The passage of a medical marijuana proposal is in the hands of the New York Senate, though it’s unclear which way the Republican-heavy group will lean and they’ve only got two weeks to decide.
The New York state General Assembly handily passed a medical cannabis bill that would legalize the use and possession of up to 2.5 ounces as well as create state-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries last week on a 91 to 34 vote.
But a Senate version of the bill is currently held up in the Senate Finance Committee. That bill would not allow for home cultivation, but would allow up to 20 cultivators around the state. Medical cannabis would not be allowed to be smoked by patients younger than 21. The bill has already cleared the Senate Health Committee, but the Finance Committee could lean towards killing the bill before a full vote.
Savino has repeatedly said that she has the votes needed to pass the bill if it reaches the full Senate. More than 32 votes would be needed to pass the bill. Savino claims to have the support of 39 bipartisan lawmakers. Still, Republicans controlling the Senate aren’t very enthusiastic about moving the bill forward.
The disparity of support between the Senate and the House as well as the 88 percent of New Yorkers that say they want medical marijuana legalized is remarkable and patient advocacy groups are calling for the Senate to get their heads out of their assess and listen to the people.
“It is unconscionable to continue depriving seriously ill New Yorkers of access to this viable treatment option,” Rachelle Yeung, a legislative analyst with MPP says in a release. “There is no rational reason for delaying this bill another year. “We hope Gov. Cuomo will throw his support behind the bill and do whatever he can to make sure it passes this year.”
The New York Times is also calling for the Senate to allow the vote:
The bill has wide support from medical groups and patient advocates, and polls show that a large majority of New Yorkers support medical marijuana. It is time for Senate leaders to allow a vote.