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.
DPA Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann talks about the latest developments in the world of medical marijuana in the US and President Obama's difficulties keeping his campaign promises and word as President to not interfere with medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have approved medical marijuana law.
This is the third update from DPA's No More Drug War campaign.
Patients and Families Accuse State Officials of Playing Politics with Medical Marijuana Program
Trenton—A letter sent by New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder regarding New Jersey's fledgling medical marijuana program is drawing sharp criticism from medical marijuana supporters, including patients and families who advocated for the law.
This helpful resource is frequently updated with medical marijuana legislation pending in the states.
Legislators appreciate hearing from their constituents, and they are elected to represent our views. Always give your legislator your name, address, and telephone number so that they know you are one of their constituents. Be sure to include this information whether you visit in person, call, or write.
When you contact your legislators, a short sentence or two about why you personally support or oppose a certain proposal is fine.
Most importantly, always be courteous and clear when communicating with your legislators. Remember, legislators are people, too!
Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research, University of California
This report was submitted in response to the California legislature passing and Governor Gray Davis signing SB847, which commissioned the University of California to establish a scientific research program to expand the public scientific knowledge on purported therapeutic usages of marijuana.
The acceptance of medical marijuana has implications that extend far beyond helping those suffering from life-threatening diseases. It is one of several factors -- including demographic changes, the financial crisis, and the widely perceived failure of the war on drugs -- reopening the country's 40-year-old on-again, off-again shouting match over whether marijuana should be legalized.
In 1996 DPA spearheaded passage of the nation’s first medical marijuana law. California’s Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, allows patients to use marijuana for medicinal purposes with a doctor’s recommendation. Despite the federal government’s efforts to stymie Prop. 215 by threatening and shutting down dispensaries, over a dozen other states have legalized medical marijuana since 1996, many of them due to DPA’s efforts.
The principle issue here is whether the marijuana plant should lawfully be transferred from Schedule I to Schedule II of the schedules established by the Controlled Substances Act. Ruling of Drug Enforcement Administration Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling," finding that: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care."
U.S. Department of Justice: Office of the Deputy Attorney General
This memorandum provides clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana. These laws vary in their substantive provisions and in the extent of state regulatory oversight, both among the enacting States and among local jurisdictions within those States. Rather than developing different guidelines for every possible variant of state and local law, this memorandum provides uniform guidance to focus federal investigations and prosecutions in these States on core federal enforcement priorities.