The New York State Assembly's Committee on Health Thursday approved a bill that would legalize the use of marijuana for patients suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. The bill now heads to the Assembly's Public Codes Committee.
The bill does not list allowable diseases or conditions. Instead, it allows practitioners to recommend marijuana for "serious conditions," which it defines as "a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition or a condition associated with or a complication of such a condition, or its treatment."
"If a patient and their physician are in agreement that the most effective way of controlling their symptoms is marijuana, government should not stand in the way of treatment," said Gottfried. "It is cruel to turn end-stage patients into criminals when they are following what their doctors recommend for relief."
The first medical marijuana bill was introduced in New York in 1997.
Thirteen states currently allow for the medicinal use of marijuana. New Jersey should become the 14th state within the next week, and the District of Columbia will follow shortly after that. In New Jersey, a passed bill awaits the governor's signature, and in the District, Congress last month removed the ban on implementing the city's 1998 vote in favor of medical marijuana, but still has about three weeks of working days to reconsider.