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Does NY <3 MJ?


Does NY <3 MJ?

We’ve been following New York closely as medical marijuana bill “Compassionate Care Act” passed through the State Assembly and the Senate Health Committee, and appears this week in the Senate Rules Committee  - often the last stop for a bill before it goes to a full floor vote.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders have begun negotiations on the bill and hope to reach a consensus before the legislative session concludes this Thursday. However, Cuomo has some edits that might take longer than a few days to actualize. He says, “We think there’s a lot of problems with the Gottfried-Savino bill. They haven’t thought it through – the public health and public safety point of views.”

Cuomo has asked the Senate bill sponsor Diane Savino from Staten Island to change the bill to prohibit the smoking and sharing of medical marijuana. While Savino has already restricted the smoking of medical cannabis to adults over 21, Cuomo believes allowing anyone to smoke the drug instead of vaporizing or using edibles would be sending a message contrary to the many anti-smoking campaigns they state has strongly promoted over the past several years.

He has some additional demands, as well. They are:

  • Anyone unlawfully seeking, selling, or prescribing pot will be charged as a felon
  • The only diseases allowing a marijuana prescription s will be cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and spinal cord injuries – basically, only neuropathic conditions with “true nerve pain”
  • Doctors would be in charge of prescribing cannabis in one-month doses at the level they deem appropriate. They would also be pre-certified by the state Health Department, verifying that they are truly specialists in the field they are treating with the marijuana.
  • Patient prescriptions or medical marijuana approvals from other states will not be recognized. They would have to re-register in the state of New York.
  • Only 20 dispensaries will be licensed in the first two years.

These aren’t just minor changes – Savino will have some big edits to make in order to have this bill pass. We anticipate the hardest change will be to further restrict the conditions that constitute a prescription. Leaving post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and child epilepsy off the list will still prohibit a large population of people who could benefit from medical cannabis. What will happen over the next few days? I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.


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