Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, is refusing to submit to the desires of those who want to legalize marijuana. Currently, he has a bill that is going to come across his desk written by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino. The bill is called the Compassionate Care Act and it aims to allow medical marijuana for those that can obtain a license.
There have been several attempts to get marijuana legalized in the state of NewYork, but none have gone as far through the approval line as the Compassionate Care Act has gone. The final stop for the act will be Governor Cuomo.
Cuomo stated that he would approve the bill if it took smoking marijuana off the table. However, the originators of the bill refuse to comply with this. Cuomo doesn’t agree with legalizing the ability to smoke marijuana and feels that if there are any therapeutic benefits then they can be administered in a more clinical manner than lighting up a joint or smoking a bowl.
Cuomo did approve a separate bill for medical marijuana research. He agreed to allow hospitals to provide marijuana to patients with chronic illnesses or diseases. This is similar to the bill that was passed in Florida, allowing those suffering from epilepsy to receive medical marijuana. The Compassionate Care Act is different from those bill in that it doesn’t single out chronic illnesses or epilepsy. It leaves the requirements up to the doctor.
Florida is also facing the same issues. Because they have allowed patients with epilepsy to be prescribed a non euphoric form of marijuana they are now facing the dilemma on whether to approve medical marijuana for further use.
There are supporters on both sides of the issue. While Cuomo doesn’t seem to be budging on his stance that smoking marijuana should not be legal, marijuana activists are hopeful. “We’re definitely optimistic, this is certainly the closest we’ve ever been” said Jason Elan, Dian Savino’s spokesperson.
If the bill were to be approved by Cuomo it would be one of the most regulated set of laws regarding marijuana in the Untied States. Anyone under the age of 21 would not be allowed to smoke marijuana. Marijuana would only be dispensed and ingested under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider. This means it would be a much more controlled environment and setting.
Many states who have already passed medical marijuana laws have found that simply giving a card to patients and allowing them to have marijuana to smoke at will can open the door for more abuse the law and of course the drug itself. As intervention specialists, we have seen many instances where people with medical marijuana cards begin abusing the drug or become addicted to it. We have also seen where people get a medical card and then use it to supply marijuana for others to use, so it is understandable why Governor Cuomo would be so hesitant to approve a bill that easily opens the door to such abuse.