NORML Policy on Medical Use

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"Marijuana should be available to all patients who need it to help them undergo treatment for life threatening illnesses. As long as therapy is safe and has not been proven ineffective, seriously ill patients (and their physicians) should have access to whatever they need to fight for their lives."
The New England Journal of Medicine, August 7, 1997

Medical Marijuana

Marijuana prohibition applies to every one, including the sick and dying. Of all the negative consequences of prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal marijuana to the tens of thousands of seriously ill patients who could benefit from its use. This includes cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, AIDS patients suffering from "wasting syndrome," glaucoma patients, and those suffering from chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and a variety of spastic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and epilepsy. Marijuana should be immediately made available by prescription to seriously ill patients.

NORML first raised this issue in 1972 in an administrative petition asking that marijuana be rescheduled so it could be prescribed as a medicine. After 16 years of legal battles and appeals, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young found: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances know to man.... Marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of the evidence in this record." Judge Young further recommended that marijuana be made available as a legal medicine. The DEA Administrator overruled Judge Young, and the Court of Appeals allowed that decision to stand, denying medical marijuana to seriously ill patients. Much of NORML's efforts focus on lobbying both state legislators and Congress to correct this injustice.

Learn more about medical marijuana.