Medical Marijuana’s Big Break: “I Don’t Think He Ever Wanted To Touch This Issue”

NEW YORK:  A little more than a week ago — and to a degree of fanfare that would’ve been unimaginably piddling if it were as little as five years ago — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law making limited forms of medicinal marijuana legal in the Empire State.

And yet while such a move looks a bit pedestrian now that Colorado and Washington are well into their experiment with legal marijuana, it would be a mistake to assume the bill’s passage in New York is inconsequential. When it comes to major political and cultural change like ending prohibition, the hardest step is often the first.

Hoping to get an inside view into the bill’s passage, its likely effects, and why Gov. Cuomo resisted signing it for as long as he did, Salon called up Evan Nison, co-founder and director of NY Cannabis Alliance and director for the East Coast Cannabis Division of Terra Tech. Our conversation is below and has been edited for clarity and length.

As limited as the bill is, do you still consider it a win?

I consider the law a win, absolutely. This is gonna help hundreds if not thousands of patients in New York. Also, this is a step forward. New York is now the 23rd medical marijuana state. The movement within New York, the marijuana law reform movement within New York, can now all focus together on both implementing this law and broader legalization and regulation for adults over 21. So this gets us out of this sort of holding pattern that we’ve been in in New York.