Fast-Track Medical Marijuana Bill Heads To Cuomo’s Desk

NEW YORK:  State lawmakers late Monday passed a bill to fast-track New York’s medical marijuana program, a relief to some patients that could be short-lived.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, passed the New York State Senate 50-12. It means to get marijuana to patients with “progressive and degenerative” conditions faster than January, when the state’s medical marijuana program is supposed to begin.

Ironically, one of the main sponsors of the original medical marijuana law opposed Griffo’s fast-track version. Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, argued Monday night to stick to the original legislation that requires laying out regulations and vetting candidates to grow and distribute the drug.


Medical Marijuana In NY Remains Out Of Reach

NEW YORK:  The 10-year-old girl stood smiling at the governor’s side as he signed a medical marijuana bill into law last July.

Amanda Houser was so excited for the event, her mother said, her health problems — a rare form of epilepsy — were nearly forgotten for the day. And the photo from the New York City event of Amanda bashfully holding her cheeks next to Gov. Andrew Cuomo is one of the more memorable images from his time in office.

But the good feelings from the event have gradually subsided, and ill patients are increasingly frustrated that, nearly a year later, they still can’t access medical marijuana in New York.


New Medical Marijuana Law Inches Along In New York State

NEW YORK:  The New York medical marijuana law is far more restrictive than the laws in Colorado and many other states, and one that doesn’t go far enough for advocates and patients.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a onetime opponent, reversed his position in January when he announced a plan to allow 20 hospitals across the state – including Roswell Park Cancer Institute – to serve as dispensaries for medical marijuana.

The State Legislature passed its own, more-expansive version, and reached a deal with the governor in June following intense negotiations.

Roswell Park will not have a formal role under the law, with Dr. Donald L. Trump, the president and CEO, calling that a lost opportunity for cancer center scientists to take part in needed studies of medical marijuana.


Whoopi: With N.Y. Embracing Medical Pot, Let’s Consider Expanding Its Uses

NEW YORK:  We did this, New York.

With the recent passing of medical marijuana legislation in my home state, the empire state of mind will soon be more elevated and compassionate than ever before — with legal medical cannabis in Manhattan, Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca.

While I’m thrilled for my fellow New Yorkers who will be able to seek treatment via marijuana whenN.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan goes into action sometime in 2016, I’m sorry to say the governor’s plan doesn’t include conditions like glaucoma, migraines or severe menstrual disorders — very real issues for people who suffer from them, myself included (glaucoma). However, the great news is that under Cuomo’s plan, approved by the New York Legislature in late July, doctors will be able to prescribe marijuana for at least 10 diseases and conditions — including cancer, epilepsy, AIDS, neuropathy, ALS and other degenerative diseases. The state’s health department will direct the program, and the health commissioner can choose to include more illnesses.

Marijuana Ad In The NYTs: All The News That’s Fit To Smoke

NEW YORK:  Readers of the Sunday New York Times will have an added distraction to the crossword puzzle:  a paid advertisement for marijuana.  Surprised?  You shouldn’t be.

On July 5, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law New York’s Compassionate Care Act, making the use of medicinal marijuana legal.  Conditions qualifying for legal purchase and use of marijuana include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease), Parkinson’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord tissue damage, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease (including Crohn’s Disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s Disease).

The advertiser getting all the buzz (so sorry) is Leafly, but it isn’t actually marijuana at all.  The company is described as a “Yelp” of marijuana, offering an exchange of information in the surprisingly complicated world of selection and ingestion. Leafly’s website describes the company as “the world’s largest cannabis information community,” inviting visitors to “discover, connect and share.”

Cuomo Wants Health Department To Speed Up Medical Marijuana Availability For Children With Epilepsy

NEW YORK:  Gov. Cuomo wants to make medical marijuana available soon to children with epilepsy — but he’s not acting quickly enough for the anguished mom of a 9-year-old girl who died this month.

Cuomo, in a letter Wednesday, asked the state Health Department to study making the drug available to epileptic children sooner than the 18-month time frame set by New York’s new medical marijuana law.

He cited the deaths of Anna Conte, 9, and Olivia Marie Newton, 3, both from the Buffalo area, who suffered from epilepsy.

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.



New York Becomes 23rd State To Allow Medical Marijuana

NEW YORK:  New York has become the 23rd state in the U.S. to authorize medical marijuana – though the state’s program is one of the nation’s most restrictive.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the measure into law Saturday and held a formal signing ceremony in New York City on Monday to highlight the new law.

When the program gets up and running in about 18 months, patients with diseases including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy will be able to obtain nonsmokeable versions of the drug.

Instead, the drug must be ingested or administered through a vaporizer or oil base.


On Medical Marijuana, Focus Turns To Implementation

NEW YORK:  With Gov. Andrew Cuomo set to sign a medical-marijuana bill into law this week, supporters and medical providers are turning their attention to the state’s efforts to implement the program and whether any additional diseases will become eligible for treatment.

Cuomo has until July 5 to sign the marijuana bill, which he helped broker and has pledged to approve. His signature will start an 18-month clock for the state to craft regulations for the program, award contracts to grow and dispense the drug and decide whether conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder should be included.

For some major medical providers and groups in New York, the program has been met with a mix of intrigue and apprehension, and it’s unclear which doctors will actively participate in the program.

The legislation crafted by the governor and legislative leaders includes several innovative provisions unique to New York’s plan, most importantly a restriction against smokable forms of marijuana,” according to a statement from the Buffalo-based Roswell Park Cancer Institute. “There is some evidence that medical marijuana may be an effective way to address pain or other symptoms related to cancer or cancer treatment, and we hope to see well-designed clinical research studies implemented to evaluate its effects.”


Medical Marijuana, Out Of Joint

NEW YORK:  On Friday, New York became the 23rd state to pass a bill creating legal access to medical marijuana for patients with certain serious, debilitating conditions. Without question, this is a huge victory for New York patients with cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other conditions who have been waiting many years for relief.

Still, the law leaves unchanged the unconscionable status quo in which tens of thousands of New Yorkers, most of them black and Latino, are put through the criminal justice system for mere possession of small amounts of marijuana.

And even within the context of medical marijuana, the legislation is the result of political compromises with the governor that were needed to gain final passage. Those compromises include serious limitations that will leave many patients behind and complicate implementation. It becomes clear that politics, not science, drove the final agreement.

For instance, the bill represents an extraordinary level of intrusion into the doctor-patient relationship by narrowly defining the list of conditions for which physicians can recommend marijuana for medical use.