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.
Three states will consider initiatives that allow access to cannabis for those with qualifying medical conditions and establish state regulatory systems for the cultivation and distribution of cannabis to qualified patients. Read more about the initiatives:
Find out about all the initiatives this year.
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.
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.
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Senator Schumer Joins NY Senator Gillibrand in Sponsoring the CARERS Act, a Bill that Would End Federal Prohibition of Medical Marijuana
New York Patients and Families Applaud Schumer for His Support
New York - Today, Senator Schumer (D-NY) added his name to the Senate’s sweeping medical marijuana bill. The CARERS Act, introduced in March by Sens Gillibrand (D-NY), Booker (D-NJ), and Paul (R-KY) would end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and remove barriers for research, veterans, and banking.
An Emergency Access Bill Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law
Advocates: Not One Patient Has Yet Received Medical Marijuana; Cuomo Must Sign a Bill or Take Other Action to Provide Relief to Suffering Patients
New York City – On the one year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families gathered in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients. Since the medical marijuana law passed a year ago, not one patient in New York has been able to access medical marijuana, and at least four children, who could have likely benefited from it, have died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.
Over 10,000 Signatories Tell Feinstein to Stop Opposing Medical Marijuana
Petition Follows Feinstein's Recent Vote Against Protecting Californian Residents from Federal Interference in Medical Marijuana Laws
California – A groups of California-based advocates will hand-deliver a petition to the San Francisco office of Sen. Feinstein (D-CA). Feinstein has been a leading opponent of marijuana reform, and recently spoke out against an amendment that would protect state medical marijuana programs from federal interference. The amendment passed the Senate Appropriations Committee 21-9, with Feinstein as the only Democrat to oppose the measure, with 8 Republicans voting in support.
Tomorrow Marks One-Year Anniversary of Medical Marijuana Bill Signing
New Bill to Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Just Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support – But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law
New York City – On the one year anniversary of the signing of New York’s medical marijuana law, patients and families will gather in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York City Office to urge him to sign a new bill that would create an emergency access program so that critically ill patients could access medical marijuana as soon as possible.
Big Win for Marijuana Reform Advocates but More Has to Be Done
Senate Hearing on Medical Marijuana Scheduled for Wednesday
In a long-sought move anticipated by many marijuana reform advocates, the White House today announced that it was removing a major obstacle to marijuana research – the Public Health Service (PHS) Review. “This announcement shows that the White House is ready to move away from the war on medical marijuana, and enable the performance of legitimate and necessary research,” said Bill Piper, Director of Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs.
Lancet Study Dismantles Main Argument of Opponents of Medical Marijuana
A new Columbia University study published in Lancet Psychiatry shows that teen marijuana use does not increase after the passage of medical marijuana laws. The study, led by Dr. Debra Hasin, looked at past-30-day marijuana use among over one million adolescents over a 24-month period. While rates of use were higher to begin with in medical marijuana states, rates of use did not change after laws went into effect.
Frustrated with Inaction by Cuomo, Patients and Families Returned to Legislature for Help
Patients and Families Demand Governor Sign the Bill into Law Immediately
Albany– Last night, in an unusual show of bipartisan support, the New York Senate voted 50 to 12 in favor of a bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, that directs the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The Assembly version, sponsored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, passed last week by an overwhelming majority (130-18). The bill now goes to Governor Cuomo for his signature or veto.
Advocates Call for State and Federal Reform Protecting Medical Marijuana Patients and Legal Adult Users of Marijuana
Today the Colorado Supreme Court affirmed lower court decisions allowing employers to fire employees for marijuana use while off-duty. The decision hinged on the state’s lawful off-duty activities statute. The Court held that in order for the off-duty conduct to be considered “lawful,” it must be legal under both state and federal law. The unanimous decision was not a surprise to advocates working to reform marijuana law and policy in Colorado.
Announcement Followed By First Conference In Central America On Medical Marijuana
Marijuana Reform Initiative Finally Brings Central America Into The Regional Debate
Earlier this month, the Costa Rican Ministry of Health outlined the details for the implementation of a pending bill to research and regulate marijuana for medical and industrial purposes. The bill was introduced by ruling Citizen Action Party legislator Marvin Atencio last year to tax marijuana products and regulate the use of medical marijuana through registration cards for patients provided by the Ministry of Health. Ten months after Atencios’s proposal, the Ministry of Health released its criteria for the implementation of the bill.
Amendment Expected to be Signed Into Law by Pres. Obama as Part of Spending Deal
Nationwide Bi-partisan Momentum for Drug Policy Reform Grows Stronger
In yet another huge victory for marijuana reform, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted today by 21 to 9 to approve an amendment offered by Senator Mikulski (D-MD) to protect state medical marijuana laws from federal interference by the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration. The amendment mirrors one that passed the House last week 242-186, and was sponsored by Rep Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep Farr (D-CA).