New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last week that he is “studying” the possibility of legalizing medical marijuana, an open-minded approach given his personal opposition to legal medi-pot – a stance that has not changed.
“We have proponents of the policy. I know New Jersey's looking at it. We have opponents of the policy,” Cuomo said. “We're talking to both sides of the issue, if you will, and we're reviewing it, but we don't have a final position.” Despite his opposition to medical cannabis he added, “We're always learning and listening and talking and growing, we hope.”
Medical marijuana legislation in New York has previously passed in the State Assembly but never in the Senate. The latest bill would delegate dispensing the medi-pot primarily to hospital and pharmacies, a break from the method other states employ.
One of the sponsors of the New York medical marijuana legislation, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-District 75) told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle that after Cuomo completes his studying the medi-pot issue he will support legislation, “because I think the merits are overwhelmingly in support and I think certainly, to the extent he relies on health (professionals') viewpoints, I think it's a very clear decision.”
Gabriel Sayegh, N.Y. director of the pro-pot Drug Policy Alliance said Cuomo’s support of medical cannabis “can make all the difference in the world.”
Beyond converting Gov Cuomo, medi-pot’s biggest opposition in New York comes from the state’s influential yet uninformed Conservative Party. “I don't see how marijuana helps anybody with any kind of sickness,” declared Michael Long, head of the Conservative Party. “There are plenty of prescribed drugs that people can take when they are critically ill.” Mr. Long conveniently overlooked the fact that many medical marijuana patients turn to pot for treatment after prescription drugs have failed them.