New York, NY: 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 last week 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 propose the establishment of cannabis grow operations at selected public hospitals. The report also recommends that health insurance providers be required to 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. "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.
Full text of the report is available online at: http://comptroller.nyc.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/RegMarij_Summary_8-29b.pdf.