New York medical marijuana bill dead for the session?


New York state Senate Finance Committee chairman John DeFrancisco will not allow the state senate to vote on a medical marijuana proposal this session. Despite major support for the bill and a Governor who says he’s willing to sign it, DeFrancisco says he can’t let it move forward because of his concerns with the health effects of marijuana.
“The Savino bill will not come out of my committee, the Finance Committee,” DeFrancisco told Gannett News Albany Bureau yesterday. “You don’t have any kind of reasonable research on the effects. You have people coming in here every day trying to ban e-cigarettes and use of tobacco in other ways.”

In short: the guy in charge of the state Senate Finance committee has vague and irrational health concerns with a medical marijuana that has already cleared the state Senate Health Committee and won’t let it pass. DeFrancisco is likely also making the move at the behest of the Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos who has been one of the outspoken opponents of the bill.
DeFrancisco also pointed to a very limited, CBD-only program initiated by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that several activist groups warned would be used as leverage against the bills.
“There has been no test studies done as to the adverse effects of smoking marijuana because every other drug I know of is approved through an FDA process, and the governor has an alternative, namely doing research and determining whether the beneficial effects, if any, are sufficient to outweigh the negative effects,” DeFrancisco said.
The bill in question would legalize the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of herb as well as legalize the sales and cultivation to registered medical marijuana patients. Home cultivation would not be allowed under the Senate proposal. The companion measure has already passed the state Assembly on a 91 to 34 vote.
State Sen. Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island, has said repeatedly that she has enough support in the Senate to pass the bill. Several high-ranking Senate republicans have also chimed in with their support in recent weeks. Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Republican from Buffalo, says the bill has been written to be one of the most restrictive in the nation.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said Monday that he would be open to signing the bill so long as it contained the proper checks and balances.
“If their piece of legislation, the legislation makes sense, then I would sign it because I support the overall effort,” Cuomo said.
The New York legislature adjourns for the session June 19, so any action needs to happen quickly.