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June 18th, 2008

NY Assembly Passes Medical Marijuana Bill

ALBANY — The New York Assembly passed a bill today that would protect New Yorkers with life threatening or debilitating conditions from arrest for using medical marijuana when their doctors believe it would be the best treatment option, 79-48.

    The bill is similar to the medical marijuana bill the Assembly passed last year. The version passed today was modified to address concerns voiced by members of the Senate, who have until June 23 to pass the bill before the legislature recesses.

    "Every day that goes by without this sensible, compassionate law is a day in which our most vulnerable citizens must choose between suffering debilitating pain or risking arrest in order to find relief," said bill sponsor and Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried. "These patients don't have the luxury of waiting another year for their elected representatives to act – they need the Senate to stand up for them now."

    Dr. Kevin Smith, a Saugerties psychiatrist who has been recognized by the state legislature for his work with police forensics, said the bill would change the lives of people like him who have no better pain relief options.

    "Unless you or a loved one has experienced it, it's difficult to understand the frustration and helplessness that comes from knowing that relief is readily available but forbidden by law," said Smith, who suffers from a painful genetic defect that causes his immune system to attack his spine and hips as though they were foreign bodies; the debilitating pain forced him to quit practicing medicine. "Medical marijuana can give me my life back, but right now I am barred by law from using it. This is crazy."

    Glenn Amandola, a medically retired New York City police officer from Northport who suffers from chronic pain and a seizure disorder after being injured on the job in 1987, said it makes no sense for the law to prevent him from using medical marijuana when his doctor says it could help.

    "As an officer with the New York City Police Department, I swore to uphold state law, and I'll never break that oath," he said. "The flip side to that, however, is that our lawmakers owe it to people like me who live in constant pain to make sure the law doesn't penalize us for seeking relief. I should have the right to decide for myself – with my doctor – what my best treatment options are."

4.5 / 5 (12 Votes)

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Reader Response
  • EndtheLies
  • June 21st, 2008 Cannabis is one of the safest therapeutic substances known to man. It is far safer than most FDA-approved medications, as cannabis has never killed from toxicity; and FDA-approved medications kill tens of thousands of people PER YEAR, even when they are properly prescribed and properly taken.

    About 75 - 80 percent of the U.S. is for medical marijuana; but sadly in New York, there is too much corruption (special interests).

    I think the Repubs should be called out on their blind support of the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry (at all costs) and their ridiculous denial of reality (the Repub's ignorant claim that marijuana is not medicine, should be exposed and publicized and compared with marijuana's prized thousand-year history as a medicine and recent research).

    Maybe if the FEDS started stealing our Republicans' prilosec, paxil, valium and xanax, and started caging Repubs for their medicine, the Repubs would catch on to the fact that stealing medicine and caging sick people is wrong. What a bunch of morally-challenged losers!

    Please stop voting for fools and crooks (Republicans or Democrats) who believe interfering with medicine is a good use of our scarce resources.

    Reader Response
  • aron pieman kay
  • June 18th, 2008 i feel that those including myself who are forced to live in costant pain like myself should be afforded the human right of being allowed to ingest marijuana without penalty.....
    why should we the patients be forced to suffer due to some stupid law.....? this must stop

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