NY Senate, Assembly Sponsors Agree On Same-As Medical Marijuana Bill

NEW YORK:  The Senate’s lead sponsor of a measure to legalize medical marijuana has amended her bill in a way that is designed to address concerns raised by some legislators, paving the way for a possible vote by both houses of the Legislature on the long-stalled effort before the 2014 session ends in the next two weeks.

Sources say changes introduced by Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, are expected to be matched on Monday with amendments to the Assembly bill by its lead sponsor in that house, Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat.

If a final deal is struck, the two houses could vote on the bill as early as this coming week, though it remains to be seen if the Senate’s Republican leaders will let it to the floor for consideration by the full Senate.

The Assembly has already passed a medical marijuana legalization bill, but the legislation did not match changes Savino had made some weeks ago designed to lure more lawmakers onto her bill. As a result, Savino and Gottfried need to match their bills, which they did on Friday, sources say. (The Assembly for years has passed a medical marijuana bill and appears willing to go along with what Savino can get through her legislative chamber.)

Cattaraugus County NY Board Of Health Not High On Medicinal Marijuana

NEW YORK: Members of the Cattaraugus County Board of Health made known their disapproval of an Assembly bill that would allow the use of medical marijuana at their Dec. 10 meeting.

“We reject this bill,” County Public Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins said, acknowledging pros and cons of the proposed law. “The use of medical marijuana has not been proven by the FDA as viable over other treatments, and there are federal laws in place to prohibit its use.”

While Watkins stood firm on the disapproval of the bill, Dr. Gil Witte, a member of the health board, as well as a member of the Olean Medical Group, said that the uses of medical marijuana seem to have some benefit for some patients.

“It is difficult to write a law that ensures that the use is properly enforced and not abused,” he said. “How do you put into law a bill that makes sure it works the right way?”

Medical Marijuana Hearings To Be Held In NY State In December

NEW YORK:  Democratic lawmakers plan to hold public hearings in Buffalo and Mineola next month on legalizing marijuana for treating medical conditions.

The hearings are part of an ongoing push by certain lawmakers in Albany to sanction marijuana cultivation, sales and use for certain diagnoses like cancer and other debilitating or life-threatening diseases. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have established some form of legalization for medical marijuana. [Read more…]