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New York Medical Marijuana Bills Introduced

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #777)
Drug War Issues
Politics & Advocacy

New York has become the latest state to see medical marijuana legislation introduced this year. On Tuesday, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried filed Assembly Bill 6357 and Senator Diane Savino filed companion legislation, Senate Bill 4406.

The bills would create a tightly regulated system of medical marijuana supply, complete with patient registries, but would not allow patients or designated caregivers to grow their own medicine. Patients would be limited to possessing no more than 2.5 ounces.

Drug reform and marijuana advocacy groups welcomed the introduction of the bills, but some expressed concerns that the measures as written do not provide enough protection for patients.

"Patients and their families in New York have suffered far too long because New York continues its retrograde approach to marijuana policies, even as other states move forward with more sensible approaches," said Julie Netherland, deputy director of New York policy for the Drug Policy Alliance. "The Drug Policy Alliance stands with hundreds of patients, healthcare providers, and organizations across New York in calling for the legislature to pass this sensible and humane legislation as soon as possible. A growing body of research shows that medical marijuana can be an effective treatment for a number of serious conditions. People living with multiple sclerosis, cancer, Parkinson's, HIV/AIDS and other debilitating conditions should not have to wait any longer to get access to a medicine that may help alleviate their pain and other symptoms. There is simply no sensible reason for patients and their families to wait any longer for relief."

"Empire State NORML welcomes the long awaited introduction of S. 4406/A. 6357," the group said in a statement Tuesday. "We support the bill, and will work hard with Compassionate Care NY, the New York Cannabis Alliance, and other allies for Senate passage for the first time and Gov. Cuomo’s signature."

But while supporting the bills, Empire State NORML expressed two reservations. It noted that the bills have no affirmative defense provision for patients possessing more than 2.5 ounces for medically necessary reasons and asked that such provisions be added. And the group expressed concern over the lack of a patient or caregiver cultivation provision.

"Empire State NORML strongly supports the right of certified patients or their designated caregivers to cultivate their own medicine," the group said. "But there should at least be a hardship provision for certain certified patients with transportation, physical or financial difficulties or their designated caregivers to cultivate their own medicine instead of having to rely on registered organizations."

Will this be the year New York joins its neighbors in embracing medical marijuana? The state shares borders with Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Vermont, as well as Canada. All but Pennsylvania have already enacted medical marijuana laws.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Tony Aroma (not verified)

They can't even pass a law that would require NYC police to abide by the existing decriminalization law passed in the 1970s.  No way this is going to happen.  I predict NY will be the LAST state on the East coast to get mmj, and it will only happen through an initiative.  (I'd love to be wrong on this one.)

Wed, 03/27/2013 - 8:15pm Permalink

Or the health commissioner could finally implement the state's existing med mj law (about 35 yrs. old now) to get alternative supplies now that it looks like the feds aren't going to supply the goods after a "reasonable time".

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 2:32pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

This stuff about you can have it and you can buy it but you can`t grow your own is about what ? $$$Money$$$ . It makes no sense but it does make a lot of Dollars for someone . The Government is trying to figure out how to turn one racket into another racket . I heard that Colorado has real estate for sale . . .

Thu, 03/28/2013 - 10:18pm Permalink
John Crocker (not verified)

Please support, sign & share this petition

Fri, 04/12/2013 - 10:31am Permalink

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