Push to legalize medical marijuana
Governor Andrew Cuomo has said he doesn't believe a bill to legalize marijuana for medical use will pass this year, but that isn't stopping advocates from pushing for the bill in both the Assembly and the Senate. Our Zack Fink has the story.
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NEW YORK STATE -- Supporters of a bill to legalize medical marijuana say it can be done responsibly. Critics have pointed to states like California, where prescriptions for pot get doled out fairly liberally, as an example of what not to do.
"California is not a model that we are seeking to replicate. We want to make sure people understand that very clearly. Our model will be the best, most restricted most regulated in the nation," Staten Island Senator Diane Savino said.
New York's bill cleared the Assembly's health committee last week. It would require patients to receive written certifications from physicians in order to receive a limited portion of the drug. The plants that produce the drug would be grown in a state registered dispensary.
Only patients with debilitating and life threatening illnesses would be eligible for prescriptions. Although in some cases, individuals would be permitted to grow their own personal supply.
"A doctor in New York can prescribe you oxycodone or morphine or hundreds of other substances with the law at all limiting what it can be prescribed for," Manhattan Assemblyman Dick Gottfried said.
Wanda Hernandez is HIV positive. She says the medications she takes make her nauseous. She has been smoking pot for roughly 14 years.
Hernandez said, "I've found that the medical marijuana actually enhances my taste for me to be able to eat and actually keep this food down."
Governor Cuomo says he is open to the idea of legalizing medical marijuana, although not right away.
"It's on the radar, but it's very far out on the radar. And I do not believe it lands this session," Cuomo said.
The New York law would limit possession to 2.5 ounces for a patient at any given time. Unlike other states, there would be no limit on the level of THC, psychotropic chemical that gives marijuana its potency.