Assembly Set To OK Medical-Marijuana Bill 

Assembly Set To OK Medical-Marijuana Bill 
Posted by CN Staff on June 14, 2007 at 10:03:48 PT
By Glenn Blain
Source: Star Gazette 
Albany, NY -- With Gov. Eliot Spitzer signaling his support, the state Assembly Wednesday voted 92-52 to adopt legislation making it legal for medical patients experiencing extreme pain to receive - and even grow - marijuana.Assembly members approved a measure introduced by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, that allows patients who have been certified by their doctors to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana or 12 plants.
The state Senate is expected to introduce its own marijuana legislation, but the two chambers have not agreed on a final bill.For those whom marijuana "is the only thing that gives them some degree of relief should have it available to them," said Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan. The Assembly vote came a day after Spitzer, who as a candidate for governor last year argued against medical marijuana, said he was open to signing such legislation. Spitzer said he changed his mind after discussing the issue with medical experts and patients.While Spitzer's comments sparked optimism among supporters of medical marijuana that New York would join the dozen other states that have such laws, it remained unclear Wednesday whether enough support existed in the Senate to move the matter forward before the end of the state Legislature's session next week.Critics of the Assembly bill charged that it would encourage patients to engage in drug deals, which would be dangerous and, under federal law, still illegal."What this bill does is force people who are suffering into the arms of criminals," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes, R-Amherst, Erie County.Sen. Vincent Leibell, R-Patterson. said he hopes to have a medical-marijuana bill ready this week but cautioned that the details were still being crafted. He stressed that he wanted strict limitations on the dispensing and distribution of marijuana."This is a very narrow, limited piece of legislation that is being proposed," Leibell said. "It is meant for those doctors who work in the area of pain management. It is meant to be another tool for them to help their patients, many of whom will be terminally ill." Leibell said he decided to support medical-marijuana legislation after having conversations with friends who are terminally ill and with talk show host Montel Williams, who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Although Leibell said he was hopeful that the Assembly and Senate could agree on a bill before the end of the legislative session next week, he conceded that many details needed to be resolved. One possible sticking point was the Assembly's provision that allows patients to possess their own marijuana plants. Leibell said he wanted to see manufacture of the drug strictly controlled, perhaps even limited to the state Health Department."Certainly we are not going to let people have plants at home," Leibell said. The Assembly bill was modeled after a similar law adopted in Rhode Island and designed to circumvent federal laws that make it illegal to sell or distribute marijuana. It allows a doctor to certify in writing that a patient has exhausted all other forms of pain relief and would benefit from marijuana. The patient would then present the doctor's certification to the state Health Department, which would issue a registration card allowing the patient to posses or grow marijuana.Supporters of the Assembly legislation argue that it is necessary for patients to be allowed to grow their own plants, since federal law still prohibits the sale or production of marijuana, even for medical purposes. "The bill is not perfect," Gottfried conceded. "It is, I think, as good as we can get, given the federal law."Source: Star-Gazette (NY)Author: Glenn BlainPublished: June 14, 2007Copyright: 2007 Star-GazetteContact: opinion stargazette.comWebsite: Articles: Medical Marijuana Effort Gone To Pot? Grapple Over How to Legalize Marijuana
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on June 14, 2007 at 14:00:48 PT
Sam Adams
Great analysis Sam. Pulling back the curtain.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on June 14, 2007 at 13:43:20 PT
Remember the Dell dude in NYC?
He was given a fine, and the latino guy he bought the weed from was sent upstate - to serve in the penal/colonial system.What else can you call it when a Republican mayor (Rudy!) came in and sent MJ arrests from 1000 per year to 70000 per year, sending thousands upstate to prisons in Republican districts?  It's the same colonial/exploitation stuff that's been going on for 400 years.All the propaganda is necessary because the white middle class is also being exploited - these slaves aren't mining diamonds or cotton to produce revenue. They're just sitting in prison getting beaten and raped. So there has to be a 3rd party to exploit for money. Guess who that is? The middle class. Hence 80 years of propaganda, with no end in sight.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 14, 2007 at 13:36:06 PT
What you are saying makes sense to me.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on June 14, 2007 at 13:33:01 PT
too bad
Looks like the Republicans won't let this go. It's interesting, I think you have to realize that when you read the bleatings of these politicians, they're not speaking to you - the general public.Rather, they're trying to justify this to their REAL consituents - the law enforcement industry and the rest of the political class that depends on the drug war. They can look at polls and know that this bill is totally safe with the citizens. For instance, New York City is Democrat at 5 to 1 ratio to republicans. The Republicans are almost entirely from rural upstate NY. Many rural Republican legislators receive huge amounts of money because of the prisons in their districts. And they've got it rigged so that prisoners are counted in the local town's census, meaning they get more money from the feds and the NY state.Remember than the harsh Rockefeller drugs laws didn't just fill the prisons, it created a monster. A powerful industry that will fight any reform tooth and nail. The Rockefeller drug laws represented a conquest of more of the taxpayers' lives and fortunes by the government. It was not an on-again off-again policy choice.New York represents the capital of the western world. The Republican/corporate elite will flex their muscle to stop something like MJ reform on their home turf. See my other posts on why it's taken CT and NY to reform vs. the more middle class northeastern states like ME, RI, and VT.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on June 14, 2007 at 11:16:06 PT
wrong, assemblyman
"What this bill does is force people who are suffering into the arms of criminals," said Assemblyman Jim Hayes, R-Amherst, Erie County.What our government does, forces those who are suffering into the arms of criminals. It's called Prohibition.
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