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  New York May Be Next To Legalize Medical Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on July 23, 2011 at 06:15:06 PT
By Cara Matthews, Gannett News Service 
Source: Press & Sun Bulletin 

medical Albany, N.Y. -- After a legislative session with no progress on legalizing medical marijuana, advocates are hoping that the New Jersey governor's actions this week and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's statement that he is studying the issue will lead to success.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, said his state would move forward with its medical-marijuana act, a reversal from his position last month. He said at the time he was concerned that the state legislation conflicts with federal law and practice. The U.S. Justice Department said earlier this month that it is focused on large-scale commercial providers.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has not supported medical marijuana in the past, and he said this week that he has not changed his position. He did, however, leave the door open on the issue.

"We're talking to both sides of the issue, if you will, and we're reviewing it, but we don't have a final position," he said.

The governor said that though he hasn't changed his stance, "We're always learning and listening and talking and growing, we hope."

New Jersey became the 16th state to legalize medical marijuana under legislation signed by Christie's predecessor.

In New York, legislation to allow patients with debilitating illnesses to use marijuana if they are registered with the state and receive a prescription from their physician has passed the Assembly before, but never the Senate. Under the most recent version of the bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Sen. Thomas Duane, both Manhattan Democrats, hospitals and pharmacies would do the bulk of the dispensing. The maximum amount that could be dispensed would be 2.5 ounces.

"The big obstacle continues to be getting a couple more votes in the state Senate to enable it to pass," Gottfried said.

The Democrat-controlled Assembly didn't vote on the bill this year.

Getting the support of the governor would help immensely, said Gottfried, adding that he has spoken with members of Cuomo's administration who are reviewing the issue.

"My gut feeling or prediction is that when that's done he will support legislation because I think the merits are overwhelmingly in support and I think certainly, to the extent he relies on health (professionals') viewpoints, I think it's a very clear decision," Gottfried said.

He said the governor should "focus on the thousands of New Yorkers who are needlessly suffering from life-endangering and debilitating conditions whose lives could be made more tolerable and longer if we would join the other states that allow medical use."

If the governor were to get behind medical marijuana, "it can make all the difference in the world," said Gabriel Sayegh, New York director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, penned a letter to Cuomo this week, asking him to support the legislation.

"Anyone who has watched a loved one struggle with a debilitating illness would do almost anything to help alleviate their pain," she said in a statement. "New Jersey showed real compassion for Garden State residents who are suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis and other life-threatening diseases."

But the legislation has significant opponents, including the Conservative Party, which in the recent Senate vote to approve same-sex marriage threatened not to re-endorse any Republicans who voted yes. Four of them did so anyway.

"I don't see how marijuana helps anybody with any kind of sickness," said Michael Long, head of the Conservative Party. "There's plenty of prescribed drugs that people can take when they are critically ill."

He said a state medical marijuana law would be in conflict with federal law, and that legalization would only add to law enforcement problems.

"I am telling you that it will create an enforcement nightmare. There'll be no control over it," Long said.

Gottfried said he thinks Christie's move confirms what has been clear since the Bush administration: "that entities that produce or dispense in clear compliance with state law are not going to be interfered with by the federal government, and the federal government has never gone after individual patients."

Sayegh said if the legislation were passed as is, New York would have one of the most conservative medical marijuana laws in the country.

Source: Press & Sun Bulletin (NY)
Author: Cara Matthews, Gannett News Service
Published: July 22, 2011
Copyright: 2011 Press & Sun Bulletin

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Comment #12 posted by Paul Pot on July 24, 2011 at 22:18:56 PT:

freedom from pain
Because of the drug war, care for the dying has been forgotten. People screaming with pain day and night cannot get either opium or cannabis the world over. Prohibition is the shame of the modern age. Watch this story on palliative care in developing nations. Freedom from pain.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #11 posted by runruff on July 23, 2011 at 23:00:34 PT
Heres a trio:
Mama Cass Elliot, Alexander the Great and Jesus Christ, all died at 33.

Just keeping up my end of the conversation.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by runruff on July 23, 2011 at 22:54:24 PT
The father of the blues.
Robert Johnson, said to have sold his soul to the devil in return for his memorable talents; He was 27.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #9 posted by Hope on July 23, 2011 at 20:14:06 PT
I've been alarmed at the kind of hate
so many people have been spewing for some time.

The things people say all over the internet about their hatred and the horrible ways they want to go about killing and torturing people they dislike, despise, or fear or just suspect of something. The desire and apparent willingness of people to torture other people has taken this country back to a lower, third world type thing. It's been alarming to me for some time.

The mockery and contempt is awful... but the desire to kill and torture for whatever reason, is so disturbing.

How are they going to like this Norwegian thing. They won't talk about it. They won't spew hate all over the internet like they like to do, apparently. I don't like think so many people are so wickedly mean and low.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by FoM on July 23, 2011 at 18:52:19 PT
The news today was sad and troubling. Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain and Brian Jones all died at the young age of 27. Now Amy Winehouse. So sad.

I don't fear many things but I do fear the power of Right Wing Christian Fundamentalists that are so full of hate.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Hope on July 23, 2011 at 16:47:24 PT
bearing other OT bad news, Amy Winehouse has passed away at twenty seven.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #6 posted by Hope on July 23, 2011 at 16:38:36 PT
OT and strange
Osama Bin Laden was the face of terroristic evil for many years.

Killing innocent people over political ideas. The guy apparently had a written political "Manifesto". I'd think anyone that has a "Manifesto", any kind of "Manifesto", might be someone dangerous.

Now that face is a Norwegian. A Blonde, blue eyed, thirty two year old, "Conservative", "Christian", "Far right extremist". He's in custody.

Norway attacks: Police probe darker side of boyish-looking suspect,0,3774785.story?rss=icymi

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by Hope on July 23, 2011 at 15:56:48 PT
We need every one of our best communicators
to make an appointment with the Governor, especially if they are New Yorkers.

He has invited people to convince him.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Hope on July 23, 2011 at 15:53:21 PT
The Conservative Party
There is a Conservative Party in New York? Like in the UK?

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by Hope on July 23, 2011 at 12:47:25 PT
Somebody talk to this man.
"We're always learning and listening and talking and growing, we hope."

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by afterburner on July 23, 2011 at 08:42:05 PT
LOL! That's a good one.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #1 posted by CropReport on July 23, 2011 at 06:34:45 PT
One by one like dominos.
The people and cultures of New York and New Jersey are so intertwined and interconnected, one must now regard medical cannabis in New York as a foregone conclusion.

I look forward to the day when we're at 49 states and the last holdout is being stared down by the population.

Legalize Utah!

[ Post Comment ]

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