New York: Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana Is Among Administration’s Top Legislative Priorities

NEW YORK: Enacting legislation to permit and regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults is among the Cuomo administration’s top 2019 legislative priorities, New York’s Governor announced on Monday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We must … end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma, and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all.” His comments reaffirm those of a Cuomo spokesperson in November, who said, “The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult use marijuana.”

Days later, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio also publicly endorsed legalization, stating: “Our mission is clear: We want New York to be the fairest big city in America. If we get legalization right, marijuana can be an important new part of the solution.” A newly-released city task force report estimates that retail sales in New York City could total some $1.7 billion per year.

In July, a Health Department study commissioned by the Governor’s office recommended legalizing adult marijuana use and commerce. It concluded: “A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits. … Regulating marijuana enables public health officials to minimize the potential risks of marijuana use through outreach, education, quantity limits at point of sale, quality control, and consumer protection. … The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

A Guide To NY’s Medical Marijuana Law

NEW YORK:  The State Legislature voted last week to legalize medical marijuana, making New York the 23rd state, along with the District of Columbia, to allow use of the drug for medical purposes.

Each state has unique restrictions on the drug, which remains illegal under federal law, and New York’s program is particularly unique, in that it does not allow for smokable forms of the drug and sunsets after seven years.

Here’s a guide to some of the lingering questions about the law.

1) Who can use medical marijuana in New York State?

New York 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.

Medical Marijuana Debate In New York Turns To Smoking

NEW YORK:  The debate over legalizing medicinal marijuana on Monday turned to a new issue as opponents and advocates argued over whether patients should be allowed to smoke the drug when it is prescribed.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after days of expressing veiled concerns about full-scale legalization of medical pot, was more explicit on Monday about his issues with a bill working its way toward a vote in the Senate. Central among them: prescribing marijuana in smokable form.

“There are concerns, and if we can address the concerns, then there will be a bill. But I’m not going to be part of a system that is just going to wreak havoc,” Mr. Cuomo said on the radio program “Capitol Pressroom.”

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino, appeared on the same show Monday, saying eliminating smokable marijuana was a “non-starter.” She said: “We’ve done everything possible to mitigate the issue of smoking but health-care professionals who prescribe medical marijuana and patient advocates will be the first to tell you that smoking marijuana is the only way that will provide the relief that they need. It is easier to manage the dosage.”

Gov. Cuomo Wants Big Changes To Medical Marijuana Bill

NEW YORK:  Gov. Cuomo has outlined a series of concerns to lawmakers that must be addressed before he’ll even consider signing the bill to legalize medicinal marijuana in New York, the Daily News has learned.

Cuomo and legislative leaders began negotiations on a potential bill last week in hopes of reaching a deal before the legislative session concludes on Thursday. But administration officials Sunday said there are a host of conditions Cuomo told legislative leaders and the bill sponsors that he wants met, some of which others say could torpedo a possible deal.

Aides said Cuomo wants to bar the smoking and sharing of medical pot. Senate bill sponsor Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) amended her bill to prohibit the smoking of medical marijuana by anyone under 21. But a Cuomo official said allowing people to smoke the drug while there are other options like vaporization, pills and food form would send the wrong message after the state has spent big money on anti-smoking measures over the years.

Cuomo Said Set To Revive 1980 New York Medical Marijuana Law

NEW YORK:  Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning to revive a 1980 medical-marijuana law to allow some New York hospitals to make use of the drug for patients with cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses.

Cuomo, a Democrat, is expected to make the announcement in his Jan. 8 State of the State address, a person familiar with the speech said. The governor plans to use his executive authority to bypass the legislature where medical marijuana bills passed by the assembly have died in the Republican-controlled Senate. [Read more…]

Cuomo Said Set To Revive 1980 New York Medical Marijuana Law

NEW YORK:  Governor Andrew Cuomo is planning to revive a 1980 medical-marijuana law to allow some New York hospitals to make use of the drug for patients with cancer, glaucoma and other illnesses.

Cuomo, a Democrat, is expected to make the announcement in his Jan. 8 State of the State address, a person familiar with the speech said. The governor plans to use his executive authority to bypass the legislature where medical marijuana bills passed by the assembly have died in the Republican-controlled Senate. [Read more…]