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.
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.
Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?
The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science
Amendment Would Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Medical Marijuana to Their Patients in States Where It’s Legal
The Senate today passed the FY2016 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs (MilCon-VA) Appropriations Bill, which includes language to allow Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The language was included as an amendment in the Senate Appropriations committee in May.
Cuomo Must Sign Bill By November 11th to Help End the Suffering of Patients
New York City – Today, patients, families, and advocates rallied outside Governor Cuomo’s Manhattan office to urge the Governor to sign a bill that would expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients. In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), directing the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible. The bill was delivered to Governor on October 30th.
Bill That Would Provide Faster Relief to Suffering Patients Passed NYS Legislature with Overwhelming Bipartisan Support But Needs Cuomo’s Signature to Become Law
New York City – One day before the deadline for Governor Cuomo to sign or veto a bill that would create emergency access to medical marijuana, patients and advocates will rally outside his office to demand action. 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 tragically died while waiting to obtain this much-needed medicine.
Advocates: Not One Patient Has Yet Received Medical Marijuana and Four Children Have Died Waiting in the Past 15 Months; Cuomo Must Sign or Take Other Action to Provide Relief to Suffering Patients
Governor Has Ten Days to Sign or Veto the Bill
New York City – Friday, the New York State Assembly delivered to the Governor a bill to expedite access to medical marijuana for critically ill patients. In June, with overwhelming bipartisan support, both houses of the legislature passed A.7060 (Gottfried) / S.5086 (Griffo), directing the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible.
Less Than Three Months Before the State’s Medical Marijuana Program is Supposed to Become Operational, Advocates Urge State to Move Quickly to Enroll Doctors and Patients
Advocates: No Delays or Excuses, Patients Need Medicine Now
New York - Less than three months before New York’s medical marijuana program is supposed to become fully operational in January of 2016, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) today launched an online training program that is required for physicians to certify patients to receive medical marijuana in New York. The training course, which will be provided by TheAnswerPage, is 4.5 hours and qualifies participants to receive continuing medical education (CME) credits.
In Precedent-Setting Case, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer Rules Justice Department in Violation of Federal Law and Lifts Injunction Against Medical Marijuana Dispensary
Judge Cites Recent Congressional Reforms, as Support for Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Continues to Grow in Congress
Yesterday, a federal judge lifted an injunction against one of California’s oldest medical marijuana dispensaries. The injunction can no longer be enforced in the wake of a congressional spending amendment passed by Congress last year—the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment—that precluded the Department of Justice from spending funds on prosecuting dispensaries in compliance with state law. Setting significant legal precedent, Senior Judge Charles R. Breyer of the U.S.
The Drug Policy Alliance supports S. 683 Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act, which would affirm the right of states to set their own medical marijuana policies, reschedule medical marijuana to Schedule II, enable access to CBD oil, allow banks to provide financial services to marijuana dispensaries, permit VA physicians to recommend medical marijuana to veterans, and eliminate barriers to medical marijuana research.
Statement by the Drug Policy Alliance and Compassionate Care NY
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.