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Medical marijuana bill comes before New York legislature

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A new bill has been proposed in the New York State legislature that would legalize the use of marijuana in the state for medicinal purposes.

The bill was introduced in both the New York State Assembly and State Senate late last March and has received the co-sponsorship of over thirty legislators. However, the bill already passed the State Assembly twice in the last three years but was voted down in the State Senate each time.

One of the the bill’s main sponsors, Richard Gottfried, a Democrat representing the 75th district, is optimistic about the prospect of medical marijuana legislation being passed this time around.

“Public support gets stronger every year, and we have broad support from health care professionals and patient advocates,” Gottfried said. “Several Republican state senators have said privately that they would vote for it.”

Gov. Cuomo has previously been opposed to both medical marijuana bills, but his recent stance in support of decriminalizing marijuana possession has led some, like Gottfried, to hope that the governor has changed his mind.

All the states bordering New York, with the exception of Pennsylvania, have already legalized use of marijuana for medical purposes, and the bill has received heavy support from groups like the Drug Policy Alliance.

The bill will allow patients suffering from cancer, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses to purchase marijuana under the supervision of their health care provider.

“This bill needs to be passed,” said Dr. Sunil K. Aggarwal, a resident physician at the NYU Langone Medical Center and an expert on the medical use of marijuana, in an interview with The Village Voice. “Thousands of patients in New York State could benefit from medicinal use of cannabis under a doctor’s supervision … for some conditions like HIV painful neuropathy, inhaled cannabis is the treatment with the best quality of evidence with most benefit.”

Students and New York residents alike supported the legalization of medical marijuana.

“New Yorkers who suffer from debilitating conditions need this bill,” said Alec Foster, Steinhardt junior and president of NYU Students for Sensible Drug Policy. “Police resources should be spent solving real crimes such as murder and robbery, and not on harassing terminally ill New Yorkers who prefer a safer alternative to most pharmaceuticals.”

Teresa Conigliaro, an LSP freshman, said she thinks New York should go even further and move to legalize marijuana for recreational use as well.

“It would save the government so much money from not having to waste it on arresting people,” she said. “It should be legal for everybody.”

Brooklyn resident Hannah Hens-Diazza, 31, supports legalization of marijuana for medical purposes but is worried about going any further.

“I feel like marijuana can be mentally addictive, so I don’t think it should be legalized for recreational use … but if it can help people in pain, it definitely should,” she said.

Andrew Karpan is a deputy city/state editor. Email him at [email protected]

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11 Responses to “Medical marijuana bill comes before New York legislature”

  1. Vincent jacobs on April 9th, 2013 9:04 am

    Hi my name is Vince Jacobs and I have chronic back pain I had have 5 back surgeries on my lower back I smoke marijuana for the pain and it helps so much please pass this law so I can try to get of the pain killers thank you very much Vincent jacobs

  2. TheDeacon on April 9th, 2013 8:34 pm

    There is no negative effect from using the cannabis plant because we have a system in our bodies that benefits from cannabis called the Endocannabinoid System. Science has proven marijuana is not addictive and that there is no down side in using marijuana be it medical or recreational. Yet all you people approve of alcohol & tobacco. Both toxic and fatal. Personal experience has proven that marijuana cures diabetes mellitus in addition to cancer.

  3. Aaron Bodah Melissa Davey on April 10th, 2013 12:22 am

    They said mentally addictive, Lol! Anything can be mentally addictive, that don’t mean its dangerous.

  4. Buffalo Joe on April 10th, 2013 4:38 pm

    Those who say it is mentally addictive are mentally addicted to being ignorant to science . so much documentation on the pro’s of medical marijuana & hundreds of other uses for cannabis … Seriously N.Y. just think The Weed could help save our economy ..It is a Multii- Billion Dollar business ……STOP living in 1937 isn’t 76 years of propaganda nonsense enough ?

  5. Sunil Aggarwal on April 10th, 2013 5:02 pm

    just to clarify, it was never “voted down” in the Senate — as it has never been brought to a vote there. This year, Sen. Savino thinks she has the votes!

  6. Tim Gruss on April 10th, 2013 9:16 pm

    I have MS and a sever spinal cord injury. I do use marijuana to ease my pain and stop the progression of MS. It’s the only thing that helps. I was once a pharmacuetical drug user. But, could no longer afford the $1700.00 per month for my prescriptions. Our government and the pharmacuetical companies would not help me pay for the scrips at all. I lost my home and all of my life savings. Thank god for marijuana or I would surly be dead by now. To bad I’m still considered a criminal by Governor Cuomo.

  7. Lisa Roche on April 11th, 2013 7:43 am

    I have been following the Medical Marijuana bills in New York for years and the bill has NEVER made it to the senate floor for a vote. Last year was the first time it made it through the Senate Codes committee. I would appreciate honest, factual, reporting and commentary. I am a registered Nurse in NY, and the New York State Nurses Association officially supports Medical Marijuana Legislation. It is an issue of compassion and comfort for many people.

  8. John Crocker on April 12th, 2013 8:26 am
  9. Louise Fazzino on May 7th, 2013 9:57 am

    Marijuana is not addictive like hard drugs are. There are withdrawal symptoms but nothing that will give you seizures, cold sweats, or rob a drug store to get more. The most I ever experienced was mood swings that made me irritable, and it lasts a few weeks. Marijuana is not a drug like pharmaceuticals, a man made drug or even alcohol another man made substance. Alcohol has ruined more families and lives than most illegal drugs. WTF!!!!
    LEGALIZE IT!!!!!!!!

  10. Anne Rohr on July 26th, 2013 4:31 pm

    I have a granddaughter that since she was 9 years old experience a lot of pain and was tested for numerous illness. She has an autoimmune disease which they believe is Lupus . She has been suffering for 9 years and now she was diagnosis with Fibromyalgia overlapping a autoimmune disease and also hypermobility syndrome.She has now had her pain elevate and her disease has affected her brain like fibro fog.anxiety,vomiting,ISBand mood swings. She also hasa asthma. She is on several medications to deal with all these problems which damage her liver and still doesn’t get her out of pain. She has missed half of her senior year in school and has to go back for 2 classes she didn’t pass. She had finished Culinary Arts in a trade school to now be told she probably won’t be able to maintain being a chef. for kids and young adults as well as adults medical marijuana would be beneficial so they can have a so called normal life with less pain and vomiting.My granddaughter had zofran for vomiting which doesn’t help her and she vomits it also. Marijuana is a herb just like alot of other herbs we use everyday in our kitchen that is useful for different ailments. Marijuana is a very useful herb and would help alot of people. Marijuana should also be used for people with depression problems and other mental problems . We would have less suicidal people and disturb people going on rampage and killing inocent people also. i have been against marijuana in the past but with understanding the side effects of the medication my granddaughter is on marijuana would be way less harmful.

  11. Anne Rohr on July 26th, 2013 4:37 pm

    Sugar is mentally addictive and most people don’t even know that until they don”t take anything with sugar in it for a week. Marijuana isn’t anymore addicting than anything else that you might have everyday in your life. People are addictive to coffee.So marijuana isn’t any worse.

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Medical marijuana bill comes before New York legislature