Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Medical marijuana proposal would legalize (and tax) pot in New York for approved growers, patients
By Teri Weaver
Syracuse, N.Y. – Medical marijuana would be legal – and taxed – under a proposal today from state lawmakers who say New York should join with the 18 other states that have approved pot for seriously ill patients.
But, in New York, medical marijuana supporters have a strong litmus test to pass: winning support from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who appears dead set against this expansion of drug use.
“I’m not in favor of it,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo late last year, and his position has not changed, a spokesman said today.
That hasn’t dissuaded Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, D-Manhattan, who today introduced their latest version of a medical marijuana bill.
The proposal would allow medical providers to recommend marijuana use by patients suffering from serious conditions, such as cancer, AIDs, glaucoma and epilepsy. Terminally ill patients would also qualify for marijuana use.
Specifically, doctors, physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners could recommend patients for marijuana use to the state’s Department of Health. The department would create a registry of approved patients, who would have a photo identification card to buy up to 2.5 ounces of pot at a time from certified growers or dispensaries. The card would be valid for a year or less, depending on the recommendation from the healthcare provider.
The department would also be in charge of approving growers and sellers. Growers must cultivate pot at indoor, secure locations; sellers must ensure their distribution allows for no sales to anyone other than approved patients or caregivers.
And, this being New York, entities growing and selling would be taxed up to $250 a pound, according to the proposal.
The bill contains no additional penalties for patients, sellers or growers who take advantage of the legalization of medical marijuana. It also allows for children 17 and younger to apply to be an approved patient.
The Pharmacists Society of the State of New York and the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State support using marijuana for treatment; the Medical Society of the State of New York also supports it, specifically when all other options have failed.
Contact Teri Weaver at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 315-470-2274 or on Twitter at @TeriKWeaver.
Posted by Jim Hatridge