New York Doctors Say Bloomberg’s Statement on Medical Marijuana is Outrageous & Flies In the Face of Medical Science

Press Release May 30, 2013
Media Contact

<p>Contact: Tony Newman: 646-335-5384 or Julie Netherland 347-781-5435</p>

New York – Mayor Bloomberg ran afoul of medical science and the opinions of more than 600 New York physicians when he called medical marijuana “one the great hoaxes of all time” earlier today. The statement comes just one day after NY Physicians for Compassionate Care held a press conference announcing the support of more than 600 physicians from across New York for medical marijuana legislation pending in Albany.

The New York medical community has been pushing for the passage of the Compassionate Care Act – A.6357 (Gottfried) / S.4406 (Savino) – a bill that would allow healthcare practitioners to talk to their patients about medical marijuana and certify those with serious, debilitating illnesses so that they may have access to a small amount of medical marijuana to relieve their symptoms.  Just yesterday, NY Physicians for Compassionate Care announced the support of more than 600 New York physicians for a carefully regulated medical marijuana program for seriously ill New Yorkers. Physicians from all over New York signed a statement affirming that doctors should not be punished for recommending the use of marijuana for seriously ill people, and that seriously ill people should not be subject to criminal sanctions for using marijuana if the patients’ physicians have told them such use may be beneficial.  The bill also has the support of the state’s leading medical organizations, including the New York State Nurses Association, The Hospice and Palliative Care Association, Pharmacist Society of the State of New York, among others.

"Mayor Bloomberg's statement that medical marijuana is a hoax is tantamount to saying that the moon landing was faked,” said Dr. Sunil Aggarwal, MD, PhD, Associate Member of the New York Academy of Medicine and Vice-Chair of NY Physicians for Compassionate Care. “Marijuana, given in oral and inhaled forms, has been shown in large, gold-standard, double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled trials conducted at major medical centers to relieve pain and muscle spasm, and stimulate appetite and weight gain in patients with wasting syndromes.  The data is published for all to see and has been backed up by biochemistry. More than 600 New York physicians, some of the largest physicians groups in the country, leading medical authorities such as the National Academies of Sciences, and NIH investigators have acknowledged this data.  If the Mayor of New York City chooses to ignore such data, then he is neither on the side of science nor human rights – and neglects patients who are suffering with painful and debilitating conditions,” he said.

Eighteen states and the District Columbia have passed laws creating legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients, and physicians in every state bordering New York – except Pennsylvania – have the ability to recommend this effective and safe treatment for their patients. In addition enjoying wide support among healthcare professionals, 82% of New Yorkers – including 81% of Democrats and Republicans alike – support medical marijuana.

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

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