New Yorkers in the medical and non-medical communities are both enthralled by the idea that marijuana may be legalized for medical use by the end of spring. With public interest and support growing based on examples set by other states, as well as the support from Governor Cuomo, the timetable for the re-drafted legislation governing medical marijuana in Albany has been pushed up. When it is approved, New York will officially be the 22nd state to support the cause.
The Official Word
According to Gabriel Sayegh from the DPA (Drug Policy Alliance), the state is “closer to this than [it has] ever been before.” In an effort to overcome the opposition still held by several state senators, the people fighting for legalization have revised their proposed legislation to make it more government friendly. This means that the regulations governing use and who has access to it were revised and made stricter.
In the new copy of the legislation, all language that gave free license to doctors to prescribe it for almost any symptoms has been edited or removed to restrict the amount of diseases that give credence to a prescription. The list has been cut down to about 20 conditions which include things like:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Brain trauma
- Multiple sclerosis
- PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
Restrictions on age also limit the patients being prescribed medical marijuana to those people who are 21 and over. This is still a touchy clause since younger people can be prescribed drugs with active ingredients of marijuana. In addition to the age restriction, all people who have narcotics related felony convictions are not allowed to work in a sanctioned dispensary.
The Proposed Benefits
The advocates of the new bill are hoping that all the changes will be accepted, because in addition to New York becoming the 22nd state to legalize it, New York would also have the most highly regulated medical marijuana dispensary system in the US.
The hope is that the “seed-to-sale” model that is used in Colorado will help the government to benefit immensely. The “seed-to-sale” method is one in which ONLY state sanctioned companies can grow, produce, distribute and sell the medical marijuana to patients with a legitimate need.
The second claim is that the financial ramifications are theoretically limitless. They estimate at least hundreds of millions of dollars will be generated because of taxation.
With 33 senators firmly in their corner, the advocates are extremely confident. They already have one more senator than they need, but they want to persuade certain members of senate to ensure that they get the bill passed. These people include Dean Skelos (leader of the GOP) and Kemp Hannon Chairman of the Health Committee.