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.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the U.S. and the world, and was a well-established medicine until it was federally criminalized in 1937. A majority of Americans believe marijuana should be legally regulated.
Number of people arrested for marijuana law violations in 2012.
Veterans With PTSD Who Use Legal Marijuana in Colorado Can Lose VA Medical Care and Benefits
Legislation to Add PTSD As Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Rejected By Colorado Legislature
DENVER - Yesterday, a bill failed to pass the Colorado House State, Veterans, and Military Affairs committee that would have added post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ‘debilitating medical conditions’ that qualify for a medical marijuana recommendation. This timely bill (HB14-1364) would have addressed a major gap in access to medical marijuana in Colorado for veterans and all those suffering from PTSD.
Compassionate Care Act Would Establish Tightly Controlled and Regulated Access to Medical Marijuana to Relieve Suffering in New York
Patients and Family Members from Across NY Available for Interviews
Albany – Today, the first day the legislature resumes it session following their spring recess, nearly two dozen patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers from across New York will gather in Albany to press for passage of a comprehensive medical marijuana bill known as the Compassionate Care Act.
If Approved by the Dept. of Health, New Mexico Would Join 13 Other States Where Patients Can Access Medical Cannabis for Alzheimer’s Disease
SANTA FE—Yesterday, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program’s Medical Advisory Board voted unanimously to add neurodegenerative dementia including Alzheimer’s disease (AD) to the list of medical conditions eligible for the Medical Cannabis Program. The Secretary of Health will have the final decision. Medical cannabis is currently available to Alzheimer’s patients in thirteen of the states that authorize its use.
Drug Policy Alliance: Rescheduling Is Small Step In Right Direction, But Wouldn’t Protect People From Being Arrested or Punished for Marijuana Possession
DPA Supports De-Scheduling Marijuana and Legally Regulating It
Attorney General Eric Holder said Friday that the Obama administration would be willing to work with Congress if lawmakers want to reschedule marijuana.
Re-categorizing marijuana would not legalize the drug under federal law, but it could ease restrictions on research into marijuana's medical benefits and allow marijuana businesses to take tax deductions.
Clinical Trial for Veterans with PTSD Has Already Obtained Approval from U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U. Arizona Institutional Review Board, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Wednesday, April 2: Veterans, Military Family Members and Supporters to Rally at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza
After 22 years of hard-fought efforts, the non-profit pharmaceutical company MAPS has finally obtained approval from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for a FDA clinical trial to examine the medical safety and efficacy of marijuana. The trial would study military veterans suffering from treatment-resistant post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Yet the study’s ability to receive Arizona state funding is in jeopardy due to State Senator Kimberly Yee.
While Assembly Included Compassionate Care Act in Budget Proposal, the Senate and Governor Failed to Act
Advocates: To Alleviate Patient Suffering in New York, State Senate Must Immediately Bring Compassionate Care Act to Floor for a Vote
Albany – On Saturday, Governor Cuomo, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Co-Presidents Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein announced that they had reach a budget agreement, but the deal excluded the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would allow seriously ill New Yorkers access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider. The Assembly had included the proposal as part of their one-house budget bill, but the Senate and Governor refused to include the bill in the final budget.
Dozens of Patients, Caregivers, Providers and Faith Leaders Travel from Across the State to Demand Passage of Compassionate Care Act
Advocates Call on New York Senate Leaders to Stop Delays and Allow a Vote to Stop the Needless Suffering of Sick New Yorkers
NOTE: Likely press conference today at 2:30 outside the LCA with Faith Leaders, Patients, Healthcare Providers and Families.
Marijuana Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana Legislation Recently Introduced
Unprecedented Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Continues to Spread Throughout Latin America
This week, legislators from the Mexican Congress and the Mexico City Assembly will be in DC and NY to discuss the bills they introduced to decriminalize the consumption and purchase of marijuana for personal use in Mexico City and to legalize medical marijuana countrywide.
Advocates Say There Are Enough Votes to Pass Medical Marijuana in NY: Senate Must Act Now
East Syracuse - Wednesday, patients, families, advocates, and doctors will host an educational forum in East Syracuse. The public forum is part of the March for Compassion—a month-long series of actions and events across the state to educate New Yorkers about medical cannabis and build support for New York’s comprehensive medical marijuana proposal – the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357-A -Gottfried) / S.4406-A -Savino).