Medical marijuana: Peer pressure for Gov. Cuomo on pot

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie loosens up on the subject of medicinal marijuana, New York politicians are hoping that their governor will take a hint.

As New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie loosens up on the subject of medicinal marijuana, New York politicians are hoping that their governor will take a hint.

Christie announced Tuesday that New Jersey will begin dispensing medical marijuana, lifting a yearlong suspension.

Nonprofit groups are cleared to sell pot to patients; but before an ounce was sold, Christie wanted assurance that federal officials would not prosecute New Jersey dispensaries.

State Sen. Diane Savino wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo Wednesday, talking about her parents, who died of cancer and in great pain, according to Savino. The time has come for New York to show compassion like New Jersey, she said.

“As someone who has lost both parents to cancer,” Savino wrote, “I know firsthand what it is like to see a loved one in pain and not be able to do anything about it.”

She is a co-sponsoring a bill that would allow seriously ill New Yorkers to buy 2.5 ounces of pot at a time.

“It’s just ridiculous that New York doesn’t have a medical marijuana law at this point,” said Gabriel Sayegh, state director for the Drug Policy Alliance.

He added that it was “very strange” for Christie, a Republican, to be “the progressive voice on this issue in the Tri-State region.”

Cuomo criticized legalizing pot while campaigning, but said Thursday he was “reviewing the issue” — although he added his position had “not changed.”

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro


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