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.
Big Win for Marijuana Reform Advocates but More Has to Be Done
Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled for Wednesday
In a long-sought move anticipated by many marijuana reform advocates, the White House today announced that it was removing a major obstacle to marijuana research – the Public Health Service (PHS) Review. “This announcement shows that the White House is ready to move away from the war on medical marijuana, and enable the performance of legitimate and necessary research,” said Bill Piper, Director of Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs.
Lancet Study Dismantles Main Argument of Opponents of Medical Marijuana
A new Columbia University study published in Lancet Psychiatry shows that teen marijuana use does not increase after the passage of medical marijuana laws. The study, led by Dr. Debra Hasin, looked at past-30-day marijuana use among over one million adolescents over a 24-month period. While rates of use were higher to begin with in medical marijuana states, rates of use did not change after laws went into effect.
Frustrated with Inaction by Cuomo, Patients and Families Returned to Legislature for Help
Patients and Families Demand Governor Sign the Bill into Law Immediately
Albany– Last night, in an unusual show of bipartisan support, the New York Senate voted 50 to 12 in favor of a bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, that directs the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The Assembly version, sponsored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, passed last week by an overwhelming majority (130-18). The bill now goes to Governor Cuomo for his signature or veto.
Advocates Call for State and Federal Reform Protecting Medical Marijuana Patients and Legal Adult Users of Marijuana
Today the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed lower court decisions allowing employers to fire employees for marijuana use while off-duty. The decision hinged on the state’s lawful off-duty activities statute. The Court held that in order for the off-duty conduct to be considered “lawful,” it must be legal under both state and federal law. The unanimous decision was not a surprise to advocates working to reform marijuana law and policy in Colorado.
Announcement Followed By First Conference In Central America On Medical Marijuana
Marijuana Reform Initiative Finally Brings Central America Into The Regional Debate
Earlier this month, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health outlined the details for the implementation of a pending bill to research and regulate marijuana for medical and industrial purposes. The bill was introduced by ruling Citizen Action Party legislator Marvin Atencio last year to tax marijuana products and regulate the use of medical marijuana through registration cards for patients provided by the Ministry of Health. Ten months after Atencios’s proposal, the Ministry of Health released its criteria for the implementation of the bill.
Amendment Expected to be Signed Into Law by Pres. Obama as Part of Spending Deal
Nationwide Bi-partisan Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Grows Stronger
In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted today by 21 to 9 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration. The amendment mirrors one that passed the House last week 242-186, and was sponsored by Rep Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep Farr (D-CA).
New Open-License Footage Shatters Stereotypes and Captures the Responsible, Modern-Day Marijuana Consumer
B-Roll Project Follows DPA Stock Photo Series Depicting Regular People Using Marijuana
To combat the predominant, stereotypic images of people who use marijuana, and to encourage news outlets to use images that accurately reflect modern-day marijuana consumers, the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) is releasing free, open-license B-roll footage for editorial use.
Abandoned by Cuomo, Families Turn to Legislature to Pass a Bipartisan Bill
Bill Would Create Emergency Access Program to Provide Relief to Critically Ill Patients, including Children with Epilepsy
Albany– Patients, family members, and advocates stood with legislators from both sides of the aisle today in support of A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), a bill that would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M.
Abandoned by Cuomo, Families Turn to Legislature for Relief in Final Days of Legislative Session
Bill Would Create Emergency Access Program to Provide Relief to Suffering Children
Albany -- Nearly a year since the medical marijuana law passed in New York in June 2014, patients and families will gather in Albany to urge lawmakers to pass a bill that would create an emergency access program so that critically ill patients could access medical marijuana. Since the law passed, not one patient has been able to access medical marijuana and at least four children from across New York State have tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.
Important Victories Build on Last Night’s Votes to End DEA's Controversial Bulk Data Collection Program, Cut DEA's Budget
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Legislators passed three amendments today to prohibit the DEA and U.S. Department of Justice from undermining state marijuana laws, as part of the U.S. House of Representatives' consideration of the Fiscal Year 2016 Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill. A fourth amendment failed. The House also passed an amendment last night ending the DEA’s controversial bulk data collection program.