Andrew Cuomo doesn’t foresee medical marijuana legalized this year

Boston prepares for medical marijuana dispensaries.
David McNew/Getty Images

Don’t hold your breath for medical marijuana to become legalized in New York state soon, as Gov. Andrew Cuomo snuffed out any hope of that yesterday.

The governor spoke to reporters yesterday, saying that he doesn’t think legalizing medical marijuana will happen this year.

“I understand the benefits, but there are also risks, and I think the risks outweigh the benefits at this point,” Cuomo told reporters, according to Capital Tonight.

 He went on to add, “I don’t think there’s going to be time this legislative session to analyze that issue.”

After last summer, when gay marriage was legalized in the state, many were hoping medicinal pot might be the next big announcement.

But Staten Island state Sen.  Diane Savino told Metro last night she has not lost hope.

Savino co-sponsored the state bill to legalize medical marijuana. Right now, medical marijuana is legal in New Jersey, along with 15 other states.

“He’s not saying no,” she told Metro of Cuomo’s public reservations. “He’s expressing a concern he has, which he’s been consistent about.”

But Savino also cautioned that pushing the bill through by June, when the legislative session ends, might be a task too daunting for Albany.

“I would be deluding myself if I thought we were going to be able to do this by the end of the legislative session,” she said.

Savino added that she’d be “thrilled” if it passes by June,  but, “I won’t be surprised if it takes a little bit more time.”

Proponents of medical marijuana say that it can help people struggling with crippling illnesses, helping to alleviate pain and other symptoms in patients that are not solved by other medications.

Savino has said that both of her late parents were unable to be treated for chronic pain while fighting cancer, and that medical marijuana would have helped them.

Her bill would allow seriously ill patients to buy the drug through a registered facility with a doctor’s approval. Patients could possess no more than 2.5 ounces at a time.

But critics of the bill maintain that the bill’s language is not specific enough and worry that the drug might fall into the wrong hands.

Legal here

Here are the 16 states, plus the District of Columbia, where medical marijuana is now legal:

    Alaska
    Arizona
    California
    Colorado
    Delaware
    Hawaii
    Nevada
    New Jersey
    New Mexico
    Maine
    Michigan
    Montana
    Oregon
    Rhode Island
    Vermont
    Washington

Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro


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