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. 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.

Upcoming Initiatives

Three states will consider initiatives that allow access to cannabis for those with qualifying medical conditions and establish state regulatory systems for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis to qualified patients. Read more about the initiatives:


Take Action

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.

Advance research
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.

Featured Resources

Medical Marijuana
10 Facts about Marijuana
Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?
Marijuana Concentrates
The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science

Senate Appropriations Committee Votes to Prevent DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Vote Comes Just a Week After Committee Voted to Allow Veterans Administration Doctors to Recommend Marijuana to Veterans

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 8 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.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Senate Appropriations Committee Approves Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana

Amendment Passes for Second Year Running, but Must Pass House before Becoming Law

Amendment Would Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Patients in Medical Marijuana States

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment today, 20 to 10, allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The vote is the second time the U.S. Senate has advanced this issue. The amendment did not make the final appropriations bill last year after narrowly losing in the House.

Contact:

Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Patients and Their Families Gather in Albany to Demand Changes to New York's Broken Medical Marijuana Law

Advocates: Too Few Patients Can Access Medicine Through the Overly Restrictive, Expensive Program

Slate of Bills Would Remove Barriers to Participating in the Program and Expand Patient Access

Albany – Today, dozens of advocates gathered in Albany to urge legislators to support a slate of bills that would amend the Compassionate Care Act, New York’s medical marijuana law. The law, which was passed in June of 2014, took eighteen months to implement and has been criticized for being one of the most restrictive and burdensome programs in the country. Launched in January of this year, to date, only 494 of the state’s 79,000 physicians have agreed to participate and only 2,390 patients have been certified by their doctors to enroll in the program.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Kassandra Frederique 646-209-0374

TUESDAY: Patients and Their Families Will Gather at State Capitol to Demand Changes to New York’s Broken Medical Marijuana Program

Advocates: Too Few Patients Can Access Medicine Through the Overly Restrictive, Expensive Program

Slate of Bills Would Remove Barriers to Participating in the Program and Expand Patient Access

Albany – On Tuesday, April 12th, dozens of advocates gathered in Albany to urge legislators to support a slate of bills that would amend the Compassionate Care Act, New York’s medical marijuana law. The law, which was passed in June of 2014, took eighteen months to implement and has been criticized for being one of the most restrictive and burdensome programs in the country. Launched in January of this year, to date, only 514 of the state’s 79,000 physicians have agreed to participate and only 2,494 patients have been certified by their doctors to enroll in the program.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Kassandra Frederique 646-209-0374

Bipartisan Group of Senators and U.S. Representatives Call for VA to Allow Vets Access to Medical Marijuana

Current Policy Preventing VA Doctors from Recommending Medical Marijuana Set to Expire

Push Comes Amid Broad Bipartisan Support for Medical Marijuana in House and Senate

Today, a broad group of legislators from both parties sent a letter to the Veterans’ Administration (VA) demanding a change in policy to allow veterans to access medical marijuana. Currently, veterans are prevented from having full conversations about medical marijuana with VA doctors, and the same VA physicians are prohibited from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where medical marijuana is legal.

Contact:

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

New York to Launch Medical Marijuana Program Tomorrow

Advocates: Program Is Only a Success If and When Patients Can Access Medicine

Significant Concerns About the Program – Including Low Physician Enrollment – Remain

New York City – Yesterday, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced that New York’s medical marijuana program will officially open tomorrow on Thursday, January 7th.  While the state has authorized 20 dispensaries to open statewide, only eight will open on Thursday, with the rest slated to open later in January, leaving huge areas of the state without access to a dispensary.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Julie Netherland 917-819-0309

Congress Adopts Significant Drug Policy Reforms in New Spending Bill

Bill Stops Feds from Blocking Medical Marijuana Legalization and Partially Lifts Federal Ban on Funding for Syringe Access Programs to Prevent HIV/AIDS

President Obama Expected to Sign Bill

Congress passed a must-pass spending bill this morning that includes language that stops the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice from spending money to block the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The amendment was passed last year on a temporary basis and must be renewed this year.

Contact:

Bill Piper (202) 669-6430
Michael Collins (404) 539-6437

Congress Set to Pass Significant Drug Policy Reforms in New Spending Bill

Bill Would Stop Feds from Blocking Medical Marijuana Legalization and Would Partially Lift Federal Ban on Funding for Syringe Access Programs to Prevent HIV/AIDS

President Obama Expected to Sign Bill

Congress is set to vote on a must-pass spending bill introduced last night that includes language that stops the Obama Administration’s Department of Justice from spending money to block the implementation of state medical marijuana laws. The amendment was passed last year on a temporary basis and must be renewed this year.

Contact:

Bill Piper (202) 669-6430
Michael Collins (404) 539-6437

Mon: NJ Senate to Hold First-Ever Hearing on Legislation to Protect Medical Marijuana Patients from Discrimination and Loss of Employment

New Legislation Clarifies Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act Patient Protections

Advocates Applaud Legislation and Declare that Legislature Did Not Intend For Patients To Lose Jobs For Using Legal Medical Marijuana

Trenton—The New Jersey Legislature is poised to hold the first-ever hearing on legislation clarifying employment protections for medical marijuana patients.  The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee hearing is scheduled for Monday, December 21st at 1PM in the New Jersey State House Annex Committee Room 1. The Legislation, Senate Bill 3162, is sponsored by Senator Nicholas Scutari (DMiddlesex/Somerset/Union) and Senator Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex).

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Breaking: Gov. Cuomo Signs Medical Marijuana Emergency Access Bill

Patients and Families Applaud Gov. Cuomo and Call on Health Department to Implement Law Quickly and Get Medicine to Critically Ill Patients

New York City – After months of pressure from patients and advocates, Gov. Cuomo signed a bill today that will expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients. In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), directing the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible.

Contact:

Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Julie Netherland 917-819-0309

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