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

Patients, Doctors and Nurses Gather in Albany for Press Conference and Rally to Demand NY Senate Pass Medical Marijuana Bill Immediately

Overwhelming Majority of New Yorkers Support Allowing Medical Marijuana for Patients in Need

Albany -- Today, dozens of patients living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoarthritis, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions travelled from around the state to demand that the New York State Senate pass the Compassionate Care Act (S.4406/Savino) immediately. The bill, which would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs, would allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

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

New York State Assembly Passes Bill to Allow Medicinal Use of Marijuana in New York State

Passage Follows New Poll: 82% of New Yorkers Support Medical Marijuana, Including 81% of Both Democrats and Republicans

Healthcare Practitioners and Patients Urge New York Senate to Pass Bill Without Delay 

New York: Earlier today, the New York State Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357/Gottfried) by a vote of 95 to 38.  The bill, which would create one the most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs in the country, would alleviate the suffering of thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers by allowing the use of marijuana to treat debilitating, life-threatening illnesses under a doctor’s supervision.

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

New York Doctors Say Bloomberg's Statement on Medical Marijuana is Outrageous & Flies In the Face of Medical Science

Mayor’s Claim that Medical Marijuana is “Hoax” Comes One Day after 600 New York Physicians Pledge Support for NY Medical Marijuana Bill

New York – Mayor Bloomberg ran afoul of medical science and the opinions of more than 600 New York physicians when he called medical marijuana “one the great hoaxes of all time” earlier today. The statement comes just one day after NY Physicians for Compassionate Care held a press conference announcing the support of more than 600 physicians from across New York for medical marijuana legislation pending in Albany.

Contact: Tony Newman: 646-335-5384 or Julie Netherland 347-781-5435

Access to Medical Marijuana for Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Oregon Passes State Legislature

If Signed by the Governor, Oregon will become the 4th State in the Nation to Recognize PTSD as an Eligible Condition

Bi-Partisan Cooperation was Key to the Bill’s Passage

(SALEM, OR) – Today, the Oregon House passed Senate Bill 281 with a vote of 36-21 to allow people suffering from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to qualify for Oregon’s medical marijuana program. It passed the Oregon State Senate earlier this spring.   If signed by the Governor, Oregon will join New Mexico, Connecticut and Delaware as the fourth state to specifically recognize PTSD as an eligible condition for medical marijuana.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256 or Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Marijuana Reclassification: Removing Marijuana From the Controlled Substances Act

May 24, 2013

The current system for classifying illegal (and most legal) drugs is flawed, outdated and unscientific. Marijuana should be reclassified in order to facilitate research, ensure patient access, and permit its legal regulation. Established by the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970, this system erroneously places marijuana in the most restrictive class, Schedule I, reserved for drugs with a "high potential for abuse”, "no currently accepted medical use" and a “lack of accepted safety."

Los Angeles Citizens Vote to Regulate Medical Marijuana

State oversight would help clarify new regulations

LOS ANGELES, CA – Yesterday, the citizens of Los Angeles voted to regulate medical marijuana by voting to pass Proposition D, one of three medical marijuana regulation measures on the ballot. The Proposition received 62.57% of the vote. Proposition D caps the number of collectives at those who opened prior to 2007, about 130, raises the gross receipts tax from $50 to $60 per $1000 of gross receipts, and establishes the distances they must keep from schools, parks, one another and residential neighborhoods.

Contact: Amanda Reiman 510-847-2405 or Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Poll: 82% of New York Voters – Including 81% of Republicans and Democrats – Support Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Patients and Advocates Call for Immediate Passage of New York's Bill

A poll released by the Siena Research Institute released today found that 82% of New York voters support allowing seriously and terminally ill people to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if recommended by a doctor.

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

California Supreme Court Upholds Local Medical Marijuana Bans

Statement from Drug Policy Alliance:  "The Only Way to Protect Patients is for California to Adopt State Wide Medical Marijuana Regulation"

Today, the California Supreme Court held that localities may entirely ban medical marijuana dispensaries from operating within their jurisdictions in a closely watched case, City of Riverside vs. Inland Empire Patients Health and Wellness Center.   The result of the Court’s ruling is that tens of thousands of legitimate medical marijuana patients in California will be without safe and legal access to medical marijuana.  To date more than 200 localities have banned dispensaries outright.

Contact: Amanda Reiman: 510-730-2811 or Tamar Todd: 510-229-5213

Access to Medical Marijuana for Patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in New Mexico is Protected

In a Surprise Move, the New Mexico Department of Health announced that PTSD will remain a qualifying condition

Drug Policy Alliance Will Continue to Call on the Martinez Administration to Support Access to Medical Marijuana

(SANTA FE, NM) – After months of deliberation, yesterday, the New Mexico Department of Health upheld a recommendation by the Medical Cannabis Program’s Medical Advisory Board and announced that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will remain a qualifying condition for New Mexico’s medical marijuana program.

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256 or Tony Newman 646-335-5384

Assembly Codes Committee Passes Bill to Allow Medicinal Use of Marijuana in New York State

Advocates Urge New York Assembly and Senate to Pass Bill

Earlier today, the New York State Assembly Codes Committee passed (A.6357/Gottfried) by a vote of 16 to 6.  The bill would alleviate the suffering of thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers by allowing the use of marijuana to treat debilitating, life-threatening illnesses under a doctor’s supervision.

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

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