Medical Cannabis Ultimately to Be Legal in New York

medical cannabis

For the past two decades, lawmakers from the New York Legislature have been busy trying to change the laws regarding the use of medical cannabis, which has ultimately led to an agreement within that political body that will allow the drug to be legal in that State. It would give certain New Yorkers access to the drug, such as those suffering from Epilepsy, AIDS or Cancer. The agreement reached Friday, June 20, 2014, legalizes some forms of medical cannabis use for certain patients with a confined range of problems, and only Doctors are allowed to prescribe the drug. Only certain medical conditions are recognized for treatment right now, counting cancer.

Vapor and oil based forms of medical cannabis will be the preferred prescribed ways of Doctors to get the drug to patients who would be utilizing the drug. However, smoking the medical cannabis was not legalized. Such a law has made it so that New York will ultimately be known as the State that has the narrowest laws on the use of the drug in the country at the moment. The agreement also allows the Governor or Legislature to suspend the program at any given time, at the recommendations of either the Health Commissioner or the State Police Superintendent.

Otherwise known as the Compassionate Care Act, the new bill now allows Doctors to prescribe oil and vapor forms of medical cannabis to patients who suffer from predefined serious conditions set out in a list of ailments that the State says is flexible. Only non-smokable forms of the drug are currently allowed to be used by the general public. According to Senator Andrew Cuomo, who was the final deciding factor in the bill being passed, medical cannabis has its upsides and downsides. What the Legislature was doing was finding a balance between the two.

The Senator goes on to explain how the new bill will set up a system that will be beneficial to patients who need it, even kids with certain medical ailments. He also cautions that the new system will also be supervised and monitored by the State Police, providing safety measures to the new law. The program as it is set up now will expire in seven years, at which time the Governor and Legislature would have to reauthorize the use of the program again. It also means that the State of New York only has 18 months to have their medical cannabis program running.

The New York Senate voted 49-10 in approval of the bill, which will make medical cannabis ultimately legal to use for those who have been suffering a long time and could have been using the drug the alleviate their pain. Although the vote was in favor of passing the bill, it took over two hours for the committee to get all the facts and information ironed out before the final vote was cast in favor of moving the bill into law. While the lawmakers hashed out the finer details of the planned system, parents of children with Epilepsy and advocates for medical cannabis watched the action down below from the gallery above the floor where the Legislative members were gathered.

Despite the fact that some Senators were doubtful of the State’s Health Department’s ability to regulate the system, the final vote cast by the Government body clearly made known the majorities wishes. The bill had an abundance of approval from the Democrats while the Republicans were not so enthusiastic about the plan. Yet New York is ultimately number 23 out of the 50 United States to have made legal the use of medical cannabis to be used by patients with certain medical conditions. It will be utilized by patients in that State in forms that will not be smokable but ingested other ways to ease pain and suffering. Many view this as a step forward in patient care.

By Korrey Laderoute

The Wall Street Journal
USA Today

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