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.
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.
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.
Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?
The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science
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.
In a Surprise Move, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that PTSD will remain a qualifying condition
Drug Policy Alliance Will Continue to Call on the Martinez Administration to Support Access to Medical Marijuana
(SANTA FE, NM) – After months of deliberation, yesterday, the New Mexico Department of Health upheld a recommendation by the Medical Cannabis Program’s Medical Advisory Board and announced that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will remain a qualifying condition for New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.
Advocates Urge New York Assembly and Senate to Pass Bill
Earlier today, the New York State Assembly Codes Committee passed (A.6357/Gottfried) by a vote of 16 to 6. The bill 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.
New Law Unlikely to Provide Patients Access to Medicine Absent Changes in Federal Policy
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance's Amanda Reiman
Today, Maryland enacted a law allowing approved academic research institutions in that state to establish investigational, research-oriented medical marijuana studies. Unlike 18 other states that have adopted medical marijuana laws that allow patients to obtain medical marijuana by growing it themselves or purchasing it from state-licensed businesses, Maryland’s law requires that patients obtain their medicine only from a limited number of research hospitals approved to conduct medical marijuana research.
Legislation Would End the Needless Suffering of Thousands of Seriously Ill New Yorkers
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance’s Julie Netherland
Today, New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino introduced a bill that would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs.
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, explains that recent marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington isn't simple. The Federal response (or lack thereof) will determine how the policy is actualized.
Bill Would Remove Marijuana from Schedule I and Halt Federal Government Interference With State Medical Marijuana Regulation
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced legislation that would recognize the medicinal use of marijuana and remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
The issue of regulating medical marijuana would be returned to the states, and individuals complying with state medical marijuana laws would be exempt from federal arrest and prosecution. The bill, the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, H.R. 689, also requires greater access to marijuana for medical research.
DPA Statement: Feds Are Creating a Catch-22 For Research and Policy
On Tuesday, January 22, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a case challenging the Drug Enforcement Administration’s designation of marijuana as a Schedule I substance. The court was to decide whether the DEA followed its own rules when making the decision not to review scientific evidence that supports removing marijuana from Schedule I. Today, the court ruled that the DEA did adhere to their rules and did not have to reconsider the scheduling of marijuana.