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New York State Assembly Overwhelmingly Passes Medical Marijuana Bill


New York medical marijuanaIt’s a great day to be a New Yorker! According to the press release below, the New York State Assembly passed a compassionate use bill by 95 to 38. I wonder how Bloomberg feels now, and if he has enough napkins to wipe the egg off his face? The proposed program follows the trend of being more narrowly tailored than it’s predecessors, but it’s a step in the right direction:

Passage Follows New Poll: 82% of New Yorkers Support Medical Marijuana, Including 81% of Both Democrats and Republicans

Healthcare Practitioners and Patients Urge New York Senate to Pass Bill Without Delay

New York: Earlier today, the New York State Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357/Gottfried) by a vote of 95 to 38.  The bill, which would create one the most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs in the country, would alleviate the suffering of thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers by allowing the use of marijuana to treat debilitating, life-threatening illnesses under a doctor’s supervision.

The Compassionate Care Act – A.6357 (Gottfried) / S. 4406 (Savino) – would allow practitioners to talk to their patients about medical marijuana and certify those with serious, debilitating illnesses, so that they may have access to a small amount of medical marijuana to relieve their symptoms.

“New Yorkers living with cancer, multiple scleroses, HIV/AIDS and other serious illnesses have waited long enough,” said gabriel sayegh, State Director of DPA’s New York Policy Office.  ”This is a simple matter of compassion.  This is the fourth time the State Assembly has passed a medical marijuana bill. Now it’s long past time for the State Senate to act. The science is clear. The moral and ethical needs are obvious. The only thing holding this up is the Senate.  Listen to the science, to healthcare practitioners, and to the vast majority of New Yorkers who support this proposal.  It’s time for the Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act.”

The bill has the support of hundreds of patients and providers and dozens of organizations across the state; a recent Siena poll found that 82% of New Yorkers support medical marijuana, including 81% of both Republicans and Democrats.

“I have suffered from excruciating nausea and pain from the many chemotherapy treatments I have undergone,” said Nancy Rivera of Troy, a survivor of two bouts of breast cancer, colon cancer and throat cancer. “During a series of chemo and radiation treatments, I lost 40 pounds in 3 months. I have never used medical marijuana since it is not legal; however, I think all cancer patients should have the legal option of trying medical marijuana if their provider recommends it.”

The bill also enjoys wide support from healthcare providers and organizations, such as the New York State Nurses Association, the Collaborative for Palliative Care, GMHC, New York State Pharmacists Society, NY Physicians for Compassionate Care, and the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York.

“We applaud the Assembly for taking this step and passing the Compassionate Care Act. The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) supports this legislation because it creates a carefully controlled system allowing seriously ill New Yorkers access to the therapeutic and palliative benefits of medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider,” said Jill Furillo, Executive Director, NYSNA.

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg ran afoul of medical science when he called medical marijuana “one the great hoaxes of all time.”  A day earlier, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine released a survey of physicians finding that 76% of those surveyed would approve medical marijuana for use to reduce pain in a cancer patient.  That same day NY Physicians for Compassionate Care announced that more than 600 New York physicians from all across state support medical marijuana and want to be able recommend its use to seriously ill patients who might benefit from its use. May 30 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine states that 76 percent of surveyed doctors said they would approve medical marijuana to help reduce the pain for an older woman with advanced breast cancer

“This is a medication, far safer than many of the medications we already use, that has been proven effective for chronic and neuropathic pain, appetite stimulation, and nausea” said Howard Grossman, MD, a New York City-based physician and Chair of NY Physicians for Compassionate Care. “As doctors, we want to do what’s best for our patients and that includes recommending medical marijuana for some patients.  We urge the Senate to do the sensible and humane thing and pass the Compassionate Care Act now.”

Eighteen other states and the District Columbia have passed medical marijuana laws; with the exception of Pennsylvania, New York is now surrounded by states that permit legal access to medical marijuana.

More and more doctors are using medical marijuana in states where it is legal. It doesn’t make sense that doctors in New York cannot use medical marijuana in their practice,” said Craig D. Blinderman, MD, MA, Director, Adult Palliative Care Services, Co-Director, Center for Supportive Care and Clinical Ethics, Department of Medicine, Columbia University.

Despite broad support among the healthcare community and the general public and solid scientific evidence supporting its efficacy for a number of medical conditions, medical marijuana remains illegal in New York, even for the seriously and terminally ill.

Having worked for many years with oncology and rheumatology patients, I’ve seen the benefits of medical cannabis firsthand,” said Lisa Roche Schroeder, RN, of Little Falls, who has been working as a nurse for 25 years.  “The science shows that medical marijuana helps with pain, nausea, appetite and chemotherapy side-effects. It can be used for many purposes. The government should not be telling healthcare providers that they cannot recommend a medication that they think will help their patients,” she said.

According to the National Institute for Medicine, “Nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety … all can be mitigated by marijuana.” It also concluded that “there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana…”

“I suffer constant neuropathic pain throughout the right side of my body,” said Maxine Murphy of Buffalo, a grandmother and ordained minister who suffered a severe back injury requiring extensive surgery. “My doctors say they can’t do anything for me. I’d like to try medical marijuana, but I don’t want to break the law.”

The New York proposal was drafted with careful, strict controls: under tight regulation, a patient who has been certified by a healthcare practitioner to use medical marijuana would register with the New York State Department of Health and receive a patient identification card. Specially approved organizations would dispense the marijuana to registered patients, under DOH supervision.

Geri Barish of Long Island, a cancer survivor, whose son used medical marijuana before succumbing to cancer, noted: “When it’s your child who can’t help himself and is literally withering away in pain, you’d do anything to take that pain away. When people are suffering, we can at least give them their dignity. It’s time for the Senate to pass this bill now.”

Source: Drug Policy Alliancemake a donation


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Johnny Green


  1. At this point it is still 100% illegal in NY. Governor Cuomo and the Senate are the only obstacles at this point. This bill has majority support, but Cuomo has been against it for awhile. Our Comptroller, John Liu who is/wants to run for governor knows the amount of money the medicinal uses can bring to our state. It would create millions each year like it does in the other states and that is why he is supporting it 100%. This won’t even be discussed until 2014 which is bullshit.
    Alcohol prohibition lasted how long??!!! And how many kids and adults die from it everyday? It is the only “drug” that has a withdrawal so bad that it can kill you and yet alcohol is still legal and socially acceptable, if not mandatory among younger Americans.

    Why should our only legal option be alcohol? If I want to catch a buzz, I should be able to do it comfortably without having to worry about negative side effects like alcohol poisoning, throwing up, and getting sick. Alcohol is served to the masses at every event you go to.

    What’s even worse for NY is that young adults died this past weekend at that Electric Zoo festival in the city from overdosing on MDMA. This can be either a huge step towards saying if they had access to legal marijuana, they wouldn’t have felt the need to use harder drugs; or this is a huge set-back and it will make people saying that medicinal marijuana will lead to abuse. It really sucks to live in NY at this point in time. Literally every surrounding state, except Penn has medicinal marijuana.

    We shouldn’t have to live in fear for using a natural plant to catch a buzz that is safer than alcohol. Why are New Yorkers not standing up and pushing for this to happen today??? Why aren’t we Americans standing up to the government and saying enough is enough. It should be fully legalized in each State and the Federal Government.


  2. johnnygreen

    Unfortunately it did not get past the Assembly :( Medical marijuana is not legal in New York, but hopefully not for long!

  3. ccould someone please explain to me..Is it legal or not. can someone buy it? can a parent get it for a child?? I have a friend with a very sick child in NY what r her right’s on these laws? Thank you ! please email me a responce @ Ilovsdragonflys@aol.com

  4. That is not how our government works…only Assembly members are allowed to speak in the chamber…

  5. Charles Edson Rogers Jr. on

    I consider childish because if they took the time to read the bill,they wouldn’t have to ask stupid questions.A bunch of the speakers were out of touch and I for the life of me cannot figure out why a Medical cannabis expert isn’t brought to these events to answer any question brought to the bill sponsor.I could have answered a majority of questions and tactfully as well.

  6. Not to spit in the face of progress, but if marijuana is to be strictly medicinal as some seem to advocate (frankly I prefer all adult use legalization), then it should be OTC.

  7. Rising costs of medicine + unknown effects. Two factors that contribute to dissatisfaction with corporate medical. Homeopathic remedies have been shunned and decried by big pharma. It’s high time that the people make there own choice about marijuana. AMA says there needs to be more study. That is just a stall tactic. Marijuana has been in mainstream use here in the US for 50+ years. Scads of casual users over the past half century have contributed to the backbone of this country. The negative effects of legal alchohol far, far outweigh the negative effects illegal marijuana, excluding those resulting from control attempts. End the madness, legalize now.

  8. I’m happy that this has finally passed, but with no exceptions it is “tightly regulated” by New York. I guess glaucoma and the numerous other illnesses that benefit from MMJ treatment aren’t serious enough for the assembly. Hopefully, new bills pass allowing for a widening of the description of what counts as a “serious illness”. For me it’s anything that affects one negatively on a daily basis.

  9. Teresa Devlin on

    I am excited that it passed by 81% I have degenerative disk disease mild to severe arthritis in lower back.. I have depression and severe anxiety as well. I hope that they pass this so that my pain level will decrease without taking pills.’

  10. I thought Gottfried did a good job with all of the debate questions. It passed the Assembly vote with more republican support this year than in past years. No question is childish, most of the assembly members probably didn’t even read the bill language…and the “childish” questions were answered in a way to help assembly members make a vote in our favor. The opposition goes out of it’s way during debates to make the proposed legislation look childish. At the end of the debate, it passed.

  11. Charles Edson Rogers Jr. on

    Skelos and Cuomo will make sure it doesnt pass the senate.They are still keeping the lies going.Lying liars and the lies they tell.I watched the assembly pass this live and I couldn’t belief all the childish questions..It is insane.I thought our reps were the cream of the crop.All they showed me was they were cream of the crap>>>

  12. In NY the bill language gives physicians discretion to prescribe medical marijuana to patients with severe, life threatening, or debilitating conditions. The current bill uses the term “including, but not limited to” Which makes eligible conditions a moot point. In CT pain is not a covered condition. The bill in NY was crafted to avoid excluding conditions that are severe, but not on the list.

  13. Baby steps are needed to tip the scales in our favor. States passing medical marijuana are sending a strong message that they have no confidence in the federal government and it’s political agenda and have decided to take matters into their own hands.

  14. NOW is the time for NY resident’s to call their Senators, especially if you are in a republican district, and ask for medical marijuana to make it to the Senate for a floor vote. We have 13 Days left in the current session to get this passed! Please share on your social network pages if you do not live in NY. Our Senators need to hear from their constituents. Visit http://www.nysenate.gov to find your Senator. I was one of only two marijuana activists present at the Assembly vote yesterday, and spent today lobbying Senators in Albany. We can’t all “be there” but we can all pick up the phone, write a letter, or tell our story. Marijuana is medicine and NY resident’s with severe debilitating conditions should not have to face criminal sanction for choosing an all natural medication under their physician’s care. Thank you. Lisa Roche-Schroeder, RN, CCRC, CRNI

  15. Marijuana for everyone. Government middlemen “Doctors” are getting all the money. Dispensarys are old boys clubs on the east coast. Grow it sell it Spend the proceeds. Taxes are for lazy thieving bearucrats who had no part in the process of the medicinal plant. They don’t tax pharmaceuticals, so why should they tax farmerceuticals? Anyone who suggests taxing Marijuana is a fool. Marijuana was used to pay taxes in the old days. GRow it, sell it, reap the benefits. Imagine sitting on your cushy tush all day while slaves work their hinds off to pay for your office, and your staff. It’s a pirates life for them.

  16. One step closer to legalization outright, come on people when ex Microsoft execs start buying up dispensaries because they know the golden rule it’s about time to legalize it nationally and internationally.

  17. His career should have been toast long ago, he’s always been an idiot and a hypocrite.

  18. According to recent population numbers, with IL and NY now having legal mmj, that means 45% of the US is now legal. Only one more big state, like OH, is needed for a majority.

  19. Bloomberg’s political career is toast. Now both conservatives and liberals think he’s a jerk.

  20. It’s a step, but why only for “debilitating” conditions? Why not for any quality-of-life condition for which a doctor feels it would be effective or provide relief?

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