New York state may be on their way to decriminalizing, but they have also been flirting with adopting a medical marijuana policy as well. In a move that legislative watchers are calling largely symbolic, the New York State Assembly approved medical marijuana legislation yesterday.
The Democratic Assembly has approved a medical marijuana bill two previous times, but neither bill made it to the floor in the Senate. With a vote of 90 to 50, the House approved the legislation in New York State that would allow registered patients to use marijuana for medicinal reasons, possess up to two and a half ounces of marijuana. The bill in it’s original form would have allowed patients to grow up to twelve plants. The bill in its current form addresses dispensing medical cannabis through pharmacies, hospitals and non-profit centers that are registered through the state.
With this third passage of a medical marijuana bill through the New York Assembly, it will now be sent to the Republican-led Senate. The Senate has not let the last two bills come up for a vote. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, said that it is cruel to deny treatment to patients who are suffering or turn them into criminals. Even though the governor has been pushing for decriminalization of marijuana, Governor Mario Cuomo said earlier this year when asked about this medical marijuana bill that he understood there were benefits, but that the risks at this point outweigh the benefits. His comments earlier this year echoed similar statements he made during his 2010 campaign for governor.
But education is a powerful tool and in April, Cuomo told reporters that he was opposed to legalizing medical marijuana but that he was studying the issue. He also said in April, that there wouldn’t be enough time to study the bill and fine tune it into a bill he would sign this year. But with this first leg of the race behind it, the New York medical marijuana bill will now be passed to the Senate. If it does get a date with destiny, we will bring you the news here at National Cannabis Radio.