe Elford is the Chief Counsel for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). After graduating from Yale Law School in 1996, Joe served as a law clerk for the Honorable Vaughn Walker of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. In 2003, he assisted in the defense of Edward Rosenthal, and successfully litigated his appeal. After joining ASA, Joe compelled the California Highway Patrol to revise its policy regarding the seizure of medical marijuana from qualified patients through a civil action in 2005, and later established through a published decision in Garden Grove v. Superior Court that …
Kris Hermes
Media Specialist
Kris Hermes is the Media Specialist for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Kris Hermes brings nearly 30 years of social justice activism experience to the fight for safe access to medical marijuana. He has worked in various cities around the U.S. generating media and mobilizing people to effect change in federal and state policy on issues involving hunger, poverty, criminal justice, and access to health care. Before joining ASA, he dedicated much of his time to legal activism, helping support those arrested during mass demonstrations and acts of civil disobedience. Previously as ASA’s Legal Campaign Director, Kris and the legal …
William Dolphin
Managing Editor
William Dolphin is the Managing Editor for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). William Dolphin is responsible for ASA’s newsletters and other print publications, such as the booklets on treating specific conditions, state legal manuals, and activist training materials. He has been part of ASA’s communications team since 2003, when he joined the organization after contributing to a media relations campaign for author Ed Rosenthal’s landmark federal trial that generated coverage by the New York Times and major networks. His work as a writer and editor has ranged from think tanks and city governments to universities and publishers, and he has …
Mike Liszewski
Policy Director
Mike Liszewski is the Policy Director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). He spent his early career as a community organizer for Banner Neighborhoods in southeast Baltimore, MD, forming after-school reading, art, sports and employment programs for elementary and middle school-aged youth. As a law student, he helped lead a successful lobbying campaign that defeated an ill-conceived “gang injunction” bill, and clerked in DC Council Committee on Health as it was considering B18-622, the District’s medical cannabis law. Mike served as a student member of SSDP’s Board of Directors (2010-2012) and the ACLU-NCA (2010-2011). Shortly before joining ASA’s staff, he …
Talana Lattimer
Communications Director
Talana Lattimer is the Communications Director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Talana builds social advocacy campaigns that leverage digital media and marketing communications to impact policy initiatives. Before joining ASA, Talana worked for the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), where is lead the National office’s digital practices. Talana worked to develop and execute social media strategies and multimedia projects where is she specialized in customizing content for the Web, and viral interactive media. She has served as a media trainer and public speaker for various social change organizations. Prior to ACTE, Talana worked on media and communications …
Jill Lamoureux
Patient-Focused Program Director
Jill Lamoureux is the Patient-Focused Program Director for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). Jill’s background is in toll road operations and municipal bond finance; she received an MBA from the University of Denver in 1999. Jill has been a leader in Colorado’s medical marijuana industry since 2008 when she and her husband began one of the state’s most respected multi-location dispensary operations. She is a founding member of and served as the first woman Chairman of the National Cannabis Industry Association. Jill has presented on medical marijuana business topics and has taught CLE courses on rules and regulations nationally and …
Hunter Holliman
Operations Manager
Hunter Holliman is the Operations Manager for Americans for Safe Access (ASA). After completing his Masters in Human Rights, Hunter came to ASA through his involvement with the San Francisco Chapter. Having been a patient in California for nearly a decade, he also has a background in dispensary work and served on the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Task Force. Hunter relocated to Washington, DC in late 2012 to work as ASA’s National Field Coordinator. Hunter is committed to ASA’s efforts toward creating a more compassionate, sustainable drug policy, and he is proud to be a member of the country’s leading …
Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Steph Sherer is the Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). She is a medical marijuana patient with over 11 years experience in the non-profit sector since the inception of ASA in 2002. Responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of Ms. Sherer include event planning, consulting, fund development, public relations, and project management. Particular issues that she has tackled encompasses community development, education, social justice, human rights, peace, social change, and youth programs. Recognized for her skill as an activist and a spokesperson, Steph has received a number of awards, including the 2003 San Diego Peacemaker of the Year.

In The News

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November 30, 2013

Educational Opportunities Within The Cannabis Industry
Cannabis Education Is A Budding Aspect Of The Industry It’s no secret that specialized education can be a great way to get in at the ground level of any industry. The rapidly-growing cannabis industry is no different. “More and more cannabis education opportunities are presenting themselves.” Founded in 2007, Oaksterdam University has dominated the cannabis education market for years. In turn, an impressive number of industry leaders have endured the Oakland-based college’s curriculum before beginning their career. Of course, it would be impossible for one school to keep up with the demand for …
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March 08, 2013

California High Court Ruling Could Have Major Impact On Access To Medical Marijuana
Advocates on both sides of the debate are watching closely to see which way state Supreme Court justices will lean in an effort to clear the air about medical marijuana dispensaries. Since 1996, when California voters enacted the Compassionate Use Act (Proposition 215), the legal use of medical marijuana has prompted impassioned discussion among those for and against the distribution and sale of medical cannabis. The act provides patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation an avenue through which to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. The question has always been, and continues to be, how to best create an …
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March 07, 2013

San Diego Mayor, Bob Filner, Leads The Fight Against Federal Interference In The MMJ Industry
Newly elected mayor of San Diego, Bob Filner has been working rigorously to help protect and promote the medical marijuana industry. For San Diegans, this issue has never been more crucial due to recent police raids and legal action taken against hundreds of local medical marijuana dispensaries. Said raids on these medicinal marijuana dispensaries have resulted in the loss of more than a thousand jobs, and are locally viewed as a financial and ethical strain on the city. An ordinance has been proposed in Council that could bring the medical marijuana industry back to life in San Diego. With mounting …
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January 31, 2013

How to Become a Valid Medical Marijuana Patient in California
Updated (August 8, 2018) – Several laws were recently changed that directly impacted California’s Medical Marijuana Program. Click here to learn more. — How Do I Get Medical Marijuana? The laws that outline how to become a medical marijuana patient vary by state. In California, Proposition 215 allows medical use of cannabis for qualified patients. Like most states where medical marijuana is legal, to be considered a patient you must obtain a valid doctor’s recommendation. Furthermore, some states request you apply to a state medical marijuana program and receive a medical marijuana identification card, …

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