NY Legislature Passes Medical Marijuana Bill; Cuomo to Sign

NEW YORK: New York will become the latest state to legalize medical marijuana after the Senate on Friday passed a bill allowing the drug in non-smokeable form.

After a lengthy, emotional debate, the Senate voted 49-10 to approve the bill, which would authorize marijuana for therapeutic purposes for patients with serious diseases or conditions like cancer, AIDS and epilepsy. The Assembly approved the bill around 2:45 a.m. Friday, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already pledged his support. [Read more…]

New York State Reaches Multiple Last-Minute Deal

NEW YORK:  Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders on Thursday agreed to legalize certain forms of marijuana for patients with a limited range of diseases, capping two decades of efforts around a polarizing national issue.

The deal came during a flurry of last-minute negotiations in the Capitol, as lawmakers and the governor worked to finalize bills before the Legislature goes home for the year. The Senate and the Assembly both passed the bill letting New York City lower its default speed limit to 25 miles an hour. It now needs to be signed by the governor to become law.

After days of intense negotiations, the medical pot bill was more limited than many lawmakers wanted, after the governor warned he would sign it only with strict requirements.

It would permit only doctors to prescribe marijuana, in forms including oil-based and vapor, to individuals with any of about a half-dozen conditions, including cancer, AIDS, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

 

New York Leaders Have Tentative Deal on Medical Marijuana

NEW YORK — Legislative leaders said on Thursday that they had a tentative agreement on a pilot program to provide access to medical marijuana to sick New Yorkers, making the state one of the largest to embrace the drug as medicine.

The announcement came after days of intense negotiations between the Legislature and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, who had proffered a more restrictive system earlier this year that was roundly criticized as unworkable for the needs of thousands of potential patients. [Read more…]

New York Medical Marijuana Blinking Game Begins For Real

NEW YORK:  The sponsors of a bill legalizing medical marijuana made the midnight deadline to introduce a new version of the bill — the fifth — that bows to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on some of his ideas, but rejects a number of concerns he has publicly raised with the effort.

Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried amended their bill to, as Cuomo suggested, further limit the diseases or conditions for which the drug can be dispensed. Gone from the new bill is post-concussion syndrome, lupus and diabetes. But they keep intact the ability of patients to smoke the drug — Cuomo wanted an oil-based or other liquid type form of the drug being available — but the bill bans smoking in public places and, as previous versions, makes it illegal to dispense marijuana in a smoking form to anyone under age 21.

After Cuomo Monday characterized the lawmakers’ bill as overly generous when it comes to how much marijuana could go to patients in a 30-day period, Savino and Gottfried, in their new bill version, reduced from two and one-half ounces to two ounces the amount of marijuana that a doctor can prescribe to a patient in a one-month period. There appears also to be some new maneuvering room by the state health department, which will draft the regulations to implement the bill if it is passed and signed into law.

Lawmakers also did not go along with Cuomo’s call for a five-year sunset on the law. Savino and Gottfried both said that idea is unworkable and would serve to only keep private marijuana manufacturers from coming to New York to invest in the infrastructure to produce the drug.

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.)