NY Lawmakers Mull Medical Marijuana Legislation

New York’s medical marijuana bill has already passed the State House and now has favorably cleared a key Senate Committee as part of the state budget.

Millions in license fees are at stake, but proponents say that’s not the reason it should be approved.

This is coming only months after New Jersey passed a similar law. Patients suffering from neurological and muscular diseases report tremendous relief from smoking pot and as a muscular dystrophy patient, Rich Morosky told lawmakers it’s a godsend.

Morosky was in Albany Tuesday describing life before marijuana. “I would literally have to straighten my arms out, untangle my fingers,” he said. “Once I got up to therapeutic dosage in my bloodstream, it’s not like I’m getting all wacky and having a good time. I’m medicated, and this medicine works.”

With medical marijuana already legal in 14 states, opposition to the bill is weakening, but it still makes a lot of people nervous. “We’ve seen it in California. It doesn’t work in California. We believe, I believe personally that it’s a gateway drug and it will open up for more usage of marijuana amongst kids, and lead to further drug use across our state,” said Sen Martin Golden (R-Brooklyn).

The New York law would limit prescriptions to seriously ill patients and there be no home grown weed. Licensed growers and distributors would generate $15 million annually for the state, according to the bill’s sponsors who said the time has come.

“The New York Law would be the most restrictive of any medical marijuana law in the country,” said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan).

Advocate Jim Miller said New York could learn from New Jersey’s legislative experience. “How dare we ask sick and dying people to come and beg their legislators for relief they know could be had” he said.

The law, as written, would put the State Health Department in charge of the New York medical marijuana program. Opponents point out the Health Department has a hard enough time preventing Medicaid fraud without taking on a controlled substance.

– Article from CBS News.