A bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York cleared a major hurdle in Albany Tuesday as the Senate Health Committee passed the Compassionate Care Act by a slim, bipartisan vote of 9 to 8.
“This vote is an enormous milestone in our quest to bring safe and reliable medical marijuana treatment to patients all across our state,” said the bill’s sponsor, state Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), in a statement. “Today, the Senate has taken a decisive first step in moving this legislation forward.”
Savino has said she has 40 votes in the senate, including from five Republicans, which is enough for the bill to pass if it comes to the floor for a vote. Tuesday’s health committee decision puts the bill one big step closer to that happening.
Last month, Savino amended the Compassionate Care Act to make it more agreeable to Republicans in the state Senate. Lohud.com reported that the new version of the bill would allow only those over 21 to smoke marijuana for medical purposes. Those under 21 would have to use alternative methods of ingesting cannabis, such as using oils. The new version also listed a specific set of illnesses for which medical marijuana could be prescribed.
The Democrat-controlled state Assembly has repeatedly passed the Compassionate Care Act, only to have it stall in the Republican-controlled Senate. Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has previously indicated that if the bill were to pass the both the Assembly and Senate, he would sign it.
– Read the entire article at The Huffington Post.