Is medical marijuana coming to New York? I have asked that question several times on this blog. It seems to be a horrible re-occurring case of deja vu. Discussions about medical marijuana start in Albany, there seems to be momentum as the people speak up that they want medical marijuana in New York, then some heartless politicians come in and spread their reefer madness and kill compassionate legislation. Will we have a repeat in 2012?
According to the Wall Street Journal, this time could be different. The Wall Street Journal wrote, “But now, the idea has a new champion in Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat who has allied herself with the chamber’s Republican majority on many issues and is the lead sponsor of a soon-to-be-introduced bill. Ms. Savino and the sponsor in the Democratic-controlled Assembly, Richard Gottfried, said they’re hopeful that they could pass the bill if Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, were to get onboard.”
Governor Cuomo has bashed on medical marijuana in the past, but it appears he has softened, at least according to some Democrats working to bring medical marijuana to New York. “He hasn’t said no,” Ms. Savino told the Wall Street Journal, referring to Mr. Cuomo. “He’s willing to have a conversation.” You may remember a Quinnipiac University poll in 2010 which found that 71 percent of people polled felt medical marijuana is a ‘good idea.’ The Wall Street Journal article went on to say, “According to lobbyists, 28 Senate Democrats are supportive of medical marijuana. While Republicans are overwhelmingly opposed to the bill, advocates say they see a potential for at most a half-dozen GOP votes. The bill would need at least 32 votes for passage.”
As predicted, there is already someone from the Reefer Madness crowd spouting their propaganda. “There is no control over who is using the marijuana. It opens a Pandora’s box for the illegal use of marijuana,” party chairman Michael Long told the Wall Street Journal. Mr. Michael Long, can I check your medicine cabinet? If there is even one pill in there that is regularly abused by millions of people in America every day, then you sir are a hypocrite. Pandora’s box was installing marijuana prohibition in the first place. The only thing that has been let out of Pandora’s box is organized crime’s profit margins from marijuana sales, which is rampant in New York. Organized crime will continue to profit off of patients as long as people like Michael Long are still in office making decisions.
“This is not about getting high; this is about getting relief,” Ms. Savino, whose parents and grandfather died of lung cancer, told the Wall Street Journal. “It’s incredibly painful. You only have morphine. You get to the point where nothing works.” I feel for you Ms. Savino. I also feel for all of the patients that are stuck in limbo while politicians continue to poster and throw around political rhetoric. People should have to suffer just so politicians can prove their unfounded point that they were brainwashed into believing.
I think Gabriel Sayegh, the New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, put it best. “It’s great to see Assm. Gottfried and Sen. Savino re-introduce this legislation. Sixteen other states have the measure already–as does D.C. And two NY neighbors–Connecticut and New Hampshire–look poised to pass similar legislation soon. New York patients shouldn’t have to wait for relief any longer. They’ve waited long enough.” Yes Mr. Sayegh, New York patients have definitely waited long enough. I pray they won’t have to wait much longer.