New York medical marijuana bill gains key initial approval


A bill legalizing medical marijuana in New York cleared a major hurdle yesterday, becoming the first medical marijuana measure to ever pass the state Senate Health Committee.
The historic move came after Republican Sen. William Larkin voted against his party lines and swung the vote 9-8 in favor of passing the bill. Senate Democrats on the committee said it was a no-brainer.
“This bill is really about a simple concept, which is to alleviate suffering,” state Sen. Brad Hoylman said, according to the New York Daily News. “I can’t think of a more important or noble pursuit on the part of . . . the Legislature.”

As we reported yesterday, the bill would legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of herb for qualified medical marijuana patients. Home cultivation would not be allowed, instead patients will purchase cannabis at state-regulated dispensaries.
The bill now goes to the state Finance Committee. If it makes it through that committee, it could be up before the full Senate. Once there, it will not have a lot of time – the state senate adjourns at the end of June. The bill’s sponsor, state Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island, says she has at least 39 supporters in the full Senate.