The most egregious outcome 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.
Although an overwhelming majority of Americans support medical marijuana, the federal government continues to impede state medical marijuana laws. 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.
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.
Marijuana prohibition persists, in large part, because of out-dated, hyperbolic “Reefer Madness” claims about health impacts. The truth is that marijuana is considerably less dangerous than either alcohol or cigarettes.
Patients and Families Implore State Officials to Expedite Program and Provide Relief to Sick and Dying People
DPA's Ethan Nadelmann Lauds this Development but Notes that Nothing Prevents those States from Implementing their own
Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island petitioned the federal government today to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses.
US Attorneys in California Say They Will Shut Down Dispensaries, Prosecute Landlords and Seize Properties Notwithstanding State Law
Obama Administration's Medical Marijuana Policies Now Worse Than Bush and Clinton Policies
Despite the Obama Administration's promise to respect state law and leave medical marijuana patients alone, its attack on patients and providers operating legally under state law is rapidly escalating. At least 16 landlords in California this week received letters stating that they are violating federal drugs laws and that state law will not protect them. The four US Attorneys in California are holding a press conference in Sacramento today in which they are expected to announce a broad crackdown on medical marijuana.
Policy Impacts Roughly One Million Americans in 16 States (and the District of Columbia) that Allow Medical Marijuana
Statement from Ethan Nadelmann: ATF Discrimination Against Legal Medical Marijuana Patients Is Outrageous
Last month the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sent a letter to gun sellers saying it is illegal for medical marijuana patients to own firearms. The letter from Assistant Director Arthur Herbert states, "Any person who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes, is prohibited by Federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition."
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, issued this statement:
Irvina Booker's Story
Irvina Booker was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1992. In addition to debilitating physical symptoms, Irvina was faced with the emotional challenges of losing her ability to walk. She often felt like a burden to her friends and family.
None of the medication Irvina’s doctors prescribed alleviated her severe muscle spasm pain. The medications also had harsh side effects including nausea, vomiting, vertigo, headaches, dizziness, numbness, and burning.