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.
These are ten top facts about marijuana policy and effects, with detailed supporting information and citations.
Death Fuels Demand for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana for Critically Ill Patients in New York
New York -- Anna Conte, a nine year old from Orchard Park, NY who passed away last week after falling into a coma following a severe seizure, was laid to rest today. Anna suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a life-threatening seizure disorder that has been treated with medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Medical marijuana has dramatically reduced the number of seizures in many children with similar seizure disorders.
Historic Vote Falls on Heels of Votes in May to Prohibit DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws
Meanwhile Conflict Over Washington, DC Decrim Law and Legalization Ballot Measure Increases
In a historic vote today the U.S. House passed a bipartisan amendment by Representatives Heck (D-WA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Lee (D-CA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) preventing the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The amendment passed 231 to 192.
In May, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws and passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.
Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers Thank Legislators and Governor, Immediately Turn Their Attention to Swift Implementation: “Patients Are Out of Time and Need Access Now”
New York City: Today, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a medical marijuana bill into law, making New York the twenty-third state to allow legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. Patients, caregivers and healthcare providers are attending the bill signing ceremony at The New York Academy of Medicine, along with the bill sponsors, Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino.
Hope is on the Way for Thousands of Seriously Ill New Yorkers, Despite Flawed Bill
Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers Praise Lawmakers and Vow to Fight for Improvements
Albany: Today, the New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly passed a medical marijuana bill, making New York the twenty-third state to create legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. After days of tense negotiations, the bill was passed in the final hours of the legislative session on Friday. Governor Cuomo has said he will sign the bill into law.
Senate, Assembly and Governor Announce Deal
Thousands Will Still Benefit, Although Bill Excludes Smoked Marijuana
Albany – Today, the Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo announced a deal to move forward on a limited medical marijuana program, which makes New York the 23rd state to adopt such a program. The new law will provide relief to thousands of New Yorkers suffering from debilitating illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, as well as children struggling with seizure disorders.
Similar Bipartisan Amendment Passed the U.S. House a Few Weeks Ago in Historic Victory
Amendment Seeks to Protect 32 States With Medical Marijuana Laws from Federal Interference
Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) will offer an amendment to a federal spending bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state marijuana laws. The House approved a similar bipartisan measure on May 29th. An amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp production for research purposes also passed the U.S. House. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar hemp amendment in committee June 5th that was offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
Last Day of the Legislative Session Arrives as Negotiations Between Governor, Senate and Assembly Continue
Patients & Families to Deliver Thousands of Signatures to Albany Leadership, Demanding Action: “Don’t Make Us Wait Another Year for Relief -- Bring the Bill to the Senate Floor Today!”
Albany – On what is scheduled to be the last day of New York’s legislative session, dozens of patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers will gather in Albany to deliver thousands of petition signatures urging Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders to pass the Compassionate Care Act.
Negotiations Between Senate, Assembly and Governor Continue as Deadline for Passage Approaches
Patients & Families Demand Action: “Don’t Make Us Wait Another Year for Relief!”
Albany – With only two days left in the legislative session, over 100 patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers will gather in Albany for rallies urging Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders to pass the Compassionate Care Act before it's too late. They will travel from all over the state -- New York City, Western New York, Long Island, and Central New York -- to push the Legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act -- A.6357-D (Gottfried) / S.4406-D (Savino) – before the end of legislative session on Thursday, June 19th.