A push for medical marijuana
It's an issue that's been talked about for years. But New York State has yet to take any action to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The Wall Street Journal is reporting a new push is underway for action this year. But, YNN's Bill Carey says, the state's chief executive doubts anything will happen.
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UTICA, N.Y. -- The proponents have been making the same argument, again and again. Marijuana can help ease the suffering of many who suffer from serious illnesses, such as cancer. And with the proper oversight, the state can allow the sale and distribution of marijuana for medical purposes.
The State Assembly seems ready to back the idea, but the plan has gone nowhere in the state senate.
The governor, during a stop in Utica to discuss the state budget, says he doesn't think it's likely that the bill will even be brought up in 2012.
“I don't believe there's going to be time, this legislative session, to look at that issue. Because that issue is going to take a great deal of time to analyze it properly. And we're down to the next few weeks here,” Cuomo said.
Public opinion polls continue to show a vast majority of New Yorkers support the idea of legalizing the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Republicans, too, support the change in those surveys. That's led to some speculation that there may be republican state senators willing to back the idea. But at least one senator says when it comes to the majority conference, the bill has gone nowhere. Senator Joseph Griffo from the Utica area says there are still deep concerns about possible abuses.
Griffo said, “There's a sensitivity to those who are suffering and can receive some type of help to relieve that suffering and pain, I think there's a lot of problems that exist right now in the concept, as just generically proposed. And from problems we've seen in other states, such as California.”
Supporters of the medical marijuana bill say they are hoping to change the governor's mind, but Cuomo has been consistent in saying that he has yet to see any legislation he could support.
“I understand the benefits, but there are also risks and I think the risks outweigh the benefits, at this point. I understand there's more research and there's more evidence and it can be re-evaluated,” Cuomo said.
The governor isn't saying "never." But he is saying "no" for now.
Currently, 16 states have laws on the books allowing the medical use of marijuana.