A proposed New York medical marijuana bill saw huge support in a Assembly Committee on Health meeting on Wednesday, with dozens of supporters turning out to speak in favor of legalizing the plant for sick New Yorkers according to Long Island Newsday.
The Compassionate Care Act would legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of pot for people with debilitating conditions including cancer, aids and multiple sclerosis. The state Health Department would monitor the program.
The full program would allow for both private caregivers as well as public dispensaries to supply patients with cannabis. Patients have to receive a recommendation from a licensed physician, physician’s assistant or a registered nurse who have to register the patient with the state. Dispensaries would be licensed by the state health department and would be taxed $250 for every pound sold, with half of that money going to local tax coffers.
Lining up to speak was Craig Adams, a court officer who always thought of marijuana as an illegal drug and steered clear of it until his wife, suffering from spasms caused by multiple sclerosis, found relief in medical marijuana. After toking, her spasms would subside.
“I can firmly state that marijuana saved her life,” Adams said.
Missy Miller, who says her 14-year-old son has hundreds of seizures every day caused by an in-uterine stroke, debilitating the boy and keeping him from having a semblance of a normal life. She says she’s hopeful that cannabis can help her boy keep the seizures at bay.
“There is an option here, and you can save my son’s life,” she told the committee.
Not everyone is for the bill, and of course a few people came out to tow the same marijuana prohibition stance that has failed miserably over the last 40 years. Chiefly, Jeff Reynolds, director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence came out to say that passing a medical marijuana bill with restricted access for sick patients would lead to rampant drug addiction among the youth of New York.
Reynolds argued that the proposal “does not get us any closer to safe and effective solutions for those with significant medical conditions and at the same time sends an inaccurate message that affects public health.”
Except that it does get the state closer to a much safer alternative than pharmaceutical drugs for thousands of patients seeking relief from a wide range of conditions. It’s effective because it’s cheap and natural. And the only inaccurate message is the staunch opposition to a simple plant led by Reynolds and his ilk.
And that includes Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has remained opposed to marijuana legalization of any kind. He recently called a bill that would legalize recreational cannabis for adults over 18 and sales to those over 21 a “non starter”. We bet the voters of New York would beg to differ on that.
The Compassionate Care Act was passed by the New York state Assembly last session but the Senate has yet to do much with it other than the hearing yesterday.