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New York: Parents Rallying Outside Senator's Office Thursday To Demand Action on Medical Marijuana

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Senate Leadership is Holding Up a Vote on the Bill, Leaving Sick New Yorkers to Needlessly Suffer

Senate Refuses to Act on Bill Supported by More Than 80% of New York Voters and Thousands of New York Patients, Doctors and Caregivers

Parents of children with epilepsy and patients living with multiple sclerosis and other serious, debilitating medical conditions will rally on Wednesday at the Rockville Centre LIRR station across from Senate Co-president Dean Skelos’ office to demand a vote on the Compassionate Care Act in the New York Senate.

The bill (S.4406-B/Savino and A.6357-B), which would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs, would allow seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

Earlier this month, the Assembly passed the bill for the fifth time with broad bipartisan support. The bill has also passed through the Senate Health Committee and is now awaiting a vote in the Senate Finance Committee.

The Senate bill sponsor, Senator Diane Savino, has said she has more than enough votes to pass the bill if it comes to the floor for a vote. But thus far, the Senate Majority Coalition Leaders -- Senator Skelos and Senator Klein –- have not allowed the bill to the floor of the Senate for a vote.

If the vote does not take place before the session ends on June 19, patients and caregivers will be forced to wait another year for legal relief.

What: Rally with caregivers and patients to support the Compassionate Care Act

New York: TV Ads Urge Governor and Senate Majority Leader to Support Medical Marijuana

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The Marijuana Policy Project on Thursday launched two hard-hitting television ads that urge New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Senate Majority Co-Leader Dean Skelos to support the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would allow seriously ill people to access medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it.

The New York State Assembly approved the Compassionate Care Act Tuesday (91-34) for the fifth time since 2007. Gov. Cuomo has not expressed support for the measure, and in previous years, Senate leaders have not allowed it to receive a vote on the Senate floor.

One of the television ads features Dr. Richard Carlton, a Port Washington psychiatrist whose wife, Joan, is suffering from late stage Parkinson’s disease. In an emotional plea to Gov. Cuomo, he says, “Knowing there’s a medication that could help my wife, but that medication is illegal here in New York, is agonizing; it’s causing me a tremendous amount of grief.”

He then says, “Gov. Cuomo, patients have waited long enough for relief. Please support the Compassionate Care Act.”

The ad will air for approximately two weeks on News 12, CNN, Lifetime, and the Oprah Winfrey Network on Long Island, on News 12 in Westchester, and on a variety of programs in Albany, including the Today Show and Ellen. Watch the ad online at http://youtu.be/XHq9XwpSbNo.

New York: Advocates Say Medical Marijuana Could Be Legalized This Spring

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been a tough fight in New York for medical marijuana. Time after time, advocates and patients believed they were on the brink of victory, only to be disappointed. But medicinal cannabis may finally be a dream that is coming true in the Empire State, and the change may come soon, according to advocates.

Pointing to favorable opinion polls and an evolving position from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, proponents believe a new medical marijuana bill will be approved in Albany this spring, making New York the 22nd medical marijuana state, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News.

"We're closer to this than we have ever been before," said gabriel sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Advocates have revised the bill to more tightly control how marijuana can be used, and who gets to use it. The new version, introduced on Friday, removed language that gave doctors the freedom to authorize medical marijuana for a wide array of symptoms.

The new version limits pot's use to about 20 serious conditions, including cancer, traumatic brain injury, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also prevents anyone under 21 from being able to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, though they could be authorized to use other forms of cannabis, such as tincture or capsules.

New York: Marijuana Most Prominent Issue Facing Legislature, Governor

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana has become the most prominent issue faced by New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and state lawmakers in the second half of the 2014 session, according to political observers, with advocates pushing to make the Empire State the 21st to legalize cannabis for medicinal uses.

Gov. Cuomo remains stubbornly opposed to a functional medical marijuana program, even as a growing number of legislators have lined up in support, reports Yancey Roy at Newsday.

Others, such as Bay Shore Republican Senator Phil Boyle, are pushing for a limited CBD-only bill which would legalize concentrated oils derived from marijuana, but would prohibit smokable cannabis flowers.

Cuomo is up for reelection and is reportedly considering a 2016 Presidential run. He slightly shifted his position this year, in the face of overwhelming support for medicinal cannabis, by proposing an extremely limited medical marijuana research program.

His plan would revive an obscure 1980 law to begin a medical marijuana research program in which 20 New York hospitals could dispense medicinal cannabis under strict conditions. The program would use marijuana seized in drug busts, according to Cuomo.

"I'm not proposing a law, so it's not the Legislature telling me what I have to do," Gov. Cuomo said. "And that gives me great comfort because if it goes bad, we can correct or improve all within our own control."

New York: Medical Marijuana Dropped From State Budget, Leaving Patients To Suffer

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While Assembly Included Compassionate Care Act in Budget Proposal, the Senate and Governor Failed to Act

Advocates: To Alleviate Patient Suffering in New York, State Senate Must Immediately Bring Compassionate Care Act to Floor for a Vote

Governor Andrew Cuomo, Speaker Sheldon Silver, and Senate Co-Presidents Dean Skelos and Jeffrey Klein on Saturday announced that they had reach a budget agreement, but the deal excluded the Compassionate Care Act, a bill that would allow seriously ill New Yorkers access to medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

The Assembly had included the proposal as part of their one-house budget bill, but the Senate and Governor refused to include the bill in the final budget. The Compassionate Care Act has passed the Assembly four times, has bi-partisan support in the Senate, and is supported by a super-majority of New York voters. But senate leaders have refused to let the bill come up for a vote.

Patients, providers and caregivers were frustrated to learn that once again the Legislature refused to show the sick suffering some compassion and mercy. They urged immediate action by the Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act as a stand-alone bill.

New York: For First Time Ever, Assembly Includes Medical Marijuana In One-House Budget Bill

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As Assembly Gathered To Vote, Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers from Across NY Descended on Albany to Demand Senate Join Assembly and Deliver the Compassionate Care Act to Cuomo for Signature

Day of Actions Include Public Hearing on Bill, Evening Event in Nearby Latham, and Powerful New Video About Patients, Doctors and the Compassionate Care Act

The New York State Assembly on Wednesday introduced and passed their one-house budget proposal, which, for the first time ever, includes the New York’s comprehensive medical marijuana proposal – the Compassionate Care Act (A.6357-A -Gottfried) / S.4406-A -Savino). As the Assembly gathered to pass the measure, dozens of patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers descended on Albany to press the State Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act.

The patients are living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions, and the families include parents of children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet syndrome. They participated in a public hearing on medical marijuana, then met with legislators throughout the day and, finally, attended a free public event about medical marijuana Wednesday night in Latham at the HopeClub.

New York: Medical Marijuana Is Coming, But Patients Fear Potential Restrictions

MedicalMarijuanaComingToNY

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday will announce during his State of the State address that he plans to bypass the Legislature and sign an executive order creating a limited interim medical marijuana program for the state, bypassing the Legislature. But the plan leaves much to be determined, such as which patients would qualify and which hospitals will be allowed to dispense cannabis, and many patients are expressing unease about the potential restrictions.

Nancy Rivera, 60, a cancer survivor in remission from breast, colon and throat cancers, said on Sunday that she's worried the program will be too restrictive, reports Anemona Hartocollis at The New York Times.

"I think it's kind of, more than anything for terminally ill patients, and that's wonderful," Rivera said. "But then there's people like me. Are we dying right now? No. But we could certainly use the healing properties."

Gov. Cuomo's plan uses a 1980 law allowing research into cannabis therapy for "patients who are involved in a life-threatening or sense-threatening situation." The law specifically mentions cancer and glaucoma.

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