Marijuana News


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 [...]

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, [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

“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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Take action: Save bail reform in New Jersey Author: Date Published: July 18, 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 [...]

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. [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Washington, D.C. – This morning the Council of the District of Columbia is expected to pass two emergency resolutions opposing a recent effort led by U.S. House Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) to use congressional oversight to block the District of Columbia from spending any of its locally-raised revenues to enact marijuana reform. On June 25th, the House Appropriations Committee adopted an amendment by Rep. Harris that is directed at blocking implementation of a recent law the District of Col [...]

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 [...]

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy today. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug policies, such as reducing the use of mandatory minimum sentencing. The Administration’s [...]

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 [...]

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (more commonly known as the Drug Czar’s office; ONDCP) released its 2014 National Drug Control Strategy today. The strategy has shifted some from previous years in that it more clearly focuses on reducing the harms associated with substance misuse, such as overdose and the transmission of HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, and other infectious diseases, while also reducing the harms associated with punitive drug policies, such as reduc [...]

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 [...]

NEW YORK: On Wednesday, July 9th at 11am, elected officials, community members and the coalition, New Yorkers for Public Health & Safety, will rally on the Steps of City Hall to call for comprehensive reform to address racially biased marijuana arrests and devastating collateral consequences. What: Press Conference to introduce the Fairness and Equity Act — a comprehensive reform to fix New York’s broken decriminalization law and address collateral consequences When: Wednesday, July 9th 11a [...]

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 [...]

At the semi-annual summit of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which concluded in Antigua this weekend, CARICOM leaders agreed to establish a commission to review marijuana policy in the region in order to assess the need for reforms to marijuana laws. The communiqué issued at the conclusion of the meeting stated that “Heads of Government agreed to establish a Regional Commission on Marijuana to conduct a rigorous enquiry into the social, economic, health and legal issues [...]

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 [...]

Monday at 10 a.m., the D.C. Cannabis Campaign will submit 58,000 signatures to the D.C. Board of Elections at 441 4th Street NW Suite 250,  in order to place Initiative 71 on the November ballot. The Board of Elections will have 30 days to verify that the campaign has the required 23,780 signatures to qualify. Monday at 12 pm noon, members of the campaign will join D.C. elected officials on a national press teleconference to discuss the impact of the ballot initiative and the City Council’s bill [...]

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 [...]

The year 2014 has seen several significant drug policy reform milestones. And today marks a major historical anniversary in the nation’s efforts toward eliminating discriminatory practices from government policy, and bringing hope to communities of color nationwide. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the implementation of the Civil Rights Act. The embodiment of this hope was captured with the release of the critically acclaimed Sam Cooke single, “A Change is Gonna Come.” Collectively, as we ref [...]

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 [...]

Last week, I attended the Cannabis Business Summit, hosted by the National Cannabis Industry Association in Denver. At first glance, the gathering looked like any other trade show, but with one almost surreal exception, that the Denver Convention Center was teeming with businesses, investors and policy organizations showcasing the burgeoning legal marijuana market. As a policy reformer based in New York, I was excited to see the vast array of marijuana providers and ancillary businesses, like li [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]