The New York State Assembly on Monday resoundingly passed a bill that could eventually allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana topatientswith cancer and other debilitating or life-threatening conditions.
The bill, sponsored by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Diane J. Savino, passed 95-38 after assembly members heard a number of poignant arguments for medical marijuana, including one fromAssemblywoman Deb Glick, who spoke about her sister's cancer treatment.
Gottfried pointed out that 18 states and the District of Columbia currently have medical marijuana laws.
"If the patient and physician agree that a severe debilitating or life-threatening condition should be treated with medical marijuana, the government should not stand in the way," he said. "It is cruel to deny treatment to patients who are suffering or turn them into criminals."
The bill still needs to make it through the Senate to become law, in which case certain patients will qualify for prescriptions under medical supervision.
A 2012 Siena poll found that a strong majority (61 percent) of New Yorkers support legalization of medical marijuana. A Metro New York series in April looked at the arguments for and against legalization from the perspectives of a veteran with PTSD, a politician, and a doctor.
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