Governor Andrew Cuomo and other legislative leaders have come up with an agreement that lets doctors prescribe marijuana to patients with cancer, AIDS and epilepsy, but will require that prescription to be filled in non-smokeable form, ostensibly to ward against recreational users from cheating the system.
According to The Journal News, Cuomo called the medical pot agreement “the best of both worlds,” because patients who need it can have it, but the program won’t be abused, it’s hoped.
“There are certainly significant medical benefits that can be garnered,” Cuomo said during a news conference Thursday. “At the same time, it’s a difficult issue because there are also risks that have to be averted — public-health risks, public-safety risks — and we believe this bill strikes the right balance.”
Lawmwakers are expected to approve the bill soon, with the aim of having the medical-marijuana program up and running within 18 months. The marijuana will be taxed at 7% of gross sales.
All the reefer would be grown in state at five approved sites, and dispensed at 20 outlets around the state. Instead of offering smokable marijuana, patients would be authorized to vaporize it or use oil-based cannabis extracts.
New York will become the 23rd state with a medical-marijuana program if the bill passes.
“New York has finally done something significant for thousands of patients who are suffering and need relief now. They will benefit from this compromise,” said the director of the Drug Policy Alliance, “That said, this is not the bill we wanted.” That’s in reference to concern over the limitations placed on the drug.
Under the program, medical marijuana would be available to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, significant damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease and other conditions added by the state Department of Health.
N.Y. set to legalize non-smokeable medical marijuana [The Journal News]