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NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany
    #7040328 - 06/13/07 12:03 AM (16 years, 11 months ago)


Following in the footsteps of Connecticut's Legislature, New York State lawmakers are expected to approve legislation allowing the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The Democrat-led Assembly could pass a medical marijuana bill as early as this week, according to the bill's main sponsor. The Republican-led Senate is expected to follow suit, lawmakers said.

It's not clear if Governor Spitzer would support the bill. As a candidate last year, Mr. Spitzer said he was opposed to the legalization of medical marijuana, but a spokeswoman for the governor indicated yesterday that he has not ruled out signing such a bill.

"We know that the issue is being discussed by the Legislature and a variety of proposals have been discussed," a spokeswoman for Mr. Spitzer, Christine Anderson, said via e-mail. "If they pass a bill, we'll obviously take a look at it."

Governor Rell of Connecticut, who is considering a medical marijuana bill that lawmakers sent to her desk earlier this month, has also given mixed signals about her position. She has said it's important to help seriously ill people alleviate their pain, but has expressed fear that legalizing the drug would undermine the message that recreational use of marijuana is dangerous.

New York would be the 13th state to approve a medical marijuana program and the fifth state to approve the use of the substance through legislative action. Eight states have permitted medical marijuana by voter referendum.

In 2005, New York lawmakers came close to approving a medical marijuana law. They backed off after the Supreme Court ruled that the federal government can prohibit doctors from prescribing the drug. Since the ruling, states have increasingly reasserted their right to permit use of the drug under certain conditions.

New York is moving closer to legalizing medical marijuana at a time when the movement appears to be gaining momentum.

In the last two months, in addition to the legislative action in Connecticut, New Mexico became the 12th state to legalize medical marijuana; Vermont lawmakers voted to broaden their program, and Rhode Island lawmakers passed a bill making the state's medical marijuana law permanent, and are expected to override Governor Carcieri's veto.

"The issue has just started to reach critical mass," a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, Bruce Mirken, said. "There's a growing awareness among politicians that's it's not a scary issue."

The bill introduced in the Assembly is similar to Rhode Island's law. It would allow the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 12 plants by a certified patient or designated caregiver.

Patients would be barred from purchasing marijuana and smoking it in public places. A doctor could certify the use of marijuana for up to one-year intervals to a patient suffering from a life-threatening condition. The doctor could certify the drug only if he or she believed that it would be more effective than other drugs.

Critics of medical marijuana say the dangers of using the drug outweigh any medical benefits. Opponents also argue that there are available legal medicines that could offer similar relief. There is a fear among some critics that legalizing the drug would make it easily available to people who are not authorized to use it and would make the drug seem safe.

"I think it's wrong," the chairman of the Conservative Party of New York, Michael Long, said. "I don't think there's any way to keep track of what's going on. Who's to say that marijuana is not being picked up by teenagers in the house?"

Supporters contend that marijuana can offer relief to people suffering from cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Crohn's disease, hepatitis-C, and multiple sclerosis. The prohibition, they say, hasn't stopped sick people from seeking the drug but has driven up the cost, meaning they have to spend hundreds of dollars to obtain just one ounce.

They also argue that the drug is especially beneficial to sick people who don't respond well to other medication and that smoking the plant is more effective than taking the synthetic and legal pill version made with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

"It's humane, and it's good medicine," a Democratic assemblyman of Manhattan who is the lead sponsor of the bill in the chamber, Richard Gottfried, said. "There are thousands of New Yorkers who suffer from serious medical conditions who could have a better quality and longer life."

A Senate Republican who in previous years has sponsored medical marijuana bills in the chamber, Vincent Leibell, said he's optimistic that the house would back a marijuana bill, although one with a different wording from the Assembly version.

"I believe there's support there," he said.

Mr. Leibell said it's likely that he would put forward a bill when the Assembly votes on its version. The Senate majority leader, Joseph Bruno, who is a survivor of prostate cancer, has said he supports legalizing marijuana.

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Registered: 04/01/06
Posts: 3,524
Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: Quake3]
    #7040496 - 06/13/07 12:40 AM (16 years, 11 months ago)

my knee hurts!!!

i am gonna so get medical mj

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version 2.0

Registered: 03/18/07
Posts: 1,337
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Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: Quake3]
    #7041052 - 06/13/07 07:30 AM (16 years, 11 months ago)


Quake3 said:
There is a fear among some critics that legalizing the drug would make it easily available to people who are not authorized to use it and would make the drug seem safe.

It is safe! A lot safer than most other fuckin synthetic drugs they prescribe people, anyways.

I'm in need of a sterile sporeprint, if anyone wants to do a trade for some seeds or something, or maybe just for free if you have a lot of them............. i'd really appreciate it :mushroom2:

NuggetPorch said - "YES! YES!!!! Coaster its Faint, but its fucking there YOU see it!!! Perhaps we are both on some sort of unusual wave length associated with unusual neuro-transmitters, mind expansion white light, or something we can not even begin to understand or fathom to conceive because it is a gift of insight or a curse given to us by powers beyond our control, something we are not meant to know."

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Registered: 06/06/03
Posts: 61,027
Loc: the sky
Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: Quake3]
    #7041126 - 06/13/07 08:20 AM (16 years, 11 months ago)


Don't hold your breath though. Governor Spitzer ain't quite what he seems.

The man ran for Governor after having a pretty good People Power kinda record as Attorney General. He went after corporations and fought on the side of the little guy.  In his campaign platform, he said one of his goals was to repeal the draconian, outdated, unfair Rockefeller Drug Laws.  It has now been a year and a half of Spitzer being in office and he has done barely anything to change the sad state of mandatory minimums in this state.

He doesn't seem to care about fixing the "War on Drugs" in any way.

Acid doesn't give you truths; it builds machines that push the envelope of perception. Whatever revelations came to me then have dissolved like skywriting. All I really know is that those few years saddled me with a faith in the redemptive potential of the imagination which, however flat, stale and unprofitable the world seems to me now, I cannot for the life of me shake.

-Erik Davis

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Registered: 04/30/07
Posts: 31
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Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: OneMoreRobot3021]
    #7043040 - 06/13/07 05:36 PM (16 years, 11 months ago)

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Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: Rodev]
    #7044279 - 06/13/07 11:30 PM (16 years, 11 months ago)

I wonder what will happen if more then %50 of the states make a state law. Will the federal law be changed then.

All of my posts are purely fictional and for hypothetical purposes.

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Registered: 06/13/07
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Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: Montanahunter420]
    #7044298 - 06/13/07 11:35 PM (16 years, 11 months ago)

Groovy. I would celebrate, but my dealer doesn't answer his phone anymore. =[

My head hit the ground, I was half the way down treading the sand.

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Re: NY: A Medical Marijuana Law Gains Momentum in Albany [Re: Syd Barrett Fan]
    #7045211 - 06/14/07 08:23 AM (16 years, 11 months ago)


Gov. Eliot Spitzer and legislative leaders said this week that the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be made legal in New York State.

But whether all involved can come to an agreement on how that should be done with one week left in the legislative session remains in significant doubt. One question they must answer: Should the state be in the business of growing and distributing marijuana to sick people? And if not, how should those people obtain it?

And even though a dozen other states have legalized marijuana use to ease the pain of a variety of diseases, buying, selling or possessing marijuana remains a federal crime. The deliberation comes on the heels of a similar bill recently passed in Connecticut that is awaiting the signature of Gov. M. Jodi Rell.

In New York, the Democratic-led Assembly passed a bill on Wednesday that would give doctors the authority to grant eligible patients a certification allowing them to legally acquire and use marijuana or to grow up to a dozen plants at a time.

“Thousands of New Yorkers with serious life-threatening conditions could get significant medical benefit from the use of marijuana,” said Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat.

But it is not clear how these plants, or the seeds to grow them, would be acquired. The Assembly’s bill says only that it would be lawful to give patients marijuana or seeds if “nothing of value is transferred in return.”

Senator Vincent N. Leibell, a Republican whose district includes Putnam County and parts of Westchester and Dutchess Counties, said he would introduce legislation that would take a different approach. He said he would prefer that the state’s Health Department be in charge of growing and dispensing marijuana.

“The key issue is control,” he said. “How do you control manufacture, and how do you control dispensement? Those are the two issues that’ll be out there.”

The Senate majority leader, Joseph L. Bruno, said that he supported the idea — he has supported efforts to legalize marijuana for medical use in the past — but that “the Assembly version doesn’t work.”

He said he believed there was enough time left in the session to work out the differences, though lawmakers are grappling with a wide variety of issues in the five remaining days of the session.

Mr. Spitzer, the former attorney general, has in the past been opposed to the idea. But he said on Tuesday that he had rethought his position.

“On many issues, hopefully you learn, you study, you evolve,” the governor said. “This is one where I had, as a prosecutor, a presumption against the use of any narcotic which wasn’t designed purely for medicinal and medical effect, and now there are ways that have persuaded me that it can be done properly.”

But the governor said he would sign the bill only if it were “properly structured”; he did not elaborate.

Two years ago, the Supreme Court upheld the federal government’s authority to prosecute people for possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes, even in states that permit it. Federal officials have not appeared to prosecute patients aggressively but have gone after some distributors.

“Marijuana is illegal,” said Rogene Waite, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration, adding, “There has been no scientific determination by the federal government that there is any such thing as medical marijuana.”

State laws permitting medicinal marijuana use differ on how much of the drug can be possessed or grown and which illnesses can be treated with it. Hawaii and Vermont issue identification cards to patients who qualify, while Maine and Washington do not require registration with the state, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group that supports the legalization of medical marijuana.

In New Mexico, a new law requires the state’s Department of Health to oversee production and distribution of marijuana.

In California, the first state to legalize medical marijuana, a broadly worded law has allowed for the rapid proliferation of cannabis clubs and privately owned distribution centers.

But most other states, wary of venturing into murky legal waters, rely on a classically American business model: do-it-yourself. Approved patients are allowed to grow a limited number of plants, but must buy the seeds themselves — in violation of federal law.

“While it’s not a perfect solution, it’s the easiest one for states to implement,” said Bruce Mirken, a spokesman for the nonprofit Marijuana Policy Project, which promotes the legalization of the drug.

The talk-show host Montel Williams, who has said he uses marijuana to alleviate pain associated with multiple sclerosis, said he was encouraged by Mr. Spitzer’s “intestinal fortitude” on the issue.

“This is medication for those of us who use it,” he said, speaking from his Manhattan apartment. “We shouldn’t go to jail for it, and I shouldn’t be on the cover of a newspaper being ridiculed, because it’s my choice and my doctor’s choice.”

Mr. Williams has previously met with Mr. Bruno and former Gov. George E. Pataki to discuss the issue. He has said he has used marijuana daily, but would not say whether he had done so on Tuesday.

“I wish I could tell you that,” he said, “but then I’d have every cop in the city looking for me.”

Edited by veggie (06/14/07 12:15 PM)

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