Report: Over 100,000 NYC Residents Could Benefit From Access To Medical Cannabis

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 29, 2013

    More than 100,000 New York City residents suffering from serious medical conditions such as cancer and chronic pain could benefit from legal access to cannabis therapy, according to a report released today by the New York City Comptroller’s Office. The mission of the Comptroller’s Office is to ensure the financial health of New York City by advising the Mayor, the City Council, and the public of the City’s financial condition.

    The report, entitled “100,000 Reasons: Medical Marijuana in the Big Apple,” finds that some 8 out of 10 New Yorkers endorse permitting patient access to medical cannabis, and estimates that at least 100,000 City residents would immediately benefit from its legalization.

    “[W]e believe this is a conservative estimate,” authors of the report state, “because registration for medical marijuana programs in the various states falls short of the potential. Patients experience social stigma and related social sanctions for using medical marijuana, and many doctors are not familiar with its benefits. Moreover, the federal government has created unnecessary obstacles for academic and research institutions to study marijuana, thereby impeding research that could lead to a broader use of medical marijuana.”

    The report endorses various legal and legislative efforts to amend state and federal marijuana laws. Locally, the report’s authors recommend that New York City establish a ‘Medical Cannabis Research Fund’ to engage in clinical study of the plant; they further proposes the establishment of cannabis grow operations at selected public hospitals. The report also recommends that health insurance providers be required cover some costs related to medical cannabis expenses.

    “In the 1980s, New York State acknowledged marijuana’s medicinal value and supported research for chemotherapy patients,” the report concludes. “Even though the findings were impressive, the State stopped there. Thirty years later, New York still denies seriously ill patients access to this evidence-based treatment, even as 20 states and Washington D.C. have legalized it. … Today, at least 100,000 New York City residents with the same afflictions could benefit from the same relief. By following the recommendations outlined in this report, we can hit the ground running where we left off just 30 years ago and make a meaningful impact for New Yorkers suffering today and for years to come.”

    The Comptroller’s Office had previously issued a report estimating that regulating and taxing marijuana for New York City residents age 21 and over would yield an estimated $431 million in annual savings and revenue.

    New York City Comptroller and Mayoral candidate John Liu has campaigned on the issue of legalizing cannabis for medical and non-medical purposes. Speaking at a press conference today he said, “Marijuana’s medical value is well-established, but it is still routinely denied to patients and researchers. It’s time for that to change, and New York City government can play a role in reshaping our understanding of marijuana’s medical uses. We should leverage our City’s tremendous medical, bioscience, and academic resources to lead the way in medical marijuana research in order to make a meaningful impact on suffering for years to come.”

    Full text of the Comptroller’s report is available here.

    13 responses to “Report: Over 100,000 NYC Residents Could Benefit From Access To Medical Cannabis”

    1. Gweedo says:

      Make that 100,001. I personally would definitely benefit from medical marijuana here in the city. I use it therapeutically every day, except it’s illegal. And that’s BS.

    2. No more stalling tactics says:

      Why downplay the millions of people that medical cannabis can help in NYS? NYC Doctors surely would like to treat more than just 100,000 with medical cannabis. 82% of NYS residents support medical cannabis. Let’s not talk about “research”. California has had an active medical cannabis program for 16 years now. We already have the needed facts on therapeutic cannabis treatment, to create a full medical program available to all patients, by the opinion of a doctor.

      Lots of talk about small compromises needs to be treated as the stalling tactic it is. The time for only “research” is long over. What NYS should be taking action on, is a full non-restrictive medical program immediately, if not outright legalization. NYS residents need to start putting the pressure on leadership, all 82% of them.

    3. alaska says:

      this is fantastic news.

    4. Galileo Galilei says:

      This is where I get to reiterate, “To thwart the advance of medical science is a crime against us all.”

    5. grandma3d says:

      We are living in a Historical Time, Cannabis Nationwide; Freedom to smoke cannabis. Thank You NORMl! NORML has always been at the front line.I love you guys, it is the dawn of a new age and movement. Cannabis will create jobs, businesses,like coffee shop, dispensaries, etc the possibilities are endless.NORML if not for you we would not be living in this historical time and movement. Freedom, Free At Last! Thank God! Free At Last!

    6. grandma3d says:

      I know it is not legal yet but that is just around the corner. They don’t care about the medical. It is about money, as usual.

    7. grandma3d says:

      Hey to all you well seasoned stokers,
      I think we should be celebrating, another door has opened. Total legalization is just around the corner. New York City Comptroller and Mayoral candidate John Liu,want’s it legalized. I believe his estimate of $431 million Annually, is way underestimated. When cannabis is totally legalized. It will be like the Gold Rush, only this will be the Cannabis Rush. Cannabis, is the highest cash crop in the world. Just remember this if we did not have NORML,we would not have gotten this far. Thank you NORML, for every thing you have done and continue to do, to help us fight for the legalization of Cannabis. Freedom is coming. “Free At Last! Thank God! Free At Last.”
      Dr Martin Luther King

    8. Dave says:

      Damn-it what about the rest of the state!!! Are we just chopped liver?

    9. Daegan says:

      One domino at a time is better than no movement at all, Dave

    10. Mark Innes says:

      Is this the domino effect we’ve all been warned to fear? Will our stigma and undercurrent social descrimination tied directly to prohibitionistic practices deny the administration efforts to tie benefits to drug testing? Job opportunities will no longer be denied because of cannabis use by responsible adults. Pinch me, this is a dream.