Marijuana News


Call on Pres. Obama to appoint a replacement for Attorney General Holder who will take drug policy reform to the next level. Author: Date Published: September 26, 2014 Published by Drug Policy Alliance [...]

A study that recently appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows a significant decrease in opiate overdoses in states that have adopted and implemented medical marijuana laws compared to states that have not. The authors showed that although opiate overdoses rose in states without medical marijuana laws during 2009-2010, they dropped by approximately 25 percent in states with medical marijuana laws during that same period. While these data cannot show a causal relationship [...]

Attorney General Eric Holder announced today that he will be resigning from office once a replacement is found. Drug policy and criminal justice reform advocates expressed disappointment he is leaving office, praising his leadership and calling on President Obama to nominate a replacement who will carry on Holder’s reform work.   "Holder will go down in history as the Attorney General who began unwinding the war on drugs and steering our country away from mass incarceration,” said Bill Pipe [...]

It’s just about one year since EZoo made the news by cancelling its third day after two highly publicized deaths due to drug use.  Preparations for the 2014 event have seen many changes to how drug use will be handled – some good, and some bad. But what remains unchanged is that we’re still not talking about how underlying drug war policies prevent the best interventions for health & safety from taking place. EZoo promoters are doing what they can.  They’ve hired “Zookeepers” – young medical [...]

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 [...]

Movie was commissioned by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, developed by Almap/BBDO agency and produced by Vetor Zero studio in Brazil. International leaders of the Commission prepare to launch report in September with groundbreaking recommendations for major paradigm shift in global drug policy To view the movie in English, click here:   São Paulo, Brazil, August 26th – Today, the global fight to reform drug laws and put an end to the war on drugs gained a powerf [...]

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 [...]

SANTA MONICA, CA – On Sunday, August 31 from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m., members of A New PATH (Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing) Los Angeles will host their annual commemoration of International Overdose Awareness Day at the Santa Monica Pier and Palisades Park. The event is free and members of the public impacted by a drug overdose are encouraged to attend. The press conference at Palisades Park begins at 11 a.m. Drug Policy Alliance proudly supports A New PATH LA and hundreds of organiz [...]

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 [...]

The dramatic uprising in Ferguson, MO following the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, at the hands of a white police officer has become an international news story. As in the case of Trayvon Martin’s murder in Florida by a paranoid neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012, racism has been at the forefront of the discussion and so too inevitably has been the drug war. The images of a militarized police force in Ferguson are shocking and disturbing but, as John Oliver brillia [...]

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 [...]

Denver, CO – Governor John Hickenlooper has introduced his administration’s marijuana prevention campaign to deter underage consumption. The theme of the campaign is marijuana’s potential impact on the developing adolescent brain, using the slogan “don’t be a lab rat.” The administration plans to place human sized rat cages throughout the city of Denver, particularly at high-traffic bus stops. While flashy and memorable, the campaign has raised concerns among advocates who question the credibili [...]

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 [...]

SACRAMENTO, CA — Facing its final Assembly hearing, the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) won approval today. Mitchell’s bill will correct the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation and asset forfeiture guidelines for possession of crack cocaine for sale versus the same crime involving powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California. SB 1010 returns to the Senate for [...]

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 [...]

National news headlines as of late have focused on immigration reform as the main Latino issue that will drive Hispanics in numbers to the polls come midterm season, but immigration reform should not be the only thing on Latino voters or politicians’ minds. Drug policy reform is very much a Latino issue and something that more Hispanic organizations should pay mind to. In 2011 nearly 52 million Hispanics lived in the U.S., accounting for 17 percent of the U.S. population, a modest jump from 13 p [...]

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 [...]

Is the recent effort in Brush, CO to turn an abandoned prison into a marijuana cultivation facility a sign of our drug policy future? Private prisons are closing all over the country and in places like California, Washington and Colorado, real estate markets are impacted by local marijuana industries.  The situation in Brush brings the two recent phenomena together in a story of incarceration to legalization. Over the last 40 years, marijuana prohibition and the system of mass incarceration repr [...]

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 [...]

Today the Washington, D.C. Board of Elections ruled that Initiative 71, an initiative reforming D.C.’s marijuana laws, has enough valid signatures in order to qualify for the November ballot. One month ago, the D.C. Cannabis Campaign submitted 57,000 signatures, more than twice the number needed to qualify for the ballot.    “It is clear from the number of signatures the campaign was able to submit that citizens want a major change in D.C’s marijuana laws,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. Policy Ma [...]

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 [...]

Recently on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver delivered a great segment on the American prison system. One of the issues he addressed was the public’s apathy toward and alarming amusement by the occurrence of rape in prisons. “It’s so easy not to care about prisoners,” he said. “They are, by definition, convicted criminals. In fact, it’s so easy not to care that we are really comfortable making jokes about one of the most horrifying things that can potentially happen to them.” Rape. Sexual assault [...]

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 [...]

The New York Times made history last weekend when they became the first national paper to call for marijuana legalization. What makes the news so huge is not only their position, but the passion and space they are giving to the issue. In addition to the lead editorial, “Repeal Prohibition, Again”, there is a six-part series on marijuana legalization with long, thoughtful editorials on related issues such as criminal justice, public health, regulatory models, and so forth. It is now time for our [...]

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 [...]

Dr. Malik Burnett, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, D.C., is a former surgeon and physician advocate. He also served as executive director of a medical marijuana nonprofit organization.   Dear Docs: I have heard that marijuana use can lead to lower IQ, but I have also seen marijuana use help children with seizure disorders. I know that alcohol kills brain cells, is it true the marijuana also kills brain cells? Sincerely,Head-scratcher Dear Head-scratcher, Thanks for you [...]

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 [...]

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. The Go [...]

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 [...]

Add your name: Support the NJ Hepatitis C Action Campaign. Author: Date Published: July 28, 2014 Published by Drug Policy Alliance [...]

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 [...]

The New York Times editorial board made history today by calling for an end to marijuana prohibition. The paper of record broke new ground by calling for the federal government to end the ban on marijuana. The forceful editorial linked marijuana prohibition to the failed alcohol prohibition policy of the 1930’s, and said marijuana is a less dangerous substance than alcohol. The Times cited mass marijuana arrests and racist marijuana law enforcement as further provocation for the paper's pos [...]

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 week, nine year-old Anna Conte died after a long battle with a seizure disorder.  Anna and her family had been at the center of a successful fight to pass a medical marijuana law in New York.  Medical marijuana has dramatically reduced life-threatening seizures in other children with Anna’s condition. Her family, working with patients and caregivers across New York, persuaded lawmakers, who had been considering legislation for eighteen years, to finally pass a medical marijuana law this Jun [...]

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 [...]

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. In an effort to help their daughter, the Conte family joined the successf [...]

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 [...]

In a report published earlier this month, the World Health Organization (WHO) made a clear call for broad drug policy reforms, including decriminalization of drug use, harm reduction practices such as syringe exchange and opioid substitution therapy, and a ban on compulsory treatment for people who use drugs. This report by the United Nations’ leading health agency focuses on best practices to prevent, diagnose and treat HIV among key populations. “It’s good to see the WHO come out so strongly f [...]

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 [...]

Washington, D.C. – Today the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to retroactively apply an amendment approved earlier this year by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that lowers Federal Guidelines for sentencing persons convicted of drug trafficking offenses. Today’s vote could shorten sentences for tens of thousands of people who are already incarcerated and serving sentences for drug offenses by granting eligible individuals a hearing before a federal judge to evaluate whether their sentence can be r [...]

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 le [...]

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

Those who would perpetuate the failed drug war claim they want to protect the children. But nothing could be further from the truth. The drug war overall, and marijuana prohibition specifically, hurts young people. Restrictive marijuana policies and limited medical marijuana laws have simultaneously kept very sick children from getting the medicine they need and saddled tens of thousands of young people with criminal records that severely limit their future chances in life. Our marijuana policie [...]

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 [...]

As Oregon voters consider Measure 91, a bill on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older, many are looking to how similar laws are affecting Colorado and Washington. Colorado began implementation of Amendment 64 in January of this year.  According to the state’s department of revenue, the first seven months of legal marijuana sales resulted in more than $27 million in taxes and fees.  Currently, $5.3 million has been raised to improve Colorado [...]

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 [...]

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. The letters follow the deaths of several children and a sustaine [...]

Trenton— In New Jersey, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death.  In response to this public health problem, Governor Christie signed the Overdose Prevention Act in May of 2013. On New Jersey’s first ever Overdose Awareness Day, advocates who supported the bill’s passage now remain focused on successful implementation of the law. The Overdose Prevention Act encourages people to seek emergency medical assistance in overdose situations by providing limited protections from arrest an [...]

SACRAMENTO, CA — Late yesterday evening, Governor Jerry Brown signed the California Fair Sentencing Act (SB 1010) authored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles). The legislation eliminates the groundless disparity in sentencing, probation, and asset forfeiture guidelines for possession of crack cocaine for sale versus the same crime involving powder cocaine that has resulted in a pattern of racial discrimination in sentencing and incarceration in California. The law takes effect in January. “Th [...]

Tell Gov. Brown: Save Lives and Expand Access to Naloxone and Sterile Syringes in CA Author: Date Published: August 27, 2014 Published by Drug Policy Alliance [...]