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. 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-three 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. 

Assembly Health Committee Holds Hearings in Buffalo on Medical Marijuana in Advance of 2014 Legislative Session

Western NY Patients and Families Join Medical Experts in Calling on Legislature to Take Immediate Action to Pass Legislation

Twenty States and D.C. Have Medical Marijuana Programs To End the Needless Suffering of Patients

Buffalo -- Today, dozens of patients and caregivers of those living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions gathered in Buffalo for a hearing of the NY State Assembly Health Committee. In a series of compelling personal testimonies, they demanded that the New York State Senate pass the Compassionate Care Act -- A.6357-A(Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino).

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

December 5th: Assembly Health Committee to Hold Hearings in Buffalo on Medical Marijuana in Advance of 2014 Legislative Session

Western NY Patients and Families Will Join Medical Experts in Calling on Legislature to Take Immediate Action to Pass Legislation

Buffalo – On Thursday, December 5th, dozens of patients living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions will gather in Buffalo for a hearing of the NY State Assembly Health Committee.  They will travel from across Western and Central New York to demand that the New York State legislature pass the Compassionate Care Act -- A.6357-A (Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino) -- immediately.

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

Largest County in New Mexico Bucks Medical Marijuana Law, Prohibits County Employees From Using Medical Marijuana

New Policy Follows Firing of Iraq Veteran

Veterans, Patients, Physicians and Advocates Fighting Back

(Albuquerque, NM) – New Mexico’s largest county is bucking the state’s medical marijuana law by prohibiting any use of marijuana by county employees, following a new policy issued on November 12 by Bernalillo County Manager Tom Zdunek. The county memorandum cites federal prohibition and county policy as the reason for prohibiting the use of marijuana.

Contact:  Jessica Gelay 505-573-4422 or Tommy McDonald 510-229-5215

New Mexico Patients and Veterans Fighting Employment Discrimination and Stigma from Medical Professionals that Create Barriers to Medical Marijuana

November 9: New Mexico State Rep. Antonio Maestas, Veterans and the Drug Policy Alliance Come Together to Share Stories and Answer Questions About Veterans’ Access to Medical Marijuana

Albuquerque -- After many returning veterans seeking to enroll in New Mexico’s medical marijuana program to combat symptoms of PTSD and other qualifying conditions began sharing stories of obstacles they encountered from doctors and employers, and unnecessary stigma from the community, advocates, fellow veterans and policy makers are teaming up to host a public summit launching a new campaign addressing New Mexico’s military veterans’ legal access to medical marijuana.

Contact: Alex Curtas 702-301-7306 or Jessica Gelay 505-573-4422

Building Dedication Ceremony for Second Medical Marijuana Alternative Treatment Center this Friday in Egg Harbor

Compassionate Care Foundation to Name Dispensary in Honor of Late Medical Marijuana Advocate Diane Riportella

EGG HARBOR—This Friday, October 18th, Compassionate Care Foundation will hold a ceremony to dedicate its soon-to-open medical marijuana dispensary to Diane Riportella, a medical marijuana advocate who lost her battle with ALS last year.  Officiating the ceremony will be William Thomas, CEO of Compassionate Care, and Paul Riportella, Diane’s husband.  The dispensary is located at 100 Century Drive in Egg Harbor Township.

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Roseanne Scotti 609-610-8243

Historic U.S. Senate Hearing on Marijuana Legalization

Drug Policy Alliance: Era of Robust State-Based Regulation Has Begun

Majority of Americans Now Support Legalizing and Regulating Marijuana like Alcohol

Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a first-ever Senate hearing on the issue of marijuana legalization and the tension between state and federal marijuana laws.

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

Two Bills Introduced in California Legislature to Tightly Regulate Medical Marijuana

New state level regulations establish a division of the Alcoholic Beverage Control

SACRAMENTO, CA — The president of the California Senate and Chair of Assembly Public Safety introduced bills yesterday to crack down on illegal cultivation and distribution under guise of medical marijuana, and to create one of the most comprehensive regulatory structures in the country to allow bona fide patients to access medical marijuana, from state registered growers, transporters and dispensaries, and to reduce diversion to non-medical users.

Contact: Tamar Todd: 510-229-5213 or Amanda Reiman 510-730-2811

New York City Comptroller Releases Report Calling for the Establishment of a Medical Marijuana Program

Report Shows that 100,000 Seriously Ill New York City Residents Could Benefit from Medical Marijuana

Patients, Healthcare Professionals, and Advocates Call on State Legislature to Pass Compassionate Care Act Immediately

NEW YORK - Today, New York City Comptroller John Liu released a report calling on the state legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would create a carefully regulated medical marijuana program in New York.  The report details how more than 100,000 seriously ill New York City residents could benefit from medical marijuana.  The report notes that there is strong scientific evidence that medical marijuana can help alleviate the suffering of those living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and a number of other serious illness

Contact: gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264 or Julie Netherland: 347-781-5435

White House Will Allow Marijuana Legalization Laws to Proceed in Colorado and Washington

Historic Breakthrough in Struggle to End Marijuana Prohibition

Attorney General Eric Holder informed the governors of Washington and Colorado today that the Department of Justice will allow the states to implement their ballot initiatives that legalized the production, distribution, and sale of marijuana for adults. Deputy Attorney General James Cole also issued a memo to U.S. attorneys across the country outlining priorities for federal prosecutors enforcing marijuana laws. 
The directive will also apply to the 20 states that have legalized marijuana for medical purposes.


Tony Newman (646-335-5384)

Ethan Nadelmann (646-335-2240)

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