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
Global Commission on Drug Policy
This report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Global Commission, which includes Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, and the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. They not only reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – but now also call for responsible legal regulation of currently-illegal drugs.
NM Secretary of Health Denies Medical Cannabis Advisory Board’s Recommendation to Add Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurodegenerative Dementia to the List of Qualifying Conditions
SANTA FE—Yesterday the Secretary of Health denied a petition to add Alzheimer’s disease to the list of medical conditions eligible for the medical cannabis program, even though the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend making neurodegenerative dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, qualifying conditions.
Department of Health Continues to Obstruct MAB’s Statutory Role to Advise the Program; Program Staff Refuse to Answer Any Questions Posed by the Board About the Evidence Supporting Recommended Rule Changes
SANTA FE, NM – Today, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board held a special hearing on proposed rule changes governing the state’s medical cannabis program. The board, frustrated that they were never formally consulted with by the Department of Health prior to releasing proposed rule changes, scheduled the hearing to listen to patients, licensed providers, advocates and the Department staff to inform their recommendations on the rules to the Department.
Physician’s Assistant Donna Smith Was Legally Enrolled in State’s Medical Cannabis Program
DPA: Presbyterian Health Services Ignoring State Law
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Donna Smith, a veteran who served our country with distinction, and who is a licensed physician’s assistant was recently terminated from her position with Presbyterian Health Services due to her enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program.
“As both a patient and a healthcare provider, I am deeply disappointed by Presbyterian Healthcare Systems’ decision to terminate me for nothing more than my enrollment in New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program," said Smith.
Need for Emergency Access is Clearer than Ever with Recent Deaths
Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo and Urge His Continued Leadership and Action to Ensure Critically Ill Patients Receive Immediate Access to Medicine
New York — Today, Governor Cuomo called for swift implementation of New York’s recently passed medical marijuana law. Since the medical marijuana bill was signed into law on July 7, three children who suffered from severe seizure disorders have already passed. These deaths have made even clearer what we already knew – the eighteen month or longer timeline for implementing New York’s medical marijuana law is simply too long for some patients who face life-threatening or terminal illnesses.
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.