Medical Marijuana

One of the most egregious outcomes of marijuana prohibition is that many sick people cannot legally access the medicine that works best for them. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is committed to legalizing marijuana at the state and federal levels and improving medical marijuana programs to better protect patients’ rights and access to medicine.

Current Medical Marijuana Laws in the U.S.

2016 Initiative Results

Election Day was a watershed moment for the movement to end marijuana prohibition — no other reform was approved by so many citizens on so many ballots this year. Legalization initiatives prevailed in four out of five states, and medical marijuana initiatives prevailed in all four states.

But the prospect of Donald Trump as our next president is profoundly troubling. While Trump has repeatedly pledged to respect state marijuana laws, his rhetoric on broader criminal justice issues has been largely unfriendly. 

Read more about the impact of the 2016 election on our blog.

Take Action

The CARERS Act is the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to let states legalize marijuana for medical use. Tell your Senators to legalize medical marijuana nationwide!

Why Should We Legalize?

Provide effective medicine
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.

Advance research
Marijuana prohibition has thwarted research within the United States to uncover the best and most effective uses for marijuana as a medicine. Legalization would allow research into marijuana’s medical benefits to move forward.

Featured Resources

Medical Marijuana
Marijuana Facts
Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?
Marijuana Concentrates
The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science

NM Health Secretary Ignores Recommendations of Medical Experts, Denies Adding Opioid Use Disorder and Alzheimer's Disease for Medical Cannabis

Santa Fe, NM – Yesterday afternoon the Secretary of Health denied the recommendation of the Medical Advisory Board to add opioid use disorder as a qualifying condition for medical cannabis in New Mexico. The Secretary’s decision flies in the face of the overwhelming support of the Medical Cannabis Advisory Board, which recommended approving both conditions when the petitions were presented in Fall 2016. The board is a group of expert practitioners who are appointed by the Governor and are tasked with review and evaluation of conditions for the NM medical cannabis program.


Jessica Gelay (505) 573-4422
Tommy McDonald (510) 679-2311

Senate and House Reintroduce Groundbreaking Medical Marijuana Bill

CARERS Act Protects Patients, Providers and Veterans

Bill comes as Jeff Sessions seeks to undermine medical marijuana laws

Today, a bipartisan group of Senators and Representatives introduced the CARERS Act. The Senate bill was introduced by Senators Booker (D-NJ), Paul (R-KY), Gillibrand (D-NY), Lee (R-UT), Franken (D-MN), and Murkowski (R-AK). The House companion was reintroduced by Rep Young (R-AK) and Rep Cohen (D-TN).


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Michael Collins 404-539-6437

New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Review Panel Recommends Adding Chronic Pain and other Conditions to List of Qualifying Conditions

Advocates Applaud Panel Recommendation and Look Forward to Health Commissioner’s Decision

New Jersey Should Join Other States That Allow Medical Marijuana for Chronic Pain

Trenton, NJ— Today, the New Jersey Medicinal Marijuana Program Review Panel made initial recommendations to the Health Commissioner to approve chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, migraines, anxiety, chronic fatigue related to ailments such as irritable bowel syndrome, Tourrette syndrome as qualifying conditions for the medical marijuana program.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Homeland Security Chief: Marijuana Possession is Grounds for Deportation

General Kelly Echoes Trump Commitment to Escalating the Drug War

DPA: War on Drugs is a War on Immigrants

In a speech yesterday, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly announced that the Trump Administration would use marijuana possession as a reason for deporting immigrants. “ICE will continue to use marijuana possession, distribution and convictions as essential elements as they build their deportation removal apprehension packages for targeted operations against illegal aliens living in the United States,” he said.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Jerónimo Saldaña 917-410-1270

New Mexico Governor Vetoes Medical Marijuana Changes

Governor Denies Access to Medical Marijuana for Vulnerable New Mexicans at Risk of Dying from Opioid Overdoses

Ignoring the Treatment Needs of People who Use Drugs Reinforces Stigma and Shame

Santa Fe – Today, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed House Bill 527 (HB527), a measure that would have made improvements to the medical cannabis program.  The measure was a collaboration between Sen. McSorley (D-Bernalillo) and Rep. Gentry (R-Bernalillo). Sen. McSorley sponsored the initial measure to make changes to the Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong Compassionate Use Act (LECUA) this legislative session. Representative Gentry introduced a similar measure that included input from the Office of the Governor. Senator McSorley supported Rep.


Jessica Gelay  (505) 573-4422
Tommy McDonald (510) 679-2311

New Mexico Overdose Prevention Bill Vetoed by Governor

More New Mexicans Die from an Unintentional Drug Overdose than in a Motor Vehicle Crash, Including Alcohol Involved Motor Vehicle Crashes

Santa Fe – Today, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez vetoed Senate Bill 47 (SB47), the 911 Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Bill.  SB47, sponsored by Senator R. Martinez (D), passed the New Mexico State Legislature with overwhelming support from both sides of the aisle, passing the House of Representatives (58-5) and the Senate on a unanimous vote of 33-0.


Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256
Tommy McDonald 510-679-2311

Decision Pending on Adding Opioid Use Disorder for Medical Marijuana in New Mexico

Final Decision Will Be Announced at NM's Department of Health's Medical Cannabis Medical Advisory Board this Friday

Drug Policy Alliance, Patients, Clinicians and Legislators Available for Press Interviews at Board Meeting

Santa Fe, NM – On Friday, April 7, New Mexico could become the first state in the nation to specifically list opioid use disorder as medical condition that qualifies for access to the state medical marijuana program. There are two paths to victory, through NM state law or through an administrative decision made; both would be effective immediately:

Path 1 - The NM Governor signs HB 527 into law; or


Jessica Gelay (505) 573-4422
Tommy McDonald (510) 679-2311

California Governor Jerry Brown Moves to Align Medical and Adult Use Marijuana Regulation in California

Drug Policy Alliance: Gov. Brown’s proposed unified regulatory system critical to protect against federal intervention

Late Tuesday afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown released his proposal to align medical marijuana regulations passed by the Legislature in 2015 and the 2016 Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64), both of which call for commercial licensing and regulation to begin in January 2018.


Lynne Lyman, 818-602-9539
Tommy McDonald 510-679-2311

Argentina Legalizes Medical Marijuana

Senate Approves Bill that Provides Medical Marijuana to Patients Free of Charge
DPA’s Hannah Hetzer: “It’s heartening to see Argentina prioritize accessibility for patients”

On Thursday, Argentina legalized medical marijuana, after the Senate unanimously approved a bill that was already passed by the House of Representatives last November. The law establishes a new regulatory framework that enables scientific and medical marijuana research, while providing marijuana to qualifying patients free of charge.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Hannah Hetzer 917-701-7060

Bill that Would Add Opioid Use Disorder to List of Conditions that Qualify for Medical Marijuana in New Mexico Heads to Governor's Desk

If bill becomes law, New Mexico will be the First State in the Nation Allowing Marijuana to Treat Opioid Addiction

Research has shown that marijuana can lower opioid cravings, withdrawal symptoms

Santa Fe, NM – Late Friday night, the New Mexico State Senate approved a bill that would make changes to New Mexico’s medical marijuana law. The bill now heads to the Governor's desk for consideration.The measure was a collaboration between Sen. McSorley (D-Bernalillo) and Rep. Gentry (R-Bernalillo). Sen. McSorley sponsored the initial measure to make changes to the Lynn Pierson and Erin Armstrong Compassionate Use Act (LECUA) this legislative session. Representative Gentry introduced a similar measure that included input from the Office of the Governor.


Jessica Gelay (505) 573-4422
Emily Kaltenbach (505) 920-5256

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