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.

New York Could Legalize Medical Marijuana Next Week

NEW YORK: A bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York state cleared what may have been its final obstacle Thursday.

Sen. Diane Savino (D) said at a press conference in Albany Thursday that the Compassionate Care Act — which would legalize medicinal use of the drug in New York — has been moved from the Senate Finance Committee to the Rules Committee. Earlier this week, Finance Committee Chairman Sen. John DeFrancisco (R) seemingly threatened to prevent the bill from coming to a vote.

Moving legislation to the Rules Committee happens routinely in Albany near the end of a legislative session in order to bring a bill to a full vote, and advocates say they have more than enough “yes” votes for the CCA to pass. The bill has already passed the New York State Assembly.

The legislation would make New York the 23rd state in the country to legalize the drug for medical use.

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.)