NY State Assembly Includes Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Bill in House Budget Bill, Jumpstarting Negotiations With Senate And Governor

NEW YORK:  Today, the State Assembly is introducing and passing their one-house budget proposal, which, for the first time ever, includes the New York’s comprehensive medical marijuana proposal – the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357-A -Gottfried) / S.4406-A -Savino).

As the Assembly gathers to pass the measure, dozens of patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers are descending on Albany to press the State Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act. The patients are living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions, and the families include parents of children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome. They will participate in a public hearing on medical marijuana, then meet with legislators throughout the day and, finally, attend a free public event about medical marijuana tonight in Latham at the HopeClub. [Read more…]

New York State Is Set to Loosen Marijuana Laws

NEW YORK: Joining a growing group of states that have loosened restrictions on marijuana, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York plans this week to announce an executive action that would allow limited use of the drug by those with serious illnesses, state officials say.

The shift by Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat who had long resisted legalizing medical marijuana, comes as other states are taking increasingly liberal positions on it — most notably Colorado, where thousands have flocked to buy the drug for recreational use since it became legal on Jan. 1.

Mr. Cuomo’s plan will be far more restrictive than the laws in Colorado or California, where medical marijuana is available to people with conditions as mild as backaches. It will allow just 20 hospitals across the state to prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer, glaucoma or other diseases that meet standards to be set by the New York State Department of Health.

While Mr. Cuomo’s measure falls well short of full legalization, it nonetheless moves New York, long one of the nation’s most punitive states for those caught using or dealing drugs, a significant step closer to policies being embraced by marijuana advocates and lawmakers elsewhere.

Why New York Is Considering Legalizing Marijuana

NEW YORK: Back in 1998, 14-year-old Alfredo Carrasquillo and his friends were heading to a Bronx apartment where they planned to smoke pot and listen to some Tupac when a cop car pulled up on the curb “as if it was a movie or something.”

The cops ordered Carrasquillo and his friends to stand against a fence and then began patting them down and going through their pockets. “I knew I had a bag of weed on me but I wasn’t going to volunteer myself to be arrested,” Carrasquillo said. “Then one officer finds the weed and he says, ‘You should have told me about it before, but now I’m going to have to take you in.’”

That incident — and the night in jail that followed — was Carrasquillo’s introduction to the practice known as stop-and-frisk, a lynchpin of police policy in New York since the mid-’90s that has only grown more pervasive since Carrasquillo’s youth. [Read more…]

Why New York Is Considering Legalizing Marijuana

NEW YORK: Back in 1998, 14-year-old Alfredo Carrasquillo and his friends were heading to a Bronx apartment where they planned to smoke pot and listen to some Tupac when a cop car pulled up on the curb “as if it was a movie or something.”

The cops ordered Carrasquillo and his friends to stand against a fence and then began patting them down and going through their pockets. “I knew I had a bag of weed on me but I wasn’t going to volunteer myself to be arrested,” Carrasquillo said. “Then one officer finds the weed and he says, ‘You should have told me about it before, but now I’m going to have to take you in.’”

That incident — and the night in jail that followed — was Carrasquillo’s introduction to the practice known as stop-and-frisk, a lynchpin of police policy in New York since the mid-’90s that has only grown more pervasive since Carrasquillo’s youth. [Read more…]