On Thursday a newly-formed group – New York Physicians for Compassionate Care – will hold a press conference to announce that over 600 physicians in New York have signed a letter of intent urging state lawmakers to approve medical marijuana legalization. The announcement comes as legislators discuss legislation – Assembly Bill 6357 and Senate Bill 4406 – which would establish a system of state-licensed dispensaries to supply medical marijuana to qualified patients. The measure has already been approved by its initial committee, and according to the bill’s sponsor, has enough votes to pass the full Assembly and Senate.
“New York Physicians for Compassionate Care represents more than 600 physicians across New York who believe that doctors should not be punished for recommending the medical use of marijuana to seriously ill patients and that seriously ill people should not be criminalized for using medical marijuana if their physicians recommend that such use may be beneficial”, states the group’s official statement letter, “Denying patients access to a medication that can relieve their suffering is cruel, and forcing them to break the law is simply wrong. We call upon the legislature to pass the Compassionate Care Act so we can best serve our patients”.
On Thursday, May 30th – starting at 7PM at the New School’s Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium, Sheila C. Johnson Design Center, 66 Fifth Avenue – several members of the group will speak at a press conference intended to bring attention to the issue – physicians will discuss the scientific evidence surrounding medical marijuana, and will call on lawmakers to approve the compassionate move of allowing those who can benefit from it to use it as a medicine (those interested in attending can RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org).
According to polling released this month, the 600+ physicians who have signed on in support of medical marijuana are joined by 82% of the state’s residents who approve of legalizing cannabis for medicinal purposes.