New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has plans this week to announce an executive action that would legalize medical marijuana. Governor Cuomo’s plan is a strict one, but would be a step in the right direction. According to media reports out of New York the executive action would allow 20 hospitals across New York to prescribe marijuana to people with cancer, glaucoma and/or other conditions that meet standards to eventually be set by the New York State Department of Health.
No other state medical marijuana program was created by an executive action. The first ones were via the initiative process because politicians weren’t prepared to pass legislation to create medical marijuana programs. Then, slowly, state Legislatures created programs. This is definitely a welcomed third route for legalizing medical marijuana, and one that I hope other Governor’s will pursue.
According to the New York Times, “The governor’s action also comes as advocates for changing drug laws have stepped up criticism of New York City’s stringent enforcement of marijuana laws, which resulted in nearly 450,000 misdemeanor charges from 2002 to 2012, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates more liberal drug laws.”
Medical marijuana has had growing support in New York for quite awhile now. It’s a shame that it has taken this long for New York patients to finally get the legal protection they deserve. The fight is far from over. Just because the Governor issues an executive action doesn’t mean that there won’t be push back inside and outside of the state. And until every patient has safe access to safe medicine, activists in New York should remain as active as possible.