Marijuana News


It may be an off-year election, but it's a big one for drug policy reform. In seven weeks, voters across the country will have a chance to accelerate the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war. In fact, there are more drug policy reform questions on the ballot this November than ever in American history. Voter initiatives — primarily reforming or repealing marijuana laws — appear on the ballots in seven states, at least 17 municipalities and one U.S. terri [...]

Take action now and demand that Secretary Hagel end the program that fosters excessive police militarization. Author: Date Published: August 22, 2014 Published by Drug Policy Alliance [...]

Today, a Washington Post/ NBC News/Marist poll shows support for Initiative 71, which would legalize marijuana, at 65% among likely D.C. voters. Initiative 71 allows adults over the age of 21 to possess up to two ounces of marijuana on their person at any time, and allows for the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home. District law prevents the ballot initiative from addressing the sale of marijuana. However, the D.C. Council is currently considering a bill which will tax and regulate [...]

Santa Fe-  Today the city of Santa Fe's City Clerk announced the Reducing Marijuana Penalties Campaign submitted enough valid signatures to qualify for the city's citizen initiative process setting the stage to give voters in Santa Fe a vote on reducing marijuana penalties. The Reducing Marijuana Penalties Campaign headed by Drug Policy Action and ProgressNow NM, submitted close to 11,000 signatures in 52 days, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot. The initiative [...]

I have been blown away to see how a committed group of leaders can have a global impact when it comes to the world’s longest war: the war on drugs. Last week the Global Commission on Drug Policy made worldwide news at a press conference in New York when they called for not just ending the criminalization of people who use drugs, but also the responsible legal regulation of drugs.  And they weren’t just talking about marijuana – they call for legal regulation of as many drugs as possible. The Com [...]

SACRAMENTO, CA — Yesterday, the California legislature passed Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s important drug overdose prevention bill (AB 1535), which would permit pharmacists to furnish the opiate overdose antidote naloxone, pursuant to procedures developed by the Board of Pharmacy and the Medical Board of California. The bill now heads to the Governor’s desk for his signature. “The bipartisan support of the Legislature is gratifying and will directly help many California families,” said Assembl [...]

Carl Hart, PhD, a neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, recently gave a compelling TEDMED Talk in which he dispelled the myths about drugs, drug use and drug misuse. In the talk, Hart eloquently discussed the negative influence that drug hysteria had on the flawed drug laws the United States grapples with today. His unflinching, eye-opening talk mirrored his widely-renowned book, High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That C [...]

Amanda Reiman, PhD, policy manager in California, holds a doctorate in Social Welfare and teaches classes on drug policy at the University of California-Berkeley.   Dear Doctors, I have not smoked, vaporized or eaten any marijuana in about seven months but I continue to use a topical application for pain every few days or so. Am I likely to test positive for cannabis use in a urinalysis? Thank you,R. Dear R., Thank you for your question. Topical cannabis applications can be extremely helpful for [...]

I don’t smoke, but I find myself fascinated by and passionate about the debate over e-cigarettes.  Why?  Because e-cigarettes illustrate how harm reduction approaches to drug policy, particularly maintenance or substitution therapies, are at once both filled with promise and deeply misunderstood. The U.S., using public health approaches, has made incredible strides in reducing the number of smokers. But 480,000 people in the U.S. will die from cigarette smoking each year, a number that has remai [...]

Have you seen the viral anti-drug PSA making the rounds this week? The one where the wholesome looking guy at the rave is rolling really, really hard on some unknown substance, feverishly rubbing it on his gums and sweating up a storm while blathering about pretty hair and the amazing beats? And the pretty girl thinks he’s kind of gross and scary? It’s your basic, old-school ‘just say no’ public service announcement, where there are no actual facts about drugs and not a single tip for how to sta [...]

Earlier today, Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced legislation to reform the Pentagon program, which transfers military equipment to law enforcement. The program has come under increased scrutiny from lawmakers after images from Ferguson, Missouri, showed law enforcement dressed like combat soldiers, using military equipment to deal with protestors. The Pentagon program has its roots in the drug war, coming to fruition in the early 90s as the U.S. government militarized [...]

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 [...]

Jokes filled the crisp, foggy early morning air at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. “We’re all number 420! Is that so we don’t get confused?” joked a young man. “I hope everyone remembers that this is today,” laughed a young woman as she laced up her running shoes. But, all jokes aside, there were nearly one hundred people gathering outside the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco on that chilly morning, and they were there to voluntarily run 3.2 miles at 8 a.m. on a Saturday, all in the name [...]

Trenton, NJ—Today the New Jersey State Assembly passed major bail reform legislation.  The legislation has already passed in the State Senate and will now go to Governor Christie’s desk for consideration.  The bail reform legislation is comprised of two pieces.  The first is a resolution that would put a question on the ballot for voters to decide whether to amend the state constitution to allow the preventative detention of dangerous offenders (SCR128/ACR177).  The second part is legislation th [...]

SACRAMENTO, CA—Yesterday, Governor Jerry Brown signed Assemblymember Richard Bloom’s pharmacy naloxone bill (AB 1535), which will permit pharmacists to furnish the opiate overdose reversal medicine naloxone hydrochloride upon request. Previously, naloxone was available only by prescription from a healthcare provider or from a handful of naloxone distribution programs throughout the state. The bill, sponsored by the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Pharmacists Association, was strongly sup [...]

Washington, D.C. – Senator Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced the Overdose Prevention Act today with Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Senator Edward Markey (D-MA) and Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT). The legislation supports community-based efforts to prevent fatal drug overdoses from opioid pain medications, heroin and other drugs. The Overdose Prevention Act is being introduced as a Senate companion to the Stop Overdose Stat (S.O.S.) Act (H.R. 4169), which was authored e [...]

Dear Doctors, I am 18 years old and about to start my freshman year of college. Honestly, I feel very unprepared by the drug education classes I had in high school. I have never tried marijuana and I do not know if I want to, but I know it will be around at college so I was wondering if you had any advice for incoming freshman like myself? Sincerely, Wondering Freshman Dear Wondering, Thank you for your question. You are correct that most drug education classes leave out important safety informa [...]

A diverse coalition of more than 80 civil rights, immigration, criminal justice, racial justice, human rights, libertarian and religious organizations are joined by notable figures such as Michelle Alexander in calling for an end to the war on drugs in the name of protecting children both in Latin America and here in the United States. The supporters of the letter – which include the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, Center for Constitutional Rights, Institute of the Black World, [...]

This week the Global Commission on Drug Policy is releasing a new, groundbreaking report called Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work. It reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Commissioners, who include 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 [...]

Last Monday, Bill O’Reilly included a segment on marijuana criminalization in his Fox News show. When I tuned in to watch Stephen Gutwillig, Deputy Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, speak in support of marijuana legalization, I was struck by O’Reilly’s vitriolic response to marijuana policy reform. O’Reilly’s reaction to The New York Times’ recent call for marijuana legalization echoed the all-too-familiar tradition of engaging drug war politics in the larger battleground for racia [...]

Today, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Richard Branson and others. The Commissioners will then meet with UN Secretary General Ban K [...]

July 30, 2014 — High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self-Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (HarperCollins, 2013), the groundbreaking memoir/big science book written by neuroscientist and associate professor of psychology and psychiatry at Columbia University, Dr. Carl Hart, won the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award, the organization announced this morning. At the time of the announcement, the author and professor was in Zurich studying how t [...]

On Tuesday, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include Richard Branson, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss and others. The report reflects a new evolution in the thinking of the Commissioners, who reiterate their demands for decrim [...]

The New York Times editorial board made history yesterday, as the first major national paper to call for an end to marijuana prohibition. And how they did it is half the story – with rare flash and panache, as well as the intellectual and moral substance to back it up. The Times’ editorial has the feel of legendary CBS News anchor Walter Cronkite coming out against the Vietnam war. They dropped a bomb on our country’s disastrous war on marijuana with unprecedented force. Some people think of the [...]

It seems far enough beyond this past weekend’s Electric Zoo festival to say, “thank goodness.” No one died and there were no major hospitalizations.  Unfortunately, you can be sure that promoters and city officials alike will attribute this to their “airport security in a war zone” security and policing tactics. Like most other attendees, as I walked in on Friday and Saturday I had to pass two drug sniffing dogs, take off and shake out my shoes at the security point and allow my bag a thorough s [...]

Most arguments in favor of prohibition don’t pass the smell test anymore, yet some of the more entrenched positions remain. Here is some perspective on these arguments, and why they’re plain wrong. 1. Prohibition doesn’t inhibit drug use, just our ability to prevent drug abuse. Legal or not, people will continue to use drugs. Prohibition makes it socially acceptable to treat drug users as criminals, and to prevent people with substance abuse problems from accessing treatment for fear of legal re [...]

On September 5th, 1989 President George H.W. Bush gave a speech from the Oval Office that defined a generation (link:…).  Declaring an escalation of the war on drugs he held up a bag of crack cocaine that he said undercover agents bought in the park across the street from the White House. It later turned out that federal agents lured someone to the park to sell crack just so the president could say it was bought from in f [...]

Trenton—To commemorate World Hepatitis Day, advocates are launching the Hepatitis C Action Campaign and collecting petition signatures urging the New Jersey Legislature to take action on Senate Bill 876 / Assembly Bill 2555, which would require hospitals and health care professionals to offer hepatitis C testing to people born between 1945 and 1965. Three quarters of individuals with hepatitis C are in this age group and the vast majority are unaware that they are infected with the virus. Hepati [...]

Final Step: Tell Gov. Brown to Sign the California Fair Sentencing Act Author: Date Published: September 3, 2014 Published by Drug Policy Alliance [...]

Perhaps the terrible truth of drug war violence will finally be addressed as all of America bore witness this summer to the horror of some 52,000 unaccompanied children who were fleeing devastating violence that had erupted in Central America.  Alone, they had braved the treacherous crossing of the border that divides America from Mexico and most of us first encountered them when we saw the smallest of children, terrified, and being held in cages.  Those images put before our national consciousn [...]

On Tuesday, September 9, the Global Commission on Drug Policy will release Taking Control: Pathways to Drug Policies that Work, a new, groundbreaking report at a press conference in New York City. The event will be live-streamed and speakers include, former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, former Colombian President César Gaviria, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss, Richard Branson and others. The Commissioners will then meet with UN Secr [...]

Take action: Save bail reform in New Jersey Author: Date Published: July 18, 2014 Published by Drug Policy Alliance [...]

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. Alzheimer’s disease, similar to many of the conditions presently included in New Mexico’s Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, is a neurologic disease and h [...]

Washington, D.C. – A far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law took effect in the District of Columbia today that replaces jail time with a $25 fine for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. However, advocates emphasize that there is still more work to be done in the nation’s capital to reduce severe racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement by D.C. police officers. The Drug Policy Alliance has published an online resource that explains what the public needs to know about D. [...]

When preparing for a festival, we put a heavy emphasis on the preemptive measures we ought to take before we do anything that may alter our minds – like educating ourselves on drugs and their effects, testing what we ingest, and staying hydrated. But real harm reduction is about so much more than reducing the negative consequences associated with our own drug use. It’s about the opportunity to combat ignorance with information by helping others make better, safer choices.  And when that opportun [...]

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 [...]

Dear Doctors, I have heard that cannabis use can cause certain people to develop mental disorders like psychosis especially if started at an early age, is this true? Sincerely,Concerned Mother   Dear Concerned, Thanks for your question, it is one which people have posted a number of times to this blog. The topic of mental illness, much like cannabis, has a certain stigma in everyday society. Many people who have mental health issues are afraid to discuss them publically, and the amount of resour [...]

Washington, D.C. – A far-reaching marijuana decriminalization law takes effect in the District of Columbia Thursday that replaces jail time with a $25 fine for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana, ending a year-long effort in the nation’s capital to reduce severe racial disparities in marijuana law enforcement by D.C. police officers. The “Marijuana Possession Decriminalization Amendment Act of 2014” takes effect tomorrow despite an ongoing Republican-led effort in Congress to block [...]

“We don’t see human-scale rat cages as something that’s going to be seen as a positive or intelligent way to approach young people…We worry about some of the messages…and that how they are worded could feed into stereotypes, especially since that is a time when peer approval is so important.” That's from Boulder Valley School District communications director Briggs Gamblin, in an interview with the Boulder Weekly explaining why BVSD officials, representing 28,171 students in the greater Bou [...]

WASHINGTON, D.C.—In a Statement of Administration Policy today the White House expressed strong opposition to a Republican amendment by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) that is directed at blocking implementation of a recent law the District of Columbia passed replacing jail time for possessing small amounts of marijuana for personal use with a small fine. The statement calls marijuana reform a “states’ rights” issue, a groundbreaking policy position for the White House to take. The D.C. Council also pas [...]

Dear Doctors, “Medical marijuana laws are popping up all over the country, however some of them only allow for strains high in CBD, for kids with seizures. I always thought of THC and marijuana. What’s all this CBD talk about?” CBD Skeptic   Dear Skeptic, Thank you for your question. CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is a compound which has shown remarkable benefits in children with severe epilepsy. However, CBD is just one of the estimated 66 cannabinoids which work in conjunction with over 40 [...]

Montclair, NJ (PRWEB) August 27, 2014 PAINWeek, the National Conference on Pain for Frontline Practitioners, today announced that Ethan Nadelmann, JD, PhD, will deliver the Keynote Address at PAINWeek 2014. Dr. Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the leading organization in the United States promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. As a longtime proponent of drug policy reform, both domestically and internationally, he has played a pivotal role in disc [...]

The blatant contradiction of America's drug war, that prohibition will protect young people, has to end. From Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No,” to the adoption of D.A.R.E. programs in public schools, young people have been used as political leverage to continue prohibitive drug strategies in spite of the detrimental effects to our welfare. And because young people are ushered into the criminal justice system under the guise of fighting drug use, it’s incumbent for young people to say no more, n [...]

Every year around this time, people around the world who work on issues related to overdose prevention start talking about what they might protest or which issue we might organize ourselves around for International Overdose Awareness Day (August 31). In previous years, some of us have called out the philanthropic community for their lack of significant financial commitment to the public health problem of overdose. We’ve raised money for small but essential naloxone distribution programs; we’ve d [...]

Can the ballot really end marijuana prohibition and the drug war? The short answer is yes. As my esteemed colleague, Stephen Gutwillig, wrote earlier this week, “voter initiatives — primarily reforming or repealing marijuana laws — appear on the ballots in seven states, at least 17 municipalities and one U.S. territory.” And today, National Voter Registration Day, provides us with a great opportunity to remember one of the most powerful weapons against the failed war on drugs: the ballot. In 2 [...]

NEW YORK, NY – On Thursday, August 28 from 8 p.m. until 10 p.m., members of New York’s DanceSafe chapter will host a free evening of harm reduction preparation called “Surviving Zoo” for this upcoming weekend’s three-day Electric Zoo music festival. Volunteers from New York’s DanceSafe chapter will give away free gift bags containing drug information cards, earplugs and condoms. They will also have personal drug checking kits for sale that allow for individuals to test for adulterants in most il [...]

The war on drugs is a cruel joke. The U.S. spends more than $50 billion a year on the "war on drugs" with the goal of creating a "drug-free society" – yet there has never been a “drug-free society” in the history of civilization. Virtually all of us take drugs every single day.  Caffeine, sugar, alcohol, marijuana, Prozac, Ritalin, opiates and nicotine are just some of the substances that Americans use on a regular basis. Drugs are so popular because people use them for both [...]

A New PATH and Moms United to End the War on Drugs campaign partners in the U.S. and abroad will participate in International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 and the week prior to it. These events honor and remember those who have lost their lives to an overdose. It is also an opportunity to educate policymakers and the public about the growing overdose crisis in the United States and abroad – and to offer concrete solutions that save lives. Each day 105 people die of accidental overdose in [...]

I was very saddened to receive news that Joe McNamara died a few days ago.  Joe first spoke out publicly for drug policy reform when he was the police chief of San Jose in the late 1980s and early 1990s.  He was an active member of the board of the Drug Policy Foundation in the 1990s and of DPA’s board in the early 2000s, after which he joined our Honorary Board. Joe was a remarkable and courageous man.  Reading through the obituaries this weekend, I learned a lot about his leadership as a polic [...]

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. The Medical Advisory Board, licen [...]