New Yorkers Ready to Puff, Puff, Pass Medical Marijuana Legalization

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Good news! Pollsters finally found the one thing almost all New Yorkers -- men and women, Democrats and Independents, the young and middle aged -- can agree on: our support for medical marijuana.

On Monday, Quinnipiac University released a new poll showing 88 percent of New Yorkers support legalization of medical pot, and just 9 percent oppose. We are overwhelmingly in favor of legalizing small amounts of weed for personal use too: 57 to 39 percent. Men, on the whole, are more supportive than women (63 percent and 51 in favor, respectively). Sixty five percent of Democrats support legalization, and 58 percent of Independents do too.

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Three Strikes, You're Out: Albany Flops on Abortion Rights, Campaign Finance, and Medical Marijuana Bills

Remember the provision in the Women's Equality Act that would solidify abortion rights here in New York in the face of anti-abortion bills popping up in state legislatures across the country? Remember Cuomo's call for campaign finance regulation in a state electoral system that is drastically outdated and loophole-heavy? Remember the legislative push for medical marijuana in New York in a state with a record high number of weed arrests? Yeah? Well, none of them are happening anymore.

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New Jersey Gets First Medical Marijuana Dispensary. New York Still Weighing "Risks"

Today, about 20 medical marijuana patients will meet with staff at the Greenleaf Compassion Center, New Jersey's first medical marijuana facility to open its doors since the state passed a law legalizing prescription pot in 2010.

While medical weed is now legal in the Garden State -- as we've chronicled -- "progressive" New York is still weighing the "risks" of allowing sick people to treat their ailments with weed, rather than other prescription medications that, in most cases, are far more dangerous and addictive than marijuana.

In October, New Jersey Health Commissioner Mary E. O'Dowd announced that Greenleaf was the first state-sanctioned distributor of medical marijuana, following several hurdles that have delayed the implementation of the state's medical marijuana law.

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Medical Marijuana Gets New Push In New York; 'High' Hopes Ill-Advised

A Colorado-based marijuana company has enlisted the help of one of Albany's most influential lobbyists to make medical marijuana a reality in Andrew Cuomo's "progressive" New York. But the chances of the Empire State getting prescription pot any time soon aren't great.

Gaia Plant Based Medicine has recruited former Sheldon Silver aide Pat Lynch's lobbying firm to urge lawmakers -- and Cuomo -- to legalize medical marijuana in New York.

However, despite overwhelming legislative and public approval (anywhere from 60-percent to 80-percent of New Yorkers support medical marijuana, depending on which poll you look at), Cuomo has said he won't approve a bill legalizing medical marijuana.

The firm controlled by Pat Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by Colorado-based marijuana company, Gaia Plant Based Medicine

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The firm controlled by Pat Lynch, a former top aide to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, was hired by Colorado-based marijuana company, Gaia Plant Based Medicine

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The Big Lobbyist Battle for Medical Reefer in New York Begins

New York has had the whole medical marijuana conversation for a while (end result: fail), and legalizing marijuana, if only for medical purposes, has its twists and turns here. Even with the rollback of the Draconian Rockefeller drug laws by Cuomo, being the world capital of weed arrests sure doesn't help. But it seems as if change might be in the (smoky) air.

After Election Day, with residents in Colorado and Washington now able to toke up tort-free and Massachusetts clearing the way for doctored weed, the pressure is now on for marijuana decriminalization to be a sensible revenue-based discussion across the nation. And those invested in the green industry know this -- hence why, according to a report yesterday in the New York Post, Big Marijuana (the name now given to the toking titans) is pulling out the big guns for Albany.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have ourselves a lobbying war in the works. Let's take a look at the fighters involved.
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New Jersey Gives the "OK" for First Medical Marijuana Dispensary. New York: Still "Studying."

The New Jersey Department of Health yesterday issued the first permit to a medical marijuana dispensary, which grants it permission to start distributing marijuana to state residents who qualify for prescription pot.

New York, however -- which Governor Andrew Cuomo has declared the leader of "progressive" America -- still won't approve medical marijuana; Cuomo said earlier this year that he's still "studying" the pros and cons of allowing sick people to treat their ailments with weed, rather than other prescription medications that, in most cases, are far more dangerous and addictive than marijuana.

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Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Assembly -- But Don't Get Your Hopes Up, New York


A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in New York passed in the Assembly yesterday, but don't go making up any ailments that qualify you for a weed prescription just yet; Governor Buzz Kill ain't gonna sign it -- even if it does find its way to his desk.

The bill would legalize prescription weed for people suffering from "serious debilitating or life-threatening conditions." If the bill becomes law, New York -- the state Governor Andrew Cuomo says should be the "progressive capitol of the nation" -- would become the 17th state to legalize marijuana for medical use.

"If the patient and physician agree that the patient's serious debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, the government should not stand in the way," Assemblyman Richard Gottfried -- the chairman of the Assembly's Health Committee, who introduced the bill (for the 17th time) -- says. "It is cruel to deny treatment to patients who are suffering or to turn them into criminals."

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Cuomo's Plan To Decriminalize "Public View" Marijuana Doesn't Make Him A Hero -- It Makes Him Bipolar

Andrew Cuomo is sticking up for recreational marijuana users -- while throwing those who use if for medicinal purposes under the bus.
Yesterday, law enforcement officials and state lawmakers got in line to pucker up to the rump of Governor Andrew Cuomo because of his plan to decriminalize "public view" marijuana possession. Cuomo's move is being heralded as a civil rights victory for young Hispanic and African-American New Yorkers who are disproportionately hit with criminal charges for weed possession.

"What Governor Cuomo is proposing, is a logical and, unfortunately, necessary clarification of the law as it exists today," Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver swooned yesterday.

We don't mean to kill the buzz of Cuomo's proposed "public view" weed plan, but it doesn't make him a civil rights hero, it makes him bipolar -- the governor still refuses to support the legalization of medical marijuana, noting that there are "tremendous risks" involved with allowing people who already are smoking pot to treat various ailments to do so legally (he's yet to identify a single "risk." More on that below).

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Medical Marijuana Bill Headed For Another Assembly Vote (Calm Down, Stoners -- You're Not Getting Prescription Pot)


A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in New York has cleared the Health Committee and is headed to the Codes Committee where it will likely be approved and sent to the full Assembly for a vote.

Don't get too excited, though, stoners -- even if the bill does pass in the Assembly (which it likely will, as it already has twice in the past), you're probably not going to get your hands on medical weed (unless you really, really (really) need it).

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Medical Marijuana Growing In New Jersey. Cuomo's "Progressive" New York: Not So Much


Things just got a little greener in the Garden State.

The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services issued a permit to Montclair-based Greenleaf Compassion Center yesterday to begin growing medical marijuana. It's the first "compassion club" in New Jersey to receive a permit since the state's medical marijuana law was signed in 2010.

Here in New York, however -- the "progressive capitol of the nation," according to Governor Andrew Cuomo -- a medical marijuana bill that will be introduced into the Legislature in the next few weeks probably won't see the light of day; Cuomo says he won't consider a medical marijuana bill this year because (he claims) there are "tremendous risks" associated with letting people use marijuana to treat various medical conditions.

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