ASA To Hold Patients’ Choice Medical Marijuana Competition


​​By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent
On October 27, 2011, the ever-vigilant group Americans for Safe Access, the nation’s largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists, lawyers and concerned citizens with the mission statement of promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic and research, filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging t
he Obama Administration’s recent crackdown on medical marijuana.
On the macro-level, this is what Americans for Safe Access (ASA) does. It protects the medical marijuana community, besides for being a true a medical cannabis grassroots organization. I would also describe it as a patient-driven think tank that has been influencing and shaping medical marijuana policies while at the same time educating a skeptical public of the medicinal properties of the plant. 

Dutch Crunch, from San Francisco Patient and Resource Center (SPARC), won third place for Indoor Organic at the 2010 competition.

​Then they do the “little stuff” too, like arranging transportation, food and information for 50 activists, getting them from San Francisco to Sacramento to defend our rights at the state’s capitol. 
Since 2002, ASA has been dedicated to meeting the needs of a much maligned subculture and giving a voice to those who are otherwise told to be silent.
Whether it is at Capitol Hill or in the streets, ASA is there.
Now it is payback time in a really good way.
On Saturday, November 12, there will be a fundraiser for Americans for Safe Access: The Patients’ Choice, San Francisco’s Fifth Annual Medical Marijuana Competition.

Caren Woodson, The Green Cross: “We don’t bring in celebrity judges”

Toke of the Town asked Caren Woodson, operations specialist at The Green Cross Dispensary in San Francisco, one of the event organizers, what makes this competition stand out from the other contests like, say, the High Times Cannabis Cup?
“The Patients’ Choice is unique because qualified medical cannabis patients from San Francisco and the greater Bay Area judge the competition and the proceeds help sustain our local ASA chapter. We don’t bring in celebrity judges and we offer a truly blind sampling of the strains patients are likely to find available at collectives in San Francisco over the next couple seasons,” Caren says and continues.
“To be clear, this is a fundraiser for the San Francisco Chapter of Americans for Safe Access (SF-ASA) organized via The Green Cross and sponsors including the Vapor Room, The Green Door, The Apothecarium, HopeNet, Medithive, SPARC, and Bhang Chocolates. The San Francisco chapter of Americans for Safe Access is the most active and prominent in the United States. We work at the local level to ensure proper implementation of local laws that protect and promote safe access to medical cannabis in San Francisco.”

The Green Door
Boss OG Kush, an indoor organic hybrid, took top honors at the 2010 competition.

​So how can we get in?
“This event is open only to qualified medical cannabis patients, age 18 and older, who purchase a Judges’ Pack or entered as a competitor. Judges’ packs are still available, but they are going fast! Judges are responsible for examining and tasting the products they find most appealing, compare with other available samples, and then choose their favorite pick for each category; medical cannabis, medical hashish, and medical edible. Judges’ packs are available for purchase and delivery now. Ballots are due by 2 p.m. on November 12, 2011, at the private awards ceremony to be hosted at Lounge 8four7 located at 847 Howard Street.”
If you can’t make it to the Patients’ Choice, how else can we support Americans for Safe Access?
“SF-ASA hosts meetings on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each and every month, from 7:30-9:00 p.m., at Lounge 8four7, where folks are encouraged to give what they can to our cash jar. For larger donations, please email us at [email protected]. And, to donate to the national organization, please visit Americans for Safe Access.”
What: The Patients’ Choice
          5th Annual Medical Cannabis Competition
When: Saturday, November 12, 2 p.m.-9 p.m.
Where: 847 Howard St., San Francisco
More info: (415) 648-4420

Photo: Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.