NY legislature passes medical marijuana bill, does not permit smoking

Jeffrey Beall/via Flickr
June 23, 2014

New York state will now permit medical marijuana for some patients, now that the legislature has approved the measure. The bill awaits Governor Cuomo's signature. The lengthy debate in the state senate included some objections.

Many senators, including the health committee chair voiced concerns over lack of medical evidence on the effectiveness of marijuana treatments and lack of FDA approval for the drug, which is still illegal according to federal law.

Senator John DeFrancisco says the law stands in contradiction to bills passed earlier in the week by the legislature cracking down on heroin addiction.

“This is the wrong message,” DeFrancisco said. “Yesterday or the day before we passed 11 bills because of this tragic heroin condition.”

Those who voted in favor, agree the bill is flawed, but they say many people are suffering from debilitating diseases, and they don’t want to say no to something that could help them. Senator Liz Krueger represents portions of the Upper East Side of Manhattan, home to some of the nation’s top cancer hospitals.

"I’m assuming there are a decent number of doctors in this state who secretly whisper, ‘you might try this if you can get some,'” Krueger said.

Even advocates say the law has problems, but say they will work to improve it.