Wednesday, July 08, 2009

NY Medical Marijuana Update

By request of an emailer we are going to give you an update on the NY Medical Marijuana Situation.

Back in May we told you about the Medical Bill currently going through the NY Senate.

This year started out as a very exciting year for New York's medical marijuana legislation, but until a Senate leadership struggle is resolved compassionate medical marijuana legislation will sadly remain in limbo. For the first time ever, identical medical marijuana bills were introduced in the Assembly and Senate earlier this year, sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried and Senate Health Committee Chair Tom Duane. With a Democratic majority in place for the first time, Senate bill 4041-A was making steady progress — with 16 co-sponsors and its first committee win. Meanwhile the Assembly bill — which as twice passed the floor — was ready for a floor vote.

Then, on June 8, two Democratic New York City state senators joined 30 Republicans in a vote for a Republican majority leader, Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre). One of the two Democrats has returned to the Democrats, and the Senate is currently deadlocked at 31 votes for each party. The Senate was supposed to adjourn on June 22, but has been meeting in a state of confusion. The Democrats have offered a power-sharing agreement to break the deadlock, but so far there has been no agreement.

Especially in this new climate, it is crucial that the medical marijuana bill enjoy bipartisan support, and that it receive a Senate floor vote. Thus, our champion, Asm. Gottfried, introduced a new amended medical marijuana bill, A. 9016, designed to garner support from senators of both parties. Senate Republicans who are open to allowing medical marijuana have long opposed allowing patients and designated caregivers to grow small amounts of marijuana. The bill would instead allow for safe access by allowing state-registered regulated entities to dispense medical marijuana to qualified patients. A. 9016 passed the Assembly Health Committee, and is awaiting a vote in the Codes Committee and on the floor after the Assembly returns to work later this summer. (source)

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