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.

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.

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

Bipartisan Vote Carries Medical Marijuana Research Bill to Passage in New Mexico State House

UNM Health Sciences Center Would Convene an Advisory Council and Review Research Proposals Related to the Use, Production, Effects and Efficacy of Medical Marijuana

The Bill Would Extend Protections Already Granted to Qualified Medical Marijuana Patients and Medical Providers to Researchers

Santa Fe, NM – Saturday afternoon, the New Mexico State House voted (41-26) to pass House Bill 155, co-sponsored by Rep. D. Armstrong (D-Albuquerque) and Rep. McCamley (D-Las Cruces) to establish a fund in the state treasury for research related to the production, uses, effects, and efficacy of medical marijuana.  The bill had bi-partisan support with six Republicans voting in favor, including the minority leader, Nate Gentry, R-Abq.


Jessica Gelay (505) 573-4422
Emily Kaltenbach (505) 920-5256

White House Indicates Potential Crackdown on Recreational Marijuana

Sean Spicer: Trump’s DOJ Will Push for “Greater Enforcement” of Federal Law in Recreational Marijuana States

Administration Suggests They Will Not Crack Down on Medical Marijuana States

In a press conference today, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer strongly indicated that Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice (DOJ) will crack down on recreational marijuana programs. When asked about whether the federal government will take action in states that have legalized marijuana, Spicer replied, “I do think you’ll see greater enforcement. The Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into [the issue]. I believe they are going to continue to enforce the laws on the books with respect to recreational marijuana.”


Tommy McDonald, 510-679-2311

National Academy of Sciences Finds Conclusive Evidence That Marijuana is an Effective Medicine

Landmark Report Calls Schedule I Classification a Barrier to Marijuana Research

Drug Policy Alliance: Federal Government Must Stop Standing in Way of Marijuana Reform

Today, the National Academy of Sciences released a groundbreaking report, “The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.” The report states that there is conclusive evidence that marijuana can be used as a medicine.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Sen. Jeff Sessions Gives "Wishy Washy" Response to Questions about Marijuana and Federalism at Attorney General Confirmation Hearing Today

Drug Policy Alliance: Sessions Did Not Rule Out Continuing the Federal War on Marijuana

Statement from Bill Piper, Senior Director of the Drug Policy Alliance's Office of National Affairs:


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

New York Department of Health Adds Chronic Pain as Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana Program

Advocates Applaud Ongoing Action by Department of Health to Improving New York’s Medical Marijuana Program

NEW YORK—Today, the New York State Department of Health announced that they will expand New York’s beleaguered medical marijuana program by adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition under New York’s Compassionate Care Law. This decision by the Department of Health is a victory for patient advocates and for all New Yorkers who suffer from debilitating pain,  which medical marijuana has been proven to help treat.


Kate Hintz (914) 257-7063
Tony Newman (646) 335-5384

Marijuana Wins Big on Election Night

California, Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada Legalize Marijuana, As Florida, Arkansas, Montana and North Dakota Approve Medical Marijuana Measures
TELECONFERENCE Tomorrow (Wednesday) at 12:30pm (ET) / 9:30am (PT): What Do Election Results Mean for Marijuana Law Reform?

This Election Day was a watershed moment for the movement to end marijuana prohibition, with the results expected to accelerate efforts to legalize marijuana in states across the U.S., at the federal level, and internationally.  Overall, legalization initiatives prevailed in four out of five states, and medical marijuana initiatives prevailed in all four states this year.


Tommy McDonald, 510-338-8827,
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384,

North Dakota Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Medical Marijuana

2016 Election Shaping Up as Watershed Moment for Movement to End Marijuana Prohibition

North Dakota voters have approved Measure 5, which legalizes the medical use of marijuana for conditions such as cancer, AIDS, hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy, and other debilitating medical conditions.

Patients will be permitted to possess up to 3 ounces of marijuana. The initiative instructs the Department of Health to issue ID-cards for qualified patients and regulate non-profit compassion centers which will serve as dispensaries for patients. Individuals living more than 40 miles from a dispensary will be permitted to grow up to eight plants in their home.


Tony Newman, 646-335-5384,

Florida Becomes 1st State in the South to Approve Medical Marijuana

2016 Election Shaping Up as Watershed Moment for Movement to End Marijuana Prohibition

Florida voters have approved the state’s medical marijuana initiative, Amendment 2.  This victory makes Florida, with its huge population and bellwether status in American politics, the first state in the South to adopt a medical marijuana law.


Tony Newman, 646-335-5384,

Elected Officials, Clinicians, Patients, and Advocates Demand Medical Cannabis Access for New Mexicans Struggling with Opioids

Expert Advisory Board Recommends Adding Opioid Use Disorder for Medical Cannabis in New Mexico

SANTA FE, New Mexico  — Today pain specialists, people recovering from addiction, community members, and drug policy reformers joined together to call for the inclusion of medical cannabis in New Mexico’s response to heroin and opioids. State lawmakers Representative Debbie Armstrong and Senator Jerry Ortiz y Pino also submitted letters supporting the call.


Jessica Gelay 505-573-4422
Anita Briscoe 505-720-9495

Election 2016: Marijuana Law Reform Takes Center Stage

California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts to Vote on Legalizing Marijuana, While Florida, Arkansas, North Dakota and Montana Vote on Medical Marijuana

Election Shaping Up as Watershed Moment for Movement to End Federal Prohibition

This Election Day is shaping up to be a watershed moment for efforts to end marijuana prohibition, with five states voting on marijuana legalization and four more on medical marijuana. The results are expected to have major ramifications for marijuana law reform in states across the U.S., at the federal level, and even internationally.


Tommy McDonald, 510-338-8827
Tony Newman, 646-335-5384

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