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 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.
Western NY Patients and Families Will Join Medical Experts in Calling on Legislature to Take Immediate Action to Pass Legislation
Buffalo – On Thursday, December 5th, dozens of patients living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions will gather in Buffalo for a hearing of the NY State Assembly Health Committee. They will travel from across Western and Central New York to demand that the New York State legislature pass the Compassionate Care Act -- A.6357-A (Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino) -- immediately.
New Policy Follows Firing of Iraq Veteran
Veterans, Patients, Physicians and Advocates Fighting Back
(Albuquerque, NM) – New Mexico’s largest county is bucking the state’s medical marijuana law by prohibiting any use of marijuana by county employees, following a new policy issued on November 12 by Bernalillo County Manager Tom Zdunek. The county memorandum cites federal prohibition and county policy as the reason for prohibiting the use of marijuana.
November 9: New Mexico State Rep. Antonio Maestas, Veterans and the Drug Policy Alliance Come Together to Share Stories and Answer Questions About Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana
Albuquerque -- After many returning veterans seeking to enroll in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program to combat symptoms of PTSD and other qualifying conditions began sharing stories of obstacles they encountered from doctors and employers, and unnecessary stigma from the community, advocates, fellow veterans and policy makers are teaming up to host a public summit launching a new campaign addressing New Mexico’s military veterans’ legal access to medical marijuana.
Compassionate Care Foundation to Name Dispensary in Honor of Late Medical Marijuana Advocate Diane Riportella
EGG HARBOR—This Friday, October 18th, Compassionate Care Foundation will hold a ceremony to dedicate its soon-to-open medical marijuana dispensary to Diane Riportella, a medical marijuana advocate who lost her battle with ALS last year. Officiating the ceremony will be William Thomas, CEO of Compassionate Care, and Paul Riportella, Diane’s husband. The dispensary is located at 100 Century Drive in Egg Harbor Township.
Drug Policy Alliance: Era of Robust State-Based Regulation Has Begun
Majority of Americans Now Support Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol
Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a first-ever Senate hearing on the issue of marijuana legalization and the tension between state and federal marijuana laws.
New state level regulations establish a division of the Alcoholic Beverage Control
SACRAMENTO, CA — The president of the California Senate and Chair of Assembly Public Safety introduced bills yesterday to crack down on illegal cultivation and distribution under guise of medical marijuana, and to create one of the most comprehensive regulatory structures in the country to allow bona fide patients to access medical marijuana, from state registered growers, transporters and dispensaries, and to reduce diversion to non-medical users.
Report Shows that 100,000 Seriously Ill New York City Residents Could Benefit from Medical Marijuana
Patients, Healthcare Professionals, and Advocates Call on State Legislature to Pass Compassionate Care Act Immediately
NEW YORK - Today, New York City Comptroller John Liu released a report calling on the state legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would create a carefully regulated medical marijuana program in New York. The report details how more than 100,000 seriously ill New York City residents could benefit from medical marijuana. The report notes that there is strong scientific evidence that medical marijuana can help alleviate the suffering of those living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and a number of other serious illness
Historic Breakthrough in Struggle to End Marijuana Prohibition
Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado today that the Department of Justice will allow the states to implement their ballot initiatives that legalized the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adults. Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country outlining priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws.
The directive will also apply to the 20 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.
Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy AG James Cole Invited to Testify
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance Executive Director Ethan Nadelmann
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) announced Monday that he will address discrepancies between federal and state marijuana laws in an upcoming hearing on September 10. Leahy has invited Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole to testify. Twenty states now allow medical marijuana, and Colorado and Washington recently became the first two states to approve the legal regulation of marijuana for non-medicinal purposes.