The opportunity to finally add New York to the list of 22 states with some form of medical marijuana program is rapidly coming to a close. This Thursday marks the end of the legislative session. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a longtime opponent of medical marijuana and friend of law enforcement, has waited until this week to announce his “serious problems” with the medical marijuana bill. Gov. Cuomo is demanding further cuts to a medical marijuana bill that is already too strict to be effective for the greatest number of patients, including:
Bill sponsor Senator Diane Savino had already amended the medical marijuana bill to forbid the smoking of marijuana by minors on the program. That’s not good enough for the governor, who wants all smoking of marijuana prohibited to all patients. He claims that allowing medical marijuana to be smoked undermines the work the state has done to reduce tobacco smoking.
Medical cannabis only in oil or pill form.
Oddly, marijuana legalization opponents warn about the higher potency of marijuana extracts, but lately medical marijuana opponents insist patients only get marijuana extracts and forbid access to flower (see: Minnesota).
No sharing medicine with each other.
Gov. Cuomo believes patients sharing cannabis products with each other should be treated as criminals, like patients sharing Oxycontin.
Defrauding the medical marijuana program should be a crime.
The governor thinks if you cheated your way onto the program or your doctor is fast and loose with recommendations, you and your doctor have committed felonies.
The state should only have 20 dispensaries.
One dispensary per one million in population? Will they be clustered near New York City’s eight million? Will there be any within an hour’s drive anywhere upstate?
The law should sunset in five years.
Because if we find out, like the other 22 states, that medical marijuana is actually helping patients, we should revisit the medical marijuana debate in the legislature again and potentially force those patients back into a life of criminality.
There should be no timeline for implementation.
Sure, the law expires in five years, but we shouldn’t hold anyone in state government accountable for actually implementing the law before it expires.
Doctors recommending medical cannabis should be subject to overrides by the Department of Health.
Because it is not enough for you to have a private personal relationship with your physician, New York throws in an unelected bureaucracy as a bonus! Don’t worry about your doctor’s constant fear that recommending cannabis invites a kind of unique bureaucratic scrutiny he doesn’t face for prescribing Oxycontin.
Patients should have to have their doctor recommend each thirty-day acquisition of medical marijuana.
Not only does Gov. Cuomo think 2.5 ounces of cannabis is too much for a thirty day period, he wants your doctor to have to approve each thirty day supply, much like you can’t refill your Oxycontin prescription without your doctor’s approval.
Post traumatic stress, traumatic brain injury, and post-concussion syndrome shouldn’t qualify.
Because, you know, support the troops. Just don’t give them the best medicine possible for helping their damaged brains.
Alzheimer’s, ALS, lupus, and muscular dystrophy shouldn’t qualify.
Because… well, I can’t actually come up with a snarky remark for this one. What kind of monster is this Governor Cuomo?
Cancer and HIV/AIDS patients shouldn’t qualify to treat the pain, nausea, and wasting associated with their medical treatments.
Oh, that kind of monster. The kind who’d tell a puking chemo patient to swallow a pill because smoking a joint would undermine anti-tobacco efforts.
It is clear that Gov. Cuomo just doesn’t want a workable medical marijuana program. Will advocates reject this extortion and let a Democratic governor explain how he killed medical marijuana to the 88% of Independents and 93% of Democrats who support medical marijuana in New York? Or will advocates cave to these obscene demands just to score another “win”, like in Minnesota, where the political heat from medical marijuana is off of Democratic governor Mark Dayton since his favored “no plant, no smoking” medical marijuana law was passed?
By Thursday, we’ll know.