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. 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. 

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced in New York to Expedite Access to Medical Marijuana for Critically Ill Patients

Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb Join as Co-Sponsors

Patients & Families Rally in Albany to Demand Emergency Access Before More Loved Ones Die

Albany– Patients, family members and activists stood with legislators today as they announced the introduction of Assembly bill A.7060 that would direct the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill, introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Assembly Minority Leader Brian M.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Julie Netherland 347-781-5435

New York Bill to Create Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Patients & Families Hold Press Conference in Albany as Bill Reviewed by Assembly Health Committee

The 2014 limited medical marijuana law leaves many New Yorkers continuing to suffer from severe and debilitating conditions that could be made better by use of marijuana under medical supervision.  As the Compassionate Care Act (CCA) will not take effect until at least 2016, new legislation has been introduced to create an emergency access program for patients with the most urgent needs – including children suffering from severe epilepsy.  The new bill – A.7060 – is sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Julie Netherland 347-781-5435

New Video Tells Powerful Story of Young Epilepsy Patient without Safe Access to Medical Marijuana

Moving Video Features Struggle and Frustration of Ohio Family That Has Run Out of Treatment Options for Their Daughter

The Drug Policy Alliance and Learn Liberty have teamed up to tell the emotional story of Sophia Nazzarine, a 7-year-old girl suffering from uncontrolled epilepsy, in a new video.

Between clips of Sophia singing and playing with her parents in her hometown of Cincinnati, the audience is shown saddening footage of Sophia seizing as a newborn, while her parents describe their discovery of Sophia’s epilepsy and their exhaustive struggle to find an effective treatment.


Tony Newman: 646-335-5384
Scott Nazzarine: 513-543-2321

U.S. Justice Department Says It Will Ignore Federal Law and Prosecute People for Medical Marijuana Despite Congressional Spending Ban

Congress Passed One-Year Amendment in December Prohibiting Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws; Members of both Parties Sought to Stop Prosecutions and Let States Set Their Own Medical Marijuana Policies

Drug Policy Alliance Calls on President Obama to Rein in Out-of-Control Prosecutors

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) told the Los Angeles Times that a bi-partisan amendment passed by Congress last year prohibiting DOJ from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws doesn't prevent it from prosecuting people for medical marijuana or seizing their property. The statement comes as the agency continues to target people who are complying with their state medical marijuana law.


Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 

New York State Officials Ignore Patients, Providers and Industry Experts to Instead Pursue One of the Nation's Most Unworkable Medical Marijuana Programs

Advocates: Final Regulations to Leave Thousands of Patients to Suffer Needlessly

Abandoned by Cuomo Administration, Critically Ill Patient and Families Vow to Return to the Legislature to Fix New York's Broken Medical Marijuana Program

New York – Last night the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released the final regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. The announcement followed a period of public comment in which patients, families, experts, and industry professionals submitted more than a thousand letters and emails critiquing the proposed regulations for being too restrictive and unworkable. In response to this incredible level of input from the public and private industry, the Department of Health made absolutely no substantive changes to the regulations.


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

Congressmen Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Don Young (R-AK) Introduce House Version of Groundbreaking Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Legislation

Bill Follows Historic Introduction of the CARERS Act by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dean Heller (R-NV), and Barbara Boxer (D-CA)

Support for Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies without Federal Interference Growing Rapidly in Congress

WASHINGTON, DC—Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK) have introduced the House companion to a groundbreaking bill legalizing marijuana for medical use that was introduced in the Senate two weeks ago by Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Barbara Boxer (D-CA) co-sponsored the bill soon after.


Tony Newman (646) 335-5384
Anthony Papa (646) 420-7290

SUNDAY: Gillibrand & Booker to Meet with NY, NJ Families About New Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill to Allow Patients to Access Necessary Care without Fear of Federal Prosecution

Five Local Families with Children & Loved Ones in Need of Treatment Will Join Senators to Discuss Landmark Proposal to Let States Legalize Medical Marijuana

New York City – On Sunday, March 15, at 2:00 PM, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) will join five New York and New Jersey families who would benefit from the new bipartisan bill to allow patients in states that have legalized medical marijuana to access the treatment without fear of federal prosecution. Both New York and New Jersey have legalized use of medical marijuana.


Lauren Passalacqua (Gillibrand): 202-774-4409
Silvia Alvarez (Booker) 646-285-1819

Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) Introduce Historic Medical Marijuana Legislation

First-Ever Bill in U.S. Senate to Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use

Teleconference at 3pm EST with Patients and Advocates to discuss CARERS Act

Today, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation to legalize marijuana for medical use. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States - CARERS - Act is the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use and the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress. The CARERS Act will do the following:


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

Tuesday: Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) to Introduce Historic Medical Marijuana Legislation

First-Ever Bill in U.S. Senate To Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use

Tuesday: Senate Press Conference @12:30 pm and Drug Policy Alliance Teleconference @ 3 pm Will Reveal Details

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 10, at 12:30pm EST, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will host a press conference to announce sweeping bipartisan legislation that will end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and allow patients, doctors and businesses in states with medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of prosecution.


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

Utah Medical Marijuana Bill Moving Forward

Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee, Heads to Senate Floor Next Week
Statement from Ethan Nadelmann: "If medical marijuana can advance in Utah ... it can advance anywhere in the U.S."

Utah is the latest 'red' state to consider medical marijuana. Yesterday, Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.


Tony Newman 646-335-5384
Tamar Todd 510-593-4908      
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