Activists protest for NY marijuana legalization with DPA's marijuana-justice focused campaign.

Legalizing Marijuana The Right Way

The Drug Policy Alliance spearheaded the successful movement to legalize marijuana. As of March 2023, almost half of Americans live in states where marijuana prohibition is no more. As marijuana legalization grows, we will ensure it’s done with equity as a core principle.

The Beginning of The Marijuana Legalization Movement

Medical Marijuana in the U.S.

California passed Proposition 215 in 1996, becoming the first state to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. DPA’s predecessor organization played a pivotal role in that win. DPA and Drug Policy Action also had a key role in roughly half of the campaigns that have legalized medical marijuana in the country. This includes the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act in New Mexico, the first state-run medical marijuana program.

Adult Use in the U.S. and Beyond

Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana in 2012. The Drug Policy Action worked closely with allies to draft these initiatives, build coalitions, and raise funds. And with our help, Uruguay followed, becoming the first country in the world to legalize marijuana in 2013. We are the only organization that was instrumental in all the first 15 victorious campaigns to legalize marijuana for adult use.

The Next Frontier

Centering Equity, Social Justice, and Community Reinvestment.

Since creating a successful marijuana legalization movement, DPA has shifted the focus to equity and justice. We ran the first campaigns that center equity, social justice, and community reinvestment. Our efforts have laid the blueprint for what the future of marijuana legalization – and justice – must look like.

Some of our Marijuana Wins To Date

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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