Fact Sheet

Medical Marijuana (English/Spanish)

June 1, 2016

One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many seriously ill people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them. Twenty-four states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have passed laws legalizing the use of marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. While state medical marijuana programs differ from one another in significant ways, most are tightly controlled programs regulated by the state departments of public health.

Why is Marijuana Decriminalization Not Enough? (English/Spanish)

February 10, 2016

Decriminalization of marijuana possession is a necessary first step toward a more comprehensive reform of the drug prohibition regime. However decriminalization alone does not address many of the greatest harms of prohibition – such as high levels of crime, corruption and violence, massive illicit markets and the harmful health consequences of drugs produced in the absence of regulatory oversight.

Just a Slap on the Wrist? The Life-Changing Consequences of a Marijuana Arrest (English/Spanish)

February 10, 2016

Marijuana arrests are the engine driving the U.S. war on drugs. In 2014, there were 700,993 marijuana arrests in the U.S. – roughly 45 percent of all drug arrests. The overwhelming majority (88 percent) of these arrests were for simple possession, not sale or manufacture. Black and Latino people are arrested at vastly disproportionate rates, even though white people use and sell marijuana at similar rates. A marijuana arrest is no small matter – the arrest creates a permanent criminal record that can easily be found by employers, landlords, schools, credit agencies and banks.

Faces of Medical Marijuana

January 31, 2013

For many people, medical marijuana is the only medicine that relieves their pain and suffering, or treats symptoms of their medical condition, without debilitating side effects. Marijuana has been shown to alleviate symptoms of a broad variety of serious medical conditions including cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma, and is often an effective alternative to synthetic painkillers. These are the stories of people who have experienced the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana in their own lives.

Sterile Syringe Access (English/Spanish)

February 19, 2014

Increasing sterile syringe access through syringe exchange programs and non-prescription pharmacy sales is essential to reducing syringe sharing among injection drug users and decreasing rates of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C transmission. Despite the benefits of these life-saving programs, legal and bureaucratic barriers still prevent people who inject drugs from accessing clean syringes.

Supervised Injection Facilities (English/Spanish)

February 10, 2016

Supervised injection facilities (SIFs) are controlled health care settings where people can more safely inject drugs under clinical supervision and receive health care, counseling and referrals to health and social services, including drug treatment. There is overwhelming evidence that SIFs are effective in reducing new HIV infections, overdose deaths and public nuisance – and that they do not increase drug use or criminal activity. There are currently about 100 such facilities operating in more than 65 cities around the world in nine countries – but none in the U.S.

The Cost of a Slow Learning Curve

February 19, 2014

The U.S. refuses to adopt an evidence-based HIV/AIDS prevention strategy, costing us hundreds of thousands of lives and hundreds of millions of dollars. However, in countries where addiction is treated as a health issue, the fight against HIV/AIDS is being won. Newly diagnosed HIV infections in many countries have been nearly eliminated among people who use drugs, just as mother-to-child transmission of HIV has been eliminated in countries that make medicines for pregnant women accessible.

The Drug War: Fueling the HIV/AIDS Pandemic

February 19, 2014

The global war on drugs is severely jeopardizing the fight against AIDS. Criminalizing drug use drives the HIV pandemic not just among people who use drugs – but also among their families and communities.

Marijuana Arrests in NY: Fiscally Irresponsible, Racially Biased and Unconstitutional

New York’s marijuana arrest crusade undermines fiscal responsibility, racial equity and our constitutional rights.

Opioid Overdose: Addressing a National Crisis of Preventable Deaths

February 10, 2016

Overdose prevention efforts around the nation demonstrate the immense value and efficacy of a public health and safety approach to the problem of drug misuse in society. Proven strategies are available to reduce the harms associated with drug use, treat dependence and addiction, improve immediate overdose responses, enhance public safety and prevent fatalities.

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