NEW YORK: The sponsors of a bill legalizing medical marijuana made the midnight deadline to introduce a new version of the bill — the fifth — that bows to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on some of his ideas, but rejects a number of concerns he has publicly raised with the effort.
Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried amended their bill to, as Cuomo suggested, further limit the diseases or conditions for which the drug can be dispensed. Gone from the new bill is post-concussion syndrome, lupus and diabetes. But they keep intact the ability of patients to smoke the drug — Cuomo wanted an oil-based or other liquid type form of the drug being available — but the bill bans smoking in public places and, as previous versions, makes it illegal to dispense marijuana in a smoking form to anyone under age 21.
After Cuomo Monday characterized the lawmakers’ bill as overly generous when it comes to how much marijuana could go to patients in a 30-day period, Savino and Gottfried, in their new bill version, reduced from two and one-half ounces to two ounces the amount of marijuana that a doctor can prescribe to a patient in a one-month period. There appears also to be some new maneuvering room by the state health department, which will draft the regulations to implement the bill if it is passed and signed into law.
Lawmakers also did not go along with Cuomo’s call for a five-year sunset on the law. Savino and Gottfried both said that idea is unworkable and would serve to only keep private marijuana manufacturers from coming to New York to invest in the infrastructure to produce the drug.