Medical Marijuana

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. 

Utah Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Forward

Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee, Heads to Senate Floor Next Week
 
Statement from Ethan Nadelmann: "If medical marijuana can advance in Utah ... it can advance anywhere in the U.S."

Utah is the latest 'red' state to consider medical marijuana. Yesterday, Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Tamar Todd 510-593-4908      

Community Groups, Elected Officials, and Patients Raise Major Concerns About New York's Medical Marijuana Program at a Forum in the Bronx

Participants Cite Several Problems with Draft Regulations, Including Barriers for Low Income Patients

New York – Today, elected officials, patients, and more than twenty community groups gathered at Hostos Community College in the Bronx to discuss the proposed regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. At the end of December, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released more than a hundred pages of draft regulations outlining many features of the proposed program.

Contact:  John Hellman, jhellman@boomhealth.org or (646) 377-6115

Community Groups and Elected Officials Come Together to Sponsor Forum on New York's Medical Marijuana Program

Forum Will Address Concerns with Proposed Regulations, Including Access for Low Income Patients

New York – Tuesday, February 3rd, patients, community members, providers and elected officials will join together to discuss New York’s medical marijuana law and provide community feedback on the State’s recently introduced draft regulations that will shape New York’s medical marijuana program. The event is being held at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the poorest county in the state, where providers have raised significant concerns that the medical marijuana program could leave low income communities behind.

Contact:  John Hellman, jhellman@boomhealth.org or (646) 377-6115

Medical Marijuana Draft Regulations Released - Regulations Do Not Include Provision for Emergency Access

Friday: One Week After Death of Eight Year Old Donella Nocero, Patients and Caregivers Rally Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office to Demand Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Critically Ill Patients and Their Families Ask Cuomo to Grant Their Holiday Wish -- Access to Lifesaving Medication Before More Children Die

New York – Today, the NY Department of Health released the draft regulations for the medical marijuana program. While full analysis of the regulations is still underway, an initial review suggests New York will be one of the more restrictive programs in the country, which could inhibit patients from obtaining the relief they need. For instance, the draft regulations restrict the number of brands of medical marijuana to five initially without any clear rationale.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264

Final Year-End Federal Spending Bill Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws

Spending Bill Allows Legalization of Marijuana Possession in Washington, D.C. to Move Forward, but Prevents Taxing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol

Momentum Builds Nationally to End the Failed War on Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The final “cromnibus” federal spending bill that Congress passed over the weekend contains historic language prohibiting the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws.

Contact: Michael Collins 404-539-6437 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Another Buffalo-area Child Dies Waiting for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Family’s Pleas for Relief for Little Donella Nocera Went Unheeded

Families, Advocates Call Upon Governor Cuomo to Immediately Help Suffering New Yorkers

NEW YORK: Yesterday, 8 year old Donella Nocera of Niagra Falls passed away while waiting for emergency access to medical marijuana to ease her end-of-life suffering.

Contact: Tony Papa (646) 420-7290 or gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264

HISTORIC VICTORY: Congress Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Top Congressional Leaders Side with States on Hemp Research and Medical Marijuana
 
Provisions on D.C. Marijuana Legalization Remain Unclear: Advocates Say Any Congressional Interference with Law that Passed with 70% Support is Outrageous

The final “must pass” federal spending bill that Congress will consider this week, also known as the “cromnibus,”and released by senior appropriators last night includes an amendment that prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The spending bill also includes a bipartisan amendment that prohibits the DEA from blocking implementation of a federal law passed last year by Congress that allows hemp cultivation for academic and agricultural research purposes in states that allow it.

Contact: Tony Newman (646-335-5384) or Michael Collins (404-539-6437)

Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?

December 9, 2014

Marijuana’s medical efficacy derives largely from more than 70 unique chemicals – called cannabinoids – that each have important therapeutic properties. Currently, 23 states, one U.S. territory (Guam), and Washington, DC, have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws that provide patients with access to all of marijuana’s beneficial ingredients.

Florida Becomes First State in the South to Vote in Favor of Medical Marijuana

Loses Despite Clear Majority Support, Thanks to Unique Florida Law Requiring 60% for Ballot Initiatives and $5 Million Opposition Campaign

National Implications: Majority Support Sends Strong Message, Regardless of 60% Florida Requirement

Today, a large majority of voters in Florida approved Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that makes Florida, with its huge population and bellwether status in American politics, the very first state in the South to see a majority vote in favor of a medical marijuana law.

Contact:  Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

New Mexico Credit Unions To Close Medical Marijuana Licensed Producer Bank Accounts

Move May Force Producers to Move to a Cash-only Payment System

Santa Fe, NM - Eight months after the Federal Justice Department and Treasury Department announced new guidelines allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses, some of the credit unions in New Mexico sent letters to close to half of the State’s licensed medical marijuana producers saying they will no longer accept their business and proceeded with closing their accounts.  The credit unions assert that they are unable to comply with federal guidelines for servicing the accounts.  This move leaves producers in the lurch, with either having to operate on a cash only basis o

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256

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