New York: NYC Comptroller Calls For Establishment of a Medical Marijuana Program


Report Shows that 100,000 Seriously Ill New York City Residents Could Benefit from Medical Marijuana

Patients, Healthcare Professionals, and Advocates Call on State Legislature to Pass Compassionate Care Act Immediately

New York City Comptroller John Liu on Thursday released a report calling on the Legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would create a carefully regulated medical marijuana program in New York. The report details how more than 100,000 seriously ill New York City residents could benefit from medical marijuana.

The report notes that there is strong scientific evidence that medical marijuana can help alleviate the suffering of those living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and a number of other serious illnesses. Patients and medical professionals joined Comptroller Liu in calling for the immediate passage of the Compassionate Care Act.

"As a stage 4 metastatic cancer patient I can't be cured, but medical marijuana improves the quality of my life and allows me to be me, rather than at the mercy of my disease," said Beverly McClain, a member of Compassionate Care New York, a group of patients, healthcare providers and organizations who support the Compassionate Care Act. "Why can't we have the best possible lives in the time we have left?"

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have passed medical marijuana programs, and more than 116 million Americans (37 percent of the total U.S. population) now live in states where access to medical marijuana is legal.

New York City Comptroller Releases Report Detailing Costs of Marijuana Prohibition


Report Calls for the Taxation and Regulation of Marijuana for Adults

Advocates Demand a Comprehensive Overhaul of New York’s Racially Biased and Broken Marijuana Policies

New York City Comptroller John Liu on Tuesday announced the release of a report calling for a system to tax and regulate marijuana for adult recreational use. The report, to be released Wednesday (August 14), comes two days after Federal Judge Shira A. Scheindlin condemned the city’s police department’s use of stop and frisk – which has resulted in 600,000 unlawful arrests for marijuana possession since 1997 – as racially-biased.

That same day, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder called for Americans to rethink the “unintended consequences” of the War On Drugs. Comptroller Liu’s report details the problems associated with marijuana arrests in New York City -- including racial disparities and the impact of saddling young people with a permanent criminal arrest record -- and the overall financial costs of marijuana prohibition.

The report comes at a time when the federal government and states around the country are engaged in a significant review of drug policies generally and marijuana policies in particular. On Monday, Attorney General Holder noted that the war on drugs has resulted in “the decimation of certain communities, in particular of communities of color” and directed federal prosecutors to develop guidelines for some drug sentencing issues to be handled on the state or local level.

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