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
First-Ever Bill in U.S. Senate to Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use
Teleconference at 3pm EST with Patients and Advocates to discuss CARERS Act
Today, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced the introduction of legislation to legalize marijuana for medical use. The Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States - CARERS - Act is the first-ever bill in the U.S. Senate to legalize marijuana for medical use and the most comprehensive medical marijuana bill ever introduced in Congress. The CARERS Act will do the following:
First-Ever Bill in U.S. Senate To Legalize Marijuana for Medical Use
Tuesday: Senate Press Conference @12:30 pm and Drug Policy Alliance Teleconference @ 3 pm Will Reveal Details
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, March 10, at 12:30pm EST, Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will host a press conference to announce sweeping bipartisan legislation that will end federal prohibition of medical marijuana, and allow patients, doctors and businesses in states with medical marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of prosecution.
Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee, Heads to Senate Floor Next Week
Statement from Ethan Nadelmann: "If medical marijuana can advance in Utah ... it can advance anywhere in the U.S."
Utah is the latest 'red' state to consider medical marijuana. Yesterday, Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.
Participants Cite Several Problems with Draft Regulations, Including Barriers for Low Income Patients
New York – Today, elected officials, patients, and more than twenty community groups gathered at Hostos Community College in the Bronx to discuss the proposed regulations for New York’s medical marijuana program. At the end of December, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released more than a hundred pages of draft regulations outlining many features of the proposed program.
Forum Will Address Concerns with Proposed Regulations, Including Access for Low Income Patients
New York – Tuesday, February 3rd, patients, community members, providers and elected officials will join together to discuss New York’s medical marijuana law and provide community feedback on the State’s recently introduced draft regulations that will shape New York’s medical marijuana program. The event is being held at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the poorest county in the state, where providers have raised significant concerns that the medical marijuana program could leave low income communities behind.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.