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.
Senate Has Yet to Vote on Bill Supported by 82% of New Yorkers and Hundreds of New York Doctors and Patients
Advocates Urge Senate to Pass the Bill Before the End of Legislation Session Next Week
Garden City, Long Island – Today, patients and community members from across Long Island gathered at the Garden City, LIRR train station to mobilize supporters of New York’s medical marijuana bill. They collected signatures and handed out flyers urging their neighbors to contact senate leadership and demand a vote on the Compassionate Care Act (A. 6357-Gottfreid / S. 4406- Savino) before the end of the legislative session on June 20th.
Overwhelming Majority of New Yorkers Support Allowing Medical Marijuana for Patients in Need
Albany -- Today, dozens of patients living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions travelled from around the state to demand that the New York State Senate pass the Compassionate Care Act (S.4406/Savino) immediately. The bill, which would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs, would allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.
Passage Follows New Poll: 82% of New Yorkers Support Medical Marijuana, Including 81% of Both Democrats and Republicans
Healthcare Practitioners and Patients Urge New York Senate to Pass Bill Without Delay
New York: Earlier today, the New York State Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357/Gottfried) by a vote of 95 to 38. The bill, which would create one the most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs in the country, would alleviate the suffering of thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers by allowing the use of marijuana to treat debilitating, life-threatening illnesses under a doctor’s supervision.
Mayor’s Claim that Medical Marijuana is “Hoax” Comes One Day after 600 New York Physicians Pledge Support for NY Medical Marijuana Bill
New York – Mayor Bloomberg ran afoul of medical science and the opinions of more than 600 New York physicians when he called medical marijuana “one the great hoaxes of all time” earlier today. The statement comes just one day after NY Physicians for Compassionate Care held a press conference announcing the support of more than 600 physicians from across New York for medical marijuana legislation pending in Albany.
If Signed by the Governor, Oregon will become the 4th State in the Nation to Recognize PTSD as an Eligible Condition
Bi-Partisan Cooperation was Key to the Bill’s Passage
(SALEM, OR) – Today, the Oregon House passed Senate Bill 281 with a vote of 36-21 to allow people suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to qualify for Oregon’s medical marijuana program. It passed the Oregon State Senate earlier this spring. If signed by the Governor, Oregon will join New Mexico, Connecticut and Delaware as the fourth state to specifically recognize PTSD as an eligible condition for medical marijuana.
The current system for classifying illegal (and most legal) drugs is flawed, outdated and unscientific. Marijuana should be reclassified in order to facilitate research, ensure patient access, and permit its legal regulation. Established by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, this system erroneously places marijuana in the most restrictive class, Schedule I, reserved for drugs with a "high potential for abuse”, "no currently accepted medical use" and a “lack of accepted safety."
State oversight would help clarify new regulations
LOS ANGELES, CA – Yesterday, the citizens of Los Angeles voted to regulate medical marijuana by voting to pass Proposition D, one of three medical marijuana regulation measures on the ballot. The Proposition received 62.57% of the vote. Proposition D caps the number of collectives at those who opened prior to 2007, about 130, raises the gross receipts tax from $50 to $60 per $1000 of gross receipts, and establishes the distances they must keep from schools, parks, one another and residential neighborhoods.
Medical Marijuana Patients and Advocates Call for Immediate Passage of New York's Bill
A poll released by the Siena Research Institute released today found that 82% of New York voters support allowing seriously and terminally ill people to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if recommended by a doctor.
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance: "The Only Way to Protect Patients is for California to Adopt State Wide Medical Marijuana Regulation"
Today, the California Supreme Court held that localities may entirely ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within their jurisdictions in a closely watched case, City of Riverside vs. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center. The result of the Court’s ruling is that tens of thousands of legitimate medical marijuana patients in California will be without safe and legal access to medical marijuana. To date more than 200 localities have banned dispensaries outright.