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What is the Society’s position on the use of marijuana for medical purposes?
The Society supports the rights of people with MS to work with their health care provider to access cannabis for medical purposes in accordance with legal regulations in those states where such use has been approved. In addition, the Society supports the need for more research to better understand the benefits and potential risks of cannabis and its derivatives as a treatment for MS and its symptoms.
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By Federal law it is unlawful to manufacture, distribute, or dispense, or possess with intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with intent to distribute or dispense cannabis. However, since 2014 Congress has passed language through annual appropriations bills known as the Rohrabacher–Farr Amendment to reduce uncertainty around state laws governing the use of medical cannabis. This amendment prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent states which have passed medical cannabis laws from implementing those laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical cannabis.
This language effectively prohibits the Department of Justice from enforcing the Controlled Substances Act as it applies to medical cannabis.
Does the Society advocate for access to medical marijuana?
The National MS Society supports the ability of people living with MS to make informed choices about their treatments with their MS health care providers, including the use of medical cannabis. Recognizing that additional research is still needed, we are evaluating ways we can remove the barriers to allowing research on medical cannabis at the federal level. We advocate legalizing medical cannabis at the state level.