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. 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.


Take Action

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.

Advance research
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.

Featured Resources

Medical Marijuana
Marijuana Facts
Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?
Marijuana Concentrates
The DEA: Four Decades of Impeding and Rejecting Science

Medical Marijuana Draft Regulations Released - Regulations Do Not Include Provision for Emergency Access

Friday: One Week After Death of Eight Year Old Donella Nocero, Patients and Caregivers Rally Outside Governor Cuomo’s NYC Office to Demand Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Critically Ill Patients and Their Families Ask Cuomo to Grant Their Holiday Wish -- Access to Lifesaving Medication Before More Children Die

New York – Today, the NY Department of Health released the draft regulations for the medical marijuana program. While full analysis of the regulations is still underway, an initial review suggests New York will be one of the more restrictive programs in the country, which could inhibit patients from obtaining the relief they need. For instance, the draft regulations restrict the number of brands of medical marijuana to five initially without any clear rationale.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264

Final Year-End Federal Spending Bill Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws

Spending Bill Allows Legalization of Marijuana Possession in Washington, D.C. to Move Forward, but Prevents Taxing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol

Momentum Builds Nationally to End the Failed War on Drugs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The final “cromnibus” federal spending bill that Congress passed over the weekend contains historic language prohibiting the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws.

Contact: Michael Collins 404-539-6437 or Bill Piper 202-669-6430

Another Buffalo-area Child Dies Waiting for Emergency Access to Medical Marijuana

Family’s Pleas for Relief for Little Donella Nocera Went Unheeded

Families, Advocates Call Upon Governor Cuomo to Immediately Help Suffering New Yorkers

NEW YORK: Yesterday, 8 year old Donella Nocera of Niagra Falls passed away while waiting for emergency access to medical marijuana to ease her end-of-life suffering.

Contact: Tony Papa (646) 420-7290 or gabriel sayegh (646) 335-2264

HISTORIC VICTORY: Congress Prohibits Justice Department from Undermining State Medical Marijuana Laws

Top Congressional Leaders Side with States on Hemp Research and Medical Marijuana
 
Provisions on D.C. Marijuana Legalization Remain Unclear: Advocates Say Any Congressional Interference with Law that Passed with 70% Support is Outrageous

The final “must pass” federal spending bill that Congress will consider this week, also known as the “cromnibus,”and released by senior appropriators last night includes an amendment that prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from spending any money to undermine state medical marijuana laws. The spending bill also includes a bipartisan amendment that prohibits the DEA from blocking implementation of a federal law passed last year by Congress that allows hemp cultivation for academic and agricultural research purposes in states that allow it.

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

Why Are CBD-Focused Laws Not Enough?

August 6, 2015

Marijuana’s medical efficacy derives largely from more than 70 unique chemicals – called cannabinoids – that each have important therapeutic properties. Currently, 23 states, the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico have adopted comprehensive medical marijuana laws that provide patients with access to all of marijuana’s beneficial ingredients.

Florida Becomes First State in the South to Vote in Favor of Medical Marijuana

Loses Despite Clear Majority Support, Thanks to Unique Florida Law Requiring 60% for Ballot Initiatives and $5 Million Opposition Campaign

National Implications: Majority Support Sends Strong Message, Regardless of 60% Florida Requirement

Today, a large majority of voters in Florida approved Amendment 2, a ballot initiative that makes Florida, with its huge population and bellwether status in American politics, the very first state in the South to see a majority vote in favor of a medical marijuana law.

Contact:  Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

New Mexico Credit Unions To Close Medical Marijuana Licensed Producer Bank Accounts

Move May Force Producers to Move to a Cash-only Payment System

Santa Fe, NM - Eight months after the Federal Justice Department and Treasury Department announced new guidelines allowing banks to work with marijuana businesses, some of the credit unions in New Mexico sent letters to close to half of the State’s licensed medical marijuana producers saying they will no longer accept their business and proceeded with closing their accounts.  The credit unions assert that they are unable to comply with federal guidelines for servicing the accounts.  This move leaves producers in the lurch, with either having to operate on a cash only basis o

Contact: Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256

Cuomo Administration Asks U.S. Department of Justice to Allow New York to Acquire Medical Marijuana From Other U.S. States for Critically Ill Children

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.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264

Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies That Work

September 8, 2014
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.

34,000 New Mexicans Who Suffer from Alzheimer's Disease Denied Access to Medical Cannabis

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.

Contact: Jessica Gelay 505-573-4422 or Emily Kaltenbach 505-920-5256

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