In an open letter to New York State legislators published in the Albany Times Union, Ithaca mayor Svante Myrick urges state lawmakers to legalize medical marijuana in their upcoming legislative session. "Every day, thousands of sick New Yorkers are being forced to decide between taking dangerous prescription pills or breaking the law to make them feel better," Myrick says.
Mayor Myrick speaking to a group in Ithaca. 14850 File Photo."I have spoken to residents of Ithaca who have been using cannabis to treat their side effects from chemotherapy," the mayor's letter adds. "They deserve safe access to their medicine."
The mayor says he has "directed the Ithaca Police Department to focus on other issues that will more effectively protect the public." Asked to elaborate, Myrick told us, "The department already actually views low level marijuana use as a low priority. Each officer will make arrests as they deem necessary, but as a department our focus is on violent crime, bath salts, heroine and cocaine."
Marijuana, which is already legal for medical use in eighteen states and the District of Columbia, is considered a safe and effective treatment for chemotherapy patients suffering from nausea, fibromyalgia patients facing constant pain, and numerous other conditions and illnesses. Federal law and stringent state laws often force harsh penalties on the judicial system.
"It's already too late for New York to be a national leader on this issue," says Myrick. "However, New York should not be among the last to reform our laws and provide empathy to our patients."