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

The New York State Legislature has just more than three days to approve a bill that would legalize medical marijuana across the state, before the legislative session ends on Thursday, June 19. If it doesn't pass--and it hasn't passed the last sixteen times it has been introduced--it will be back to the drawing board.

Activists who have pushed to pass the bill, known as the Compassionate Care Act, remain stubbornly confident this will be the year--it is, after all, the furthest the bill has made it through the legislature since it was initially introduced in 1997. But Governor Andrew Cuomo is not bending over backwards to help move the legislation along. To the contrary, on Monday, Cuomo enumerated a laundry list of changes he wants to see implemented before he will support the bill to the Daily News.

A version of the bill would have to be filed Monday to be voted on by Thursday. (According to Senate rules, a bill must sit on senators' desks for three days before it can come to a vote.)

Cuomo's concerns include the acts of smoking itself (Cuomo wants it prohibited in favor of other means of ingesting the drug, like pills and vaporization) and the number of organizations who can operate dispensaries (the bill says 20, Cuomo wants just five).

Gabriel Sayegh, state director of New York for the Drug Policy Alliance, a group lobbying in favor of the bill, was dismayed the Governor chose to air his concerns to the newspaper at the eleventh hour after "his administration provided no input, despite repeated requests" earlier in the process.

With the clock running down on Monday, both Senator Diane Savino, the bill's sponsor in the New York State Senate, and Cuomo were both guests on Syracuse public radio station WCNY's The Capitol Pressroom, where they aired their respective grievances.

Savino pushed back against Cuomo's characterization of the bill was cobbled together, not well-thought-out. "I, myself, have been working on this bill daily for the past two years, but Assemblyman Gottfried has been working developing a medical marijuana policy in New York State for close to 18 years," Savino said. "So to portray the two of us as not being thoughtful, or not having thought through the components of this bill, is a bit disingenuous."

Minutes later, Cuomo claimed on the same radio program that he "went first" by proposing a plan to legalize medical marijuana on a limited basis in his state of the state address in January. Despite his professed enthusiasm for legalization Cuomo insisted he would not support a bill that didn't address all of his concerns. "I'm not going to be part of a system that is just going to wreak havoc."

The bill presently sits before the Senate Rules Committee, headed by Senate co-leader Dean Skelos (who has historically opposed the bill). It is the last committee the bill must pass through before going to the floor for a vote.

Send story tips to the author, Tessa Stuart

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frank124c topcommenter

If the politicians are so interested in the people's health that they outlaw "harmful" marijuana then why do they force us to drink fluoridated water which has been proven to cause cancer to such an extent that most of the European countries have ended water fluoridation. Why do they not outlaw alcohol and cigarettes that are known to be far more harmful than marijuana. Marijuana has many medicinal benefits and should be entirely legalized. Andrew Cuomo is governor only because the people loved his father, he is himself not nearly the man his father was. 


Its not all about him so he won't let it pass. Just watch and see, this guy thinks he is a white knight riding in to save NY from themselves. Hope he is voted out in November.


ʟɪᴋᴇ Dᴇɴɪsᴇ ʀᴇᴘʟɪᴇᴅ I ᴀᴍ ᴀᴍᴀᴢᴇᴅ ᴛʜᴀᴛ sᴏᴍᴇᴏɴᴇ ᴄᴀɴ ᴘʀᴏғɪᴛ $4955 ɪɴ ғᴏᴜʀ ᴡᴇᴇᴋs ᴏɴ ᴛʜᴇ ɪɴᴛᴇʀɴᴇᴛ . ᴠɪsɪᴛ ᴛʜᴇ sɪᴛᴇ 

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cformusic topcommenter

ditto what that guy said..o_0


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(now the majority), 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 and NEW YORK, 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: MillionsDeaths 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


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