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.
State Website Updated With Comprehensive Information Including Interactive Map for Finding Doctors
Patients, Families and Advocates Celebrate Long-Awaited Milestone
DPA Statement: LA's short-sighted ban of medical marijuana dispensaries puts its most vulnerable citizens at risk
LOS Angeles—Today the Los Angeles City Council voted 14-0 to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in the city. This latest disruption of safe access to medical marijuana for patients in California is a result of the vacuum of statewide regulation on this issue.
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag’s Property Forfeiture Attempt against Well-Respected Oakland Medical Marijuana Dispensary a Clear Signal that Will of California Voters in Grave Jeopardy
OAKLAND, CA—One of California's most well-known, and well-regulated, medical marijuana dispensaries, Harborside Health Center, was served with a civil complaint for "forfeiture of property" this week for both of their locations in Oakland and San Jose. Harborside has been regulated and permitted by the City of Oakland for many years.
Tamar Todd, senior staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance, issued the following statement:
Conflict Coming to a Head as More States Pass and Implement Medical Marijuana Laws While Obama Administration Escalates Assault on Patients and Providers
Drug Policy Alliance: Obama Will Continue to Suffer Politically for Ignoring Public Opinion on Medical Marijuana
The U.S. House is expected to vote soon – possibly today – on a bipartisan amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice from undermining state medical marijuana laws. The amendment, co-sponsored by Rep. Rohrabacher (R-CA), Rep. Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. McClintock (R-CA) and Rep. Farr (D-CA), is a rebuke of President Obama’s aggressive assault on medical marijuana patients and providers.
Don and Gerry McGrath's Story
We would like to take just a few minutes of your time to tell you our story and ask for your help in relieving suffering in New Jersey. Our son Sean died of a rare form of cancer in the summer of 2004. He was only twenty-eight years old.
Scott Ward's Story
Scott Ward is 24 years old and suffers from Multiple Sclerosis. He was diagnosed in November of 2006 while training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Scott went from running five miles everyday to relying on family members to assist him in and out of his bed and the bath tub.
Sean McGrath's Story
Sean McGrath was 28 years old when he died from a rare form of cancer. Sean had great doctors, a loving family and friends to support him during his illness. But Sean’s struggle was made more difficult because none of the available medications worked to relieve his terrible nausea and vomiting.
Law enforcement attitudes towards medical marijuana in California have been mixed. Generally, many law enforcement officials and associations have been hostile to medical marijuana, since California’s voters legalized it in 1996 and continuing today.