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-four 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.
Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo For Federal Request, But Urge Additional State Action to Save Lives of Critically Ill Patients
Patients Call on Governor to Create State-Based Emergency Access Program
New York — Friday, the Cuomo Administration sent a letter to Deputy Attorney General Cole following up on an earlier letter to U.S. Attorney General Holder sent on August 13, 2014. Both letters asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to extend a narrow, time-limited exception to federal law to allow the importation of certain strains of medical marijuana from other states for use by children in New York with severe forms of epilepsy.
Global Commission on Drug Policy
This report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Global Commission, which includes Kofi Annan, Richard Branson, and the former presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland. They not only reiterate their demands for decriminalization, alternatives to incarceration, and greater emphasis on public health approaches – but now also call for responsible legal regulation of currently-illegal drugs.
NM Secretary of Health Denies Medical Cannabis Advisory Board’s Recommendation to Add Alzheimer’s Disease and Neurodegenerative Dementia to the List of Qualifying Conditions
SANTA FE—Yesterday the Secretary of Health denied a petition to add Alzheimer’s disease to the list of medical conditions eligible for the medical cannabis program, even though the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board voted unanimously to recommend making neurodegenerative dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, qualifying conditions.
Department of Health Continues to Obstruct MAB’s Statutory Role to Advise the Program; Program Staff Refuse to Answer Any Questions Posed by the Board About the Evidence Supporting Recommended Rule Changes
SANTA FE, NM – Today, the New Mexico Medical Cannabis Advisory Board held a special hearing on proposed rule changes governing the state’s medical cannabis program. The board, frustrated that they were never formally consulted with by the Department of Health prior to releasing proposed rule changes, scheduled the hearing to listen to patients, licensed providers, advocates and the Department staff to inform their recommendations on the rules to the Department.
Physician’s Assistant Donna Smith Was Legally Enrolled in State’s Medical Cannabis Program
DPA: Presbyterian Health Services Ignoring State Law
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — Donna Smith, a veteran who served our country with distinction, and who is a licensed physician’s assistant was recently terminated from her position with Presbyterian Health Services due to her enrollment in the state’s medical marijuana program.
“As both a patient and a healthcare provider, I am deeply disappointed by Presbyterian Healthcare Systems’ decision to terminate me for nothing more than my enrollment in New Mexico's Medical Cannabis Program," said Smith.
Need for Emergency Access is Clearer than Ever with Recent Deaths
Patients, Families, and Advocates Thank Cuomo and Urge His Continued Leadership and Action to Ensure Critically Ill Patients Receive Immediate Access to Medicine
New York — Today, Governor Cuomo called for swift implementation of New York’s recently passed medical marijuana law. Since the medical marijuana bill was signed into law on July 7, three children who suffered from severe seizure disorders have already passed. These deaths have made even clearer what we already knew – the eighteen month or longer timeline for implementing New York’s medical marijuana law is simply too long for some patients who face life-threatening or terminal illnesses.
These are ten top facts about marijuana policy and effects, with detailed supporting information and citations.
Death Fuels Demand for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana for Critically Ill Patients in New York
New York -- Anna Conte, a nine year old from Orchard Park, NY who passed away last week after falling into a coma following a severe seizure, was laid to rest today. Anna suffered from Dravet Syndrome, a life-threatening seizure disorder that has been treated with medical marijuana in states where it is legal. Medical marijuana has dramatically reduced the number of seizures in many children with similar seizure disorders.
Historic Vote Falls on Heels of Votes in May to Prohibit DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws
Meanwhile Conflict Over Washington, DC Decrim Law and Legalization Ballot Measure Increases
In a historic vote today the U.S. House passed a bipartisan amendment by Representatives Heck (D-WA), Perlmutter (D-CO), Lee (D-CA) and Rohrabacher (R-CA) preventing the Treasury Department from spending any funding to penalize financial institutions that provide services to marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. The amendment passed 231 to 192.
In May, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws and passed two amendments prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp laws.