A bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana passed the New York State Assembly Health Committee for the second time Tuesday, a week after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his own reversal on the issue.
The Compassionate Care Act was passed by the full Assembly last June but failed to clear the Senate. Still, supporters are hoping national momentum will propel the legislation forward this year.
"With the advantage of 20 states and the District of Columbia having gone before us, the Compassionate Care Act incorporates lessons learned and best practices from those states," the bill's sponsor, Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, said in a statement. Gottfried is also the chair of the assembly's health committee.
He said the bill is still necessary despite the governor's recent endorsement of medical marijuana.
Cuomo said in last week's State of the State address that he would consider reviving a 1980 statute permitting limited use of medical marijuana for certain diseases.
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"New York has the opportunity to alleviate the pain and suffering of residents with cancer and other severe illnesses," the governor said. "Medical research shows that the use of marijuana may alleviate the symptoms associated with serious debilitating or life-threatening illnesses."
Gottfried said that Cuomo's proposal leaves out certain patients.
"The legislature needs to enact legislation this session that is more comprehensive," he said.
The bill was sent to the Codes Committee. Along with other committees, that group must pass the measure before the bill is put before the whole Assembly.
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