New York Times Supports Medical Marijuana in NY

| by Marijuana Policy Project

By Morgan Fox

Last week, I wrote about the trend in journalism to blame marijuana for the violent outbursts of murderous youth. While this unscientific blame game will probably continue in the foreseeable future, it’s nice to see that the primary target of my wrath in this instance, The New York Times, has redeemed itself.

The juggernaut of journalism on the East Coast wrote an editorial urging New York’s Governor Cuomo to follow the lead of New Jersey and allow seriously ill New Yorkers to use marijuana to treat their illnesses. Coming from a publication of their size and prominence, this is a fairly significant statement, and hopefully one that will garner a lot of support for medical marijuana in the near future.

Here is the editorial in its entirety:

There is no good reason to deprive patients with cancer or H.I.V. or Lou Gehrig’s disease of the relief from pain or extreme nausea that could come from using marijuana.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who once opposed his state’s medical marijuana law, has changed his mind, deciding earlier this month to allow six alternative treatment centers to begin dispensing the drug to those in need, possibly by early next year. Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York needs to change his mind as well.

Governor Cuomo said during his 2010 campaign that he opposed legalization of medical marijuana. Recently, he said he was still opposed but that he was “reviewing” the issue and “we’re always learning and listening, talking and growing. We hope.” It shouldn’t take much more personal growth to make the right call.

Governor Cuomo should ask Governor Christie about how he resolved his own doubts. Mr. Christie could explain how his law is the nation’s most restrictive and how the federal Justice Department has indicated that its agents will rightly direct their energies in New Jersey to go after big-time marijuana traffickers, not doctors or alternative centers helping the desperately ill.

Under New Jersey’s law, doctors can recommend that a patient suffering from a specific disease or condition use marijuana of limited strength. Patients cannot grow their own, and they can only purchase 2 ounces every 30 days. Physicians must register to recommend the marijuana use, and patients and caregivers must undergo background checks to get ID cards.

Mr. Cuomo should champion a similar and humane system and ensure that New York’s residents coping with illness have the same chance at relief.

Good recovery, NYT. Please keep it coming!