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-one 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.
The current system for classifying illegal (and most legal) drugs is flawed, outdated and unscientific.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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
New Law Unlikely to Provide Patients Access to Medicine Absent Changes in Federal Policy
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance's Amanda Reiman
Today, Maryland enacted a law allowing approved academic research institutions in that state to establish investigational, research-oriented medical marijuana studies. Unlike 18 other states that have adopted medical marijuana laws that allow patients to obtain medical marijuana by growing it themselves or purchasing it from state-licensed businesses, Maryland’s law requires that patients obtain their medicine only from a limited number of research hospitals approved to conduct medical marijuana research.
Legislation Would End the Needless Suffering of Thousands of Seriously Ill New Yorkers
Statement from Drug Policy Alliance’s Julie Netherland
Today, New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino introduced a bill that would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs.
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, explains that recent marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington isn't simple. The Federal response (or lack thereof) will determine how the policy is actualized.
Bill Would Remove Marijuana from Schedule I and Halt Federal Government Interference With State Medical Marijuana Regulation
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced legislation that would recognize the medicinal use of marijuana and remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
The issue of regulating medical marijuana would be returned to the states, and individuals complying with state medical marijuana laws would be exempt from federal arrest and prosecution. The bill, the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, H.R. 689, also requires greater access to marijuana for medical research.