New York Becomes 23rd State to Legalize Medical Marijuana--Just Not the Kind You Can Smoke

Med-Mar-Statue1.jpg
Tessa Stuart
Update, 2:20 p.m.: The Compassionate Care Act passed the New York State Senate. Here is the full text.

At precisely 2:51 a.m. on Friday, June 20, the New York State Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Act, which (when the bill passes the senate, as it is widely expected to, when it is taken up around 10 a.m.) will make New York the 23rd state in the union where medical marijuana is legal...as long as you don't smoke it. Seriously: Patients will need to use a vaporizer, pills or other extraction method. The use of joints, bongs and pipes--anything you light up--is strictly verboten.

Under the new law, physicians will have to go through a certification and registration process before they can prescribe the drug legally. Patients, likewise, will need to be certified by a doctor, and they will have to register with the Department of Health, which will provide an ID card proving one's certification, but they will be free to carry up to 30 days supply of medical pot.

For now, only patients with serious conditions--cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig's Disease, Parkinson's Disease, Huntington's Disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, and spinal cord damage--will be eligible, although more conditions could be added by the health commissioner during the bill's first 18 months.

The legislation outlines a framework under which growers will also register with the Department of Health. Registration (which would not be available to those companies until 18 months after the bill went into effect) would last for just two years. Under the law, sharing your personal, DOH-certified doobie with anyone else will be a misdemeanor, and it will be a felony for a doctor to prescribe medical marijuana to anyone who the state decides "has no need" for it.

And, of course, now that pot is legal, the state wants its cut: Medical marijuana will be taxed at 7 percent.

Announcing his agreement with legislators on Thursday, Governor Cuomo said the bill "strikes the right balance"--which is a nice way of saying that he got virtually every concession he demanded in a Daily News article published earlier this week, including that prohibition on smoking marijuana. (Cuomo believes allowing smoking would undermine anti-tobacco smoking efforts the state has undertaken in recent years.)

See also: With Time Running Out, New York Must Decide on Medical Marijuana

Losing the fight to keep smoking in the bill was undoubtedly difficult for its sponsors and supporters. In a radio interview on Monday, Diane Savino, the Compassionate Care Act's sponsor in the Senate, took pains to explain why smoking was "the only method" that will provide relief to some patients, it's also easier for patients to manage their dosages if smoking.


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22 comments
brandysmathewson
brandysmathewson

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jt030123
jt030123

Is New York the first state to legalize medical marijuana with the stipulations of vaping/oils/pills????

Thinking_Clearly
Thinking_Clearly

Who is Cuomo protecting by the no smoking part? Its not patients. 

Its the police department's cash cow.

Thomas Snowden
Thomas Snowden

Also, for the record, don't much agree with weed and its legalization. I'm not convinced of the sincerity of the whole "legalize it" movement.

Thomas Snowden
Thomas Snowden

The cover photo looks like an album cover for an amateur rap artist. Or, the cover for a stoner metal band. I like how crappy it looks. It's f-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c.

Shannon Allen-OShea
Shannon Allen-OShea

What a great coup for Big Pharma. Thanks for screwing the small business man who would want to open a dispensary, Cuomo. Pill form, what a joke.

Rayne Macy
Rayne Macy

and i really don't mind pot smoking, as long as you don't cough up your lung eight times a day..on your patio..in the early am and late at night...like my grosse neighbor does..and it reeks...and you don't drive but pretty safe with that in ny...it's pretty freakin' scary here..so many pot smokers and cars..sad really that people take advantage and are so dumb and inconsiderate...

laughinggull158
laughinggull158

    I hate thinking that I have to feign an illness or apologetically explain why I'm using cannabis .I'm going to be 69 years old I don't drink anymore . We really need to get this issue on the ballot.

Craig Marti
Craig Marti

Its only good for 6 diseases and heavily regulated for growing but its a start. He didn't want to displease the people that havent left ny yet.

Gerard Hill
Gerard Hill

Vaporizing pot is the same as smoking.Just eliminates 3/4 of the smoke.Might have to vaporize more of it though.We will be eligible for up to two and 1/2 ounces per month!!!!

Gerard Hill
Gerard Hill

We have to wait 18 months though.What's up with that?

Eric Eddy
Eric Eddy

Cuomo is a jackass. I say this as a liberal. Because he's not really a liberal. He's just another status-seeking politician with his eyes on higher office. He's no friend of the working man, of the poor. Screw Cuomo.

Robert Miller
Robert Miller

Cuomo's scared to do the real thing. Remember, it's an election year and he doesn't want to lose the conservative upstate voters.

sweetcookies3333
sweetcookies3333

the greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING! 13

ENLIGHTENMENT...i was a brainwashed evil, mean, christian conservative until i tried it at 17 years old...i hated gays, immigrants, women's rights, blacks, marijuana, i was Rush Limbaugh's #1 fan....until i smoked marijuana....changed the world

1000s of my friends and family have grown 30-99 plants for 20 years, thanks for keeping prices high and NORCAL wealthy...#1 crop in cali = $15 Billion Untaxed...

"any doctor against marijuana is a doctor of death" - cali secret 420

from 0 states to half the country, from low 20% approval to almost 70%, cali runs this planet by 2 decades, time to tie marijuana to the 2014, 2016 elections, out with the old, in with the new

20 years behind us southern states, sad and scary....nobody denies freedoms like the south, nobody…the top ten incarcerators on the planet are southern states and more blacks are in prison then were slaves before the civil war...even if marijuana reforms did pass the republiCANTS in charge would deny you all your freedoms, centuries of practice...no matter though, we never planned on getting your backwards brethren from day one, half the country already but not one southern state, lol...not 1….the new generations are taking over in the south and they are nothing like their freedom denying parents, let’s ride…

Deaths by Alcohol: Millions

Deaths by Tobacco: Millions

Deaths by Prescription Drugs: Quadrupled in last decade

Deaths by Guns: Millions

Deaths by the food we are fed: Millions

Deaths by Marijuana: 0, ever...they are killing my American family while denying freedom

love and freedom forever

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS! 33

Annette Nazari
Annette Nazari

Seriously! Only NY would come up with that kind of dumb ass law. At best it's a step in the right direction. But what the hell?!

BrianKelly
BrianKelly

Don't let Governer Cumo fool us.


"Low-THC strain only" seem to be a new trend in prohibitionist propaganda rhetoric.

First off, where did Medical Marijuana prohibitionists get their facts from? Links please? Show us somewhere that says the low-thc strain only is good for all ailments that Medical Marijuana is used to treat.

We'll wait for documented proof/links please, because what prohibitionists are saying is a complete fallacy. 

The Medical Marijuana strain low-thc and high in CBD has only recently been discovered and is effective primarily in children with multiple daily seizures. 

The low-thc strain is not meant to treat all the other conditions strains with higher levels of thc treat. 

Medical Marijuana has been around for over 20 years and has been recognized by by over 20 states as medicine, BEFORE the low thc strain was even discovered. 

Care to explain that and what follows below away prohibitionists? With proof/links to where they are getting their info that states the low-thc strain is the cure all for every ailment that higher thc strains are used to teat. 

We're waiting for that proof and rebuttal.

Furthermore naysayers, please read the excerpt below carefully then respond with your links, proof and rebuttal.

Read carefully:

Charlotte’s story and the concern for other young patients have led some lawmakers to consider passing legislation that only allows patients to access marijuana oils that are high in CBD and that have little or no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). While it is heartening to see lawmakers’ concern for the plight of patients with catastrophic seizure disorders, these proposals unfortunately exclude the vast majority of those who can benefit from medical marijuana, some of whom also face life-threatening ailments.

Relative Rarity

While CBD appears to be particularly effective at treating seizures, the number of individuals treating seizure disorders through medical marijuana programs is relatively low. For example, only 2% of the registered patients in both Rhode Island and Colorado report seizures as their qualifying conditions. While it is imperative that these individuals be allowed to legally access medical marijuana – and the strain they need – it is just as important to remember that there are tens of thousands of other men and women and a small number of children who suffer from a variety of debilitating conditions whose symptoms are alleviated by medical marijuana. The vast majority of those patients have symptoms that benefit from strains of marijuana that include more than trace amounts of THC.

THC: Why It Matters.

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is just one of the roughly 85 cannabinoids found naturally in marijuana. Clinical trials and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of patients have shown that THC, and strains of marijuana that include THC, provide important medical benefits for individuals suffering from pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, and wasting disease. THC is also the cannabinoid most responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects. While THC does cause marijuana’s “high,” patients use marijuana for relief, not for euphoria. Patients who inhale marijuana can titrate their dosage precisely to use only as much as they need, reducing or eliminating the euphoria. Some use marijuana only before bed.

The federal government has officially recognized THC’s medical properties since 1985, when the FDA approved a prescription drug that is made of synthetic THC — Marinol — for nausea. Yet, Marinol is not adequate for many patients who can benefit from marijuana. For nauseated patients, a pill can be impossible to keep down. Meanwhile, many patients benefit from the synergistic effect of THC and the other cannabinoids, such as CBD. Natural marijuana is less intoxicating than Marinol because patients can titrate their dosage and other cannabinoids moderate THC’s psychoactive properties.

Studies have shown that marijuana that includes THC can alleviate a host of debilitating conditions, including:

Nausea and appetite loss: Researchers have found THC and marijuana with THC are effective anti-emetics and appetite stimulants for individuals suffering from the side effects of cancer chemotherapy or AIDS treatments. 
Multiple sclerosis: Research has found that marijuana with THC can alleviate spasticity. In addition, Canada, the U.K., and several other countries approved an oral marijuana extract made of equal proportions of CBD and THC.
Pain: Several studies have found that marijuana strains that include THC can alleviate neuropathic pain — a notoriously difficult-to-treat nerve pain commonly found in amputees, AIDS patients, and patients with multiple sclerosis.
Since the 1970’s, the federal government has been providing a handful of individuals who suffer from various ailments with marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi as part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program. The four surviving patients still receiving federal marijuana receive a strain with almost no CBD that has been essential to managing their conditions — a rare bone spur disorder, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and a painful condition called nail patella syndrome, respectively. The marijuana these individuals have benefitted from would not be allowed under CBD-only proposals.

Conclusion

Medical marijuana legislation should not be so restrictive as to leave behind around 98% of the individuals who can benefit from it. THC has proven medical benefits and individuals who can benefit from strains that include it should not be forgotten when legislators debate medical marijuana bills.

http://www.mpp.org/assets/documents/low-or-no-thc-high-cbd.html

Dev42
Dev42

Sincerity is irrelevant. Its legalization keeps people who commit victimless crimes out of jail and gives individuals the personal freedom to engage in an activity that is less dangerous than drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco that happens to act as a valid medication. 

cliffordolsen
cliffordolsen

The medical use of many drugs including marijuana has value but the legalization of this mind altering hallucinogenic which changes brain chemistry and creates incredible apathy as a recreational thing is just asinine.  To classify this as a harmless drug just shows the decay and complete self serving indulgence of politicians and absolutely no understanding of addiction.  I lost my entire youth because of addiction to pot. To encourage an entire generation to waste their lives on fantasy is detrimental to all of society.  Any recreational use of marijuana is harmful and a waste of the human experience.

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