One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many sick people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them. For many seriously ill 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 huge variety of serious medical conditions including cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma, and is often an effective alternative to synthetic painkillers.
Medical Marijuana Access and Research
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws legalizing the use and production of medical marijuana for qualifying patients under state law. However, the medical use of marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and patients in the remaining states are without any legal access at all. Even in states where medical marijuana laws exist, patients and providers are vulnerable to arrest and interference from federal law enforcement.
Marijuana prohibition has also thwarted research within the United States to uncover the best and most effective uses for marijuana as a medicine, making efforts to reform medical marijuana laws particularly difficult.
DPA played a primary role in the passage of medical marijuana laws in nine states, starting with California’s Proposition 215
in 1996. We seek to implement medical marijuana programs in additional states and to expand existing programs to better protect patients’ rights and to improve patient access to their medicine.
The Drug Policy Alliance is committed to increasing the number of states with medical marijuana laws, supporting and improving existing state medical marijuana programs, protecting medical marijuana patients, and ending the federal ban on medical marijuana
so that all patients within the United States have safe access to quality medicine and research into marijuana’s medicinal benefits can move forward.
Congress Passed One-Year Amendment in December Prohibiting Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws; Members of both Parties Sought to Stop Prosecutions and Let States Set Their Own Medical Marijuana Policies
Drug Policy Alliance Calls on President Obama to Rein in Out-of-Control Prosecutors
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told the Los Angeles Times that a bi-partisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws doesn't prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property. The statement comes as the agency continues to target people who are complying with their state medical marijuana law.
Advocates: Final Regulations to Leave Thousands of Patients to Suffer Needlessly
Abandoned by Cuomo Administration, Critically Ill Patient and Families Vow to Return to the Legislature to Fix New York's Broken Medical Marijuana Program
New York – Last night the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released the final regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. The announcement followed a period of public comment in which patients, families, experts, and industry professionals submitted more than a thousand letters and emails critiquing the proposed regulations for being too restrictive and unworkable. In response to this incredible level of input from the public and private industry, the Department of Health made absolutely no substantive changes to the regulations.
Bill Follows Historic Introduction of the CARERS Act by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Support for Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies without Federal Interference Growing Rapidly in Congress
WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) have introduced the House companion to a groundbreaking bill legalizing marijuana for medical use that was introduced in the Senate two weeks ago by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) co-sponsored the bill soon after.
Five Local Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Will Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana
New York City – On Sunday, March 15, at 2:00 PM, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) will join five New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution. Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.
First-Ever Bill in U.S. Senate to Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use
Teleconference at 3pm EST with Patients and Advocates to discuss CARERS Act
Today, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation to legalize marijuana for medical use. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States - CARERS - Act is the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use and the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress. The CARERS Act will do the following:
First-Ever Bill in U.S. Senate To Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use
Tuesday: Senate Press Conference @12:30 pm and Drug Policy Alliance Teleconference @ 3 pm Will Reveal Details
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 10, at 12:30pm EST, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will host a press conference to announce sweeping bipartisan legislation that will end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and allow patients, doctors and businesses in states with medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of prosecution.
Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee, Heads to Senate Floor Next Week
Statement from Ethan Nadelmann: "If medical marijuana can advance in Utah ... it can advance anywhere in the U.S."
Utah is the latest 'red' state to consider medical marijuana. Yesterday, Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.
Participants Cite Several Problems with Draft Regulations, Including Barriers for Low Income Patients
New York – Today, elected officials, patients, and more than twenty community groups gathered at Hostos Community College in the Bronx to discuss the proposed regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. At the end of December, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released more than a hundred pages of draft regulations outlining many features of the proposed program.
Forum Will Address Concerns with Proposed Regulations, Including Access for Low Income Patients
New York – Tuesday, February 3rd, patients, community members, providers and elected officials will join together to discuss New York’s medical marijuana law and provide community feedback on the State’s recently introduced draft regulations that will shape New York’s medical marijuana program. The event is being held at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the poorest county in the state, where providers have raised significant concerns that the medical marijuana program could leave low income communities behind.
Friday: One Week After Death of Eight Year Old Donella Nocero, Patients and Caregivers Rally Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office to Demand Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana
Critically Ill Patients and Their Families Ask Cuomo to Grant Their Holiday Wish -- Access to Lifesaving Medication Before More Children Die
New York – Today, the NY Department of Health released the draft regulations for the medical marijuana program. While full analysis of the regulations is still underway, an initial review suggests New York will be one of the more restrictive programs in the country, which could inhibit patients from obtaining the relief they need. For instance, the draft regulations restrict the number of brands of medical marijuana to five initially without any clear rationale.