Medical Marijuana Bill Passes Assembly -- But Don't Get Your Hopes Up, New York

A bill that would legalize medical marijuana in New York passed in the Assembly yesterday, but don't go making up any ailments that qualify you for a weed prescription just yet; Governor Buzz Kill ain't gonna sign it -- even if it does find its way to his desk.

The bill would legalize prescription weed for people suffering from "serious debilitating or life-threatening conditions." If the bill becomes law, New York -- the state Governor Andrew Cuomo says should be the "progressive capitol of the nation" -- would become the 17th state to legalize marijuana for medical use.

"If the patient and physician agree that the patient's serious debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, the government should not stand in the way," Assemblyman Richard Gottfried -- the chairman of the Assembly's Health Committee, who introduced the bill (for the 17th time) -- says. "It is cruel to deny treatment to patients who are suffering or to turn them into criminals."

Under the proposed law, a licensed health care professional who is authorized to prescribe controlled substances would "certify the patient's need for marijuana for treatment of a serious debilitating or life-threatening condition." The certified "patient" would then registers with the Department of Health, and the weed would be purchased from a specially registered and regulated hospital or pharmacy.

According to Gottfried, New York's medical marijuana law "would be one of the most restrictive medical marijuana laws in the country." He says "it is modeled on the law we apply to highly dangerous and addictive drugs like morphine or oxycodone, but even tighter." In other words, New York wouldn't become California -- the poster state for flawed medical marijuana policy.

- Read the entire article at The Village Voice.

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