After Two Epileptic Children Die, Governor Asks to Speed Up Marijuana Legalization Timeline

Anna Conte passed away on July 17.
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday sent a letter to acting New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker asking him to consider expediting the medical marijuana legalization specifically for epileptic children in New York.

Cuomo's letter comes after two children, nine-year-old Anna Conte and three-year-old Olivia Marie Newton, died this month. In June, state legislators passed the Compassionate Care Act, legalizing marijuana for patients with conditions including epilepsy, but legalization will not be implemented in the state for at least 18 months.

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

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 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.

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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.

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New York is THIS Close To Legalizing Medical Weed, But NYC is Still the Pot Arrest Capital of the U.S.

Tessa Stuart
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
On Tuesday the New York State Assembly passed, for the fifth time since it was introduced in 1997, the Compassionate Care Act. The bill would legalize medical marijuana in New York state, allowing sick New Yorkers relief from symptoms associated with cancer treatment, MS, epilepsy, and other ailments. With that vote, New York comes one step closer to joining the 21 others states and the District of Columbia where marijuana is legal in some form.

The same day, in downtown New York, demonstrators in front of One Police Plaza called attention to the fact that, despite progress in Albany, New York City remains the marijuana arrest capital of the United States.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries gathered with representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, and Vocal New York beside a large graph showing that despite promises Mayor Bill de Blasio made during his campaign, arrests for simple possession have not dropped in any significant way since he took office.

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

eggrole via Flickr
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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