diane savino

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New York: Sen. Gillibrand, State Sen. Savino To Headline Cannabis Business Summit


U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) will deliver a noon keynote address on Monday, Sept. 21, at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Fall Regional Cannabis Business Summit, taking place at the Wyndham New Yorker in New York City, Sept. 21-22.

New York State Senator Diane J. Savino (D-Staten Island) will also speak at the Summit, delivering the morning keynote on Tuesday, Sept 22. Other speakers at the event include two of the first licensed medical marijuana providers in the state of New York.

NCIA’s Fall Regional Cannabis Business Summit provides a platform for cannabis business professionals throughout the East Coast - including New York’s emerging medical marijuana market - to discuss best business practices and patient care, while also building a regional community and gaining valuable education on relevant policy issues.

NCIA brings its Cannabis Business Summit series to New York City at an essential time. New York is about to become the newest state to bring critically ill patients legal and safe access to life-changing medical marijuana therapies. Recently, the state awarded the first five licenses for medical marijuana providers, and two of the successful applicants - Hillary Peckham of Etain and Collete Bellefleur of Bloomfield - will share their insights in an intimate discussion at 9:15am on Monday.

New York: Legislature Passes Bipartisan Bill To Create Emergency Medical Marijuana Access


Frustrated with Inaction, Patients and Families Demand Governor Sign the Bill into Law Immediately

In an unusual show of bipartisan support, the New York Senate on Monday night voted 50 to 12 in favor of a bill, sponsored by Senator Joe Griffo, that directs the state to establish a program to help critically ill patients obtain emergency access to medical marijuana as soon as possible.

The Assembly version, sponsored by Assemblyman Dick Gottfried, passed last week by an overwhelming majority (130-18). The bill now goes to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his signature or veto.

The passage of this bill comes almost exactly one year after the Legislature passed New York’s medical marijuana law and almost 10 months after the Governor urged the Health Commissioner to do everything in his power to get medical marijuana to children suffering from life-threatening forms of epilepsy.

To date, not one patient has received medical marijuana, and at least four children, who might have benefitted from medical marijuana, have died since the governor signed the bill last year.

“Even though we worked tirelessly to pass New York’s medical marijuana law, for the past year, my family and I have continued to watch Oliver suffer relentless, damaging seizures, all the while knowing that there is a medicine that could help him,” said Missy Miller of Atlantic Beach, whose son Oliver suffers from life-threatening seizures. “Every day we go without this medicine is a day that Oliver loses ground, every day we live with the risk of him dying from these seizures.

New York: Senator Savino To Lead Medical Marijuana Regulatory Summit


Lawmakers to Discuss Current Legislative Landscape at NY Cannabis Event

The International Cannabis Association (ICA) on Tuesday announced that New York State Senator Diane Savino will lead the 2nd Annual Medical Marijuana Regulatory Summit on Thursday, June 18, during the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) at the Javits Center in New York.

Senator Savino is recognized as one of the country’s most influential marijuana lawmakers and compassionate care advocates.

"This Summit is a must attend event, for established and emerging businesses in the medical marijuana industry, and will provide fresh insight and guidance on this highly regulated market," according to a press release from the organizers. "Under one roof at the Javits Center in New York, attendees will have direct access to state and federal lawmakers who are writing the laws in this rapidly evolving industry."

The 2nd Annual Medical Marijuana Regulatory Summit at CWCBExpo in NY, presented in a town hall style format, is designed to allow attendees to learn about current opportunities and receive unique advice on how to navigate the regulatory and implementation challenges.

New York: Community Groups, Elected Officials Sponsor Forum On Medical Marijuana Program


Tuesday, February 3 Forum Will Address Concerns with Proposed Regulations, Including Access for Low Income Patients

Patients, community members, providers and elected officials will join together on Tuesday, February 3, to discuss New York’s medical marijuana law and provide community feedback on the state’s recently introduced draft regulations that will shape New York’s medical marijuana program.

The event is being held at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, the poorest county in the state, where providers have raised significant concerns that the medical marijuana program could leave low income communities behind. The event is free and open to the public.

The forum is being hosted by BOOM!Health, VOCAL New York, Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), and Compassionate Care NY, along with other community organizations and elected officials. It will educate the community on the draft regulations released in December and provide a space for the community to discuss what is needed to improve the system to ensure any qualified patient -- regardless of ability to pay -- can access medical marijuana services.

What: A community forum to discuss New York’s medical marijuana program

When: Tuesday, February 3, 2015, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Where: Hostos Community College C Building, 450 Grand Concourse, Bronx NY 10451

New York: Gov. Cuomo, Lawmakers Want To Speed Up Medical Marijuana Program


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Members of Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration this week met with about a dozen medical marijuana advocates as some New York lawmakers called on Cuomo to speed up the process of making cannabis available to patients in need.

Meeting with the advocates on Monday were Deputy Secretary of Health Courtney Burke and Howard Zucker of the New York Department of Health, reports Jon Campbell at PressConnects. Last week, bill sponsors wrote to Gov. Cuomo, urging him to consider different ways to get medical marijuana to terminally ill patients more quickly.

Under New York's new medical marijuana law, the Department of Health has 18 months to get the state's system up and running.

The purpose of Monday's meeting was to keep the lines of communication open with advocates as the state begins to implement the program, Westchester County resident Kate Hintz, whose daughter Morgan, 3, suffers from Dravet syndrome, a rare and severe form of epilepsy.

"I'm pleased that they have opened a dialogue with advocates and parents, such as myself," Hintz said. "I think that there are ways that we can safely and efficaciously provide medicine sooner than an 18-month time period."

New York Officially Becomes 23rd Medical Marijuana State


Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers Thank Legislators and Governor, Immediately Turn Their Attention to Swift Implementation: “Patients Are Out of Time and Need Access Now”

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed a medical marijuana bill into law, making New York the 23rd state to allow legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. Patients, caregivers and healthcare providers are attending the bill signing ceremony at The New York Academy of Medicine, along with the bill sponsors, Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino.

After years of advocacy and intense last minute negotiations between lawmakers, the bill passed on the final day of the legislative session with extraordinarily strong bipartisan support. New York is the second largest state in the nation

“Thanks to the bill sponsors and the Governor’s actions today, New York has joined twenty-two other states in creating safe and legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients,” said Holly Anderson, executive director of the Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester. “Patients in New York have been fighting for this for 18 years, and they have waited long enough. I urge the Governor to do everything within his power to insure that patients in New York can access medical marijuana as soon as possible."

New York Becomes 23rd Medical Marijuana State - But No Smoking


Hope is On the Way for Thousands of Seriously Ill New Yorkers, Despite Flawed Bill

Patients, Caregivers and Healthcare Providers Praise Lawmakers and Vow to Fight for Improvements

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The New York State Senate and the New York State Assembly on Friday passed a medical marijuana bill, making New York the 23rd state to create legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients. After days of tense negotiations, the bill was passed in the final hours of the legislative session on Friday.

Governor Cuomo has said he will sign the bill into law. The bill will provide relief for thousands of New York patients suffering from serious and debilitating conditions – such as cancer, MS, and epilepsy, by allowing the use of medical marijuana under the supervision of their physician.

Patients, caregivers and providers watched from the gallery as the Senate debated and then voted 49 to 10 in favor of the bill.

Late last week, Governor Cuomo announced a series of last-minute changes that he wanted to the bill. The bill’s sponsors, Assemblyman Dick Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino, worked tirelessly to accommodate the Governor’s concerns so that a deal could move forward.

New York: Third Republican State Senator Now Co-Sponsors Medical Marijuana Bill


Republican Support for Medical Marijuana Builds After GOP-Led U.S. House of Representatives Passes Bipartisan Bill Directing Feds to Respect State Marijuana Laws

Patients, Families and Advocates Cheer Maziarz and New York Times Editorial, Travel to Albany Monday to Demand Vote in Senate Finance Committee

In a another strong sign of growing GOP support for medical marijuana, new York State Senate Vice President Pro Tempore George Maziarz (R-Lockport) has signed on as co-sponsor of the Compassionate Care Act ( S.4406-B (Savino)), which would allow eligible patients with serious and debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

In February, Maziarz became one of the first Senate Republicans to publicly announce his support for the Compassionate Care Act along with Senators Grisanti and Robach. Since then then, they’ve been joined by O’Mara, Bonacic and Larkin, who also announced their support. Maziarz, the third-highest ranking member of the Senate Republicans, joins Sen. Robach and Grisanti as Republican a co-sponsor.

Patients, healthcare providers and advocates with the statewide Compassionate Care NY coalition praised Sen. Maziarz and called on Senate leadership to finally allow a vote on the measure.

New York: State Senate Will Determine Fate of Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The fate of a medical marijuana bill in New York is still unresolved, where the Assembly has approved legislation, but a similar measure remains stalled in the Senate, despite the votes apparently being there to pass it.

Advocates cheered last week as the Assembly approved the Compassionate Care Act, which would permit authorized patients to possess small amounts of cannabis, reports Karen DeWitt at WRVO. The legislation would also set up licensed dispensaries to grow and sell medical marijuana.

"This is the group that I'm most concerned with, Mr. Speaker," said Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, who voted with the majority of Democrats in favor, saying the measure would give law abiding citizens access to much-needed medicine. "Those people who will not even entertain the notion of the illegal use of marijuana just because it is illegal, not because it is not efficacious."

The measure did win some converts on the Republican side of the aisle. Assemblyman Steve Katz, who had voted against the bill in the past, voted for it this time after being stopped by police for allegedly possessing marijuana. The charges were later dropped, but Katz has become a cannabis advocate, even investing in some businesses operating in states where it is legal.

"Over the past year, I've gone above and beyond to explore the beneficial aspects of medicinal cannabis and the surrounding industry," Katz said.

New York: Senate Health Committee Passes Bipartisan Medical Marijuana Bill


New York Takes Major Step Toward Becoming Medical Marijuana State

Patients and Families Cheer Step Forward, Call for Vote in Full Senate

The New York State Senate Health Committee on Tuesday passed a medical marijuana bill, the Compassionate Care Act, by a bipartisan vote of 9–8. This is the first time in years that the Senate has taken up the issue of medical marijuana.

The bill (S.4406-B/Savino) would alleviate the suffering of thousands of seriously ill New Yorkers by allowing the use of marijuana to treat debilitating, life-threatening illnesses under a doctor’s supervision, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. The committee room was packed with patients from across the state, and the room erupted into applause when the Committee voted the bill in the affirmative. The bill now goes to the Finance Committee.

“Today the Senate Health Committee sided with cancer patients when it voted to move the Compassionate Care Act forward,” said Andi Gladstone, executive director of the New York State Breast Cancer Network. “We know that medical cannabis can help alleviate the pain and nausea that many cancer patients experience from chemotherapy, and we are thrilled that the Senate has moved one step closer to make this treatment available to them.

"It’s time for the Senate to bring this bill to the floor for a vote so that patients can finally get the relief they deserve," Gladstone said.

New York: Senate Health Committee To Vote On Medical Marijuana Bill


Dozens of Patients, Caregivers, and Healthcare Providers from Across New York Come to Albany to Attend Hearing, Demand Passage of the Bill

The New York State Senate Health Committee on Tuesday will vote on the Compassionate Care Act-- S.4406-B (Savino), marking the first time it has taken up the issue in years.

The Compassionate Care Act is New York’s comprehensive medical marijuana bill and will help provide relief to thousands of New Yorkers who are currently suffering with debilitating medical conditions such as, cancer, multiple sclerosis, severe seizure disorders, and other serious conditions.

Traveling from New York City, Long Island, Westchester, Central New York, and Western New York, patients will gather in Albany for an advocacy day and hear the Health Committee debate the bill.

The bill would create one of the nation’s most tightly regulated medical marijuana programs and allow some seriously ill patients access to a small amount of marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

Patients and caregivers will attend the Health Committee hearing.

What: Compassionate Care NY Advocacy Day

When: Tuesday, March 20th – Hearing at Noon – Press Conference Immediately Following

Location: New York State Capitol, Room 124, Albany, NY

Who (patient and providers, including):
Holly Anderson, Rochester -- Breast Cancer Coalition of Rochester
Dawn Carney, Mount Vernon - Person living with HIV/AIDS

New York: Bonacic Becomes 5th GOP State Senator To Support Medical Marijuana Bill


Rapidly Building Republican Support for Bipartisan Bill Comes as Republican Senator Phil Boyle Introduces Inadequate Measure

Patients, Families and Advocates Respond: Good that Boyle Supports Medical Marijuana; Now He Can Support Patients by Endorsing the Compassionate Care Act

In a Friday meeting with patients, caregivers and providers, New York State Senator John Bonacic (R-Middletown) has announced his support for the comprehensive medical marijuana bill known as the Compassionate Care Act ( S.4406-B (Savino) / A.3567-A (Gottfried)). With this announcement, Bonacic becomes the fifth Republican state senator to publicly endorse the bill, which would allow eligible patients with serious and debilitating conditions to access medical marijuana under the supervision of their healthcare provider.

Patients, healthcare providers and advocates with the statewide Compassionate Care NY coalition praised Bonacic and called on more Republican leaders to take their cues from the growing list of GOP supporters.

New York: Reportedly Enough Votes To Pass Medical Marijuana In State Senate


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Democratic Senator Diane Savino has more than enough votes to pass her medical marijuana bill in the New York State Senate, according to press reports on Friday.

Sen. Savino has lined up 39 votes for the Compassionate Care Act, reports Teri Weaver at Syracuse.com, which is seven more than the 32 she needs to win passage in the Senate for the first time. Time after time, medical marijuana bills have passed the Democrat-controlled New York Assembly only to stall in the more conservative, Republican-controlled Senate.

The video and social media blitz by Sen. Savino seems to be making an impact. She has filmed a public service announcement urging New Yorkers to contact their state lawmakers and tell them to support the bill.

"This shouldn't be about politics," Savino said in the video. "This should be about science. We shouldn't handcuff our doctors from making the best decision on how to treat their patients."

The list of supporters is "growing every day," Sen. Savino said earlier this week on "The Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter.

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


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


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: Top Health Official Says Medical Marijuana Plan Active Within A Year


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York's medical marijuana program will be functioning within a year, according to the state's top health official. However, it remains to be seen if his far-fetched predictions of a federal supply of cannabis will come true.

Health Commissioner Nirav Shah was grilled by legislators on Monday as part of a budget hearing on Governor Andrew Cuomo's plan to use a little-known 1980 state law to allow a limited number of hospitals to provide marijuana to chronically ill patients, reports Jon Campbell at Lohud.com.

"My goal is to get this up and running as soon as possible, and using federal sources for product, we can get it up and running within a year," Shah said.

The plan has faced skepticism from lawmakers and activists who support medical marijuana, including Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) and Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), who sponsor a bill that would legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes and create a network for its distribution.

The 1980 law Gov. Cuomo plans to utilize allows New York to permit medical marijuana on a limited basis "for research purposes" and for it to be distributed through 20 hospitals.

Assemblyman Gottfried pressed Shah on the specifics of the research plan, which Shah claimed will focus on the therapeutic effects of cannabis on patients, and not on ways to grow or distribute marijuana.

New York: Medical Marijuana Hearings To Be Held In December


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Democratic legislators in New York state have scheduled public hearings in Mineola and Buffalo next month on legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses.

Some lawmakers in Albany want to allow cannabis for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, reports Teri Weaver at Syracuse.com. The New York State Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has passed medical marijuana bills several times in recent years, but the Senate, run mostly by conservative Republicans, hasn't yet voted on the issue.

However, Senate GOP leaders now share power with a small group of independent Democrats, and one of those, Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) supports legalizing cannabis for medicinal use.

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn't endorsed medical marijuana, he has left the discussion open, and a bill proposed by Sen. Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) would legalize and regulate the dispensing and sales of medical marijuana.

Under the bill, medical professionals who can prescribe controlled substances could authorize patients for medicinal cannabis. Authorized patients would register with the New York Department of Health; the authorization process and the dispensing of medicinal cannabis would be part of a newly adopted statewide prescription monitoring system which was instituted to reduce abuse of controlled substances.

New York: Advocates Say Maybe Next Year On Medical Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Despite the best efforts of activists, widespread support among voters, and the endorsement of hundreds of physicians, medical marijuana will remain illegal in New York state, at least for a while longer.

"Not this session," said Julie Netherland, deputy state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, reports Dana Rubinstein of Capital New York.

"We knew there was certainly Republican opposition to this bill," Netherland said. "We certainly heard that and knew about that. I'm assuming that had something to do with it, but I don't know if that's the full story."

The medical marijuana bill passed the New York Assembly, but got hung up in the Senate, where it was sponsored by state Sen. Diane Savino, who earlier this month judged its chances of passage as "quite good."

A senior aide told Rubinstein that Senate leadership decided there wasn't any point in bringing the bill to a vote without Governor Andrew Cuomo's support, since the Cuomo administration would have to set up the medical marijuana infrastructure.

"In fact, there was overwhelming support for medical marijuana and that didn't move forward, because the governor didn't want to do it," Savino said Monday night on NY1.

But the Senate came under withering criticism for its unwillingness to lead, rather than follow.

New York: Medical Marijuana Bill Likely To Pass House; Gov. Cuomo Still Says No

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana advocates on Tuesday dialed up the pressure on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senate Republicans to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.

A packed conference room of politicians, marijuana advocates and patients with debilitating illnesses gathered at the Capitol on Tuesday to renew the push for a revised bill to protect patients and set up a medical marijuana production and distribution system in the state, reports Casey Seiler at the Albany Times Union.

The bill is gaining support among Democrats, according to state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), and now is the time to pass the bill, which has been around for years, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News.

"Everyone knows this bill will likely pass the New York State Assembly fairly easily," Savino said. "The Senate has always been the stumbling block."

Meanwhile, the other major hurdle is Gov. Cuomo's desk. The Governor has said that while he's "looking" at the issue, he does not support legalizing marijuana for medical use "at this time."

New York: Patient Advocates and Health Care Professionals Rally for Medical Marijuana Bill

(Graphic: The Daily Chronic)Bill Passes Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Patient advocates -– including patients who use marijuana for medical purposes -– and health care professionals came to Albany on Tuesday to support legislation to allow medical use of marijuana in New York.

Patients suffering from severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions could be treated with medical marijuana under legislation introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried and Senator Diane J. Savino. New York’s bill A. 6357/S.4406 is cosponsored by 68 other legislators.

The bill was reported from the Assembly Health Committee Tuesday by 21-4, including three of the Committee’s seven Republicans voting in favor.

The bill has been endorsed by dozens of organizations, including the New York State Nurses Association; the Pharmacists Society of the State of New York; the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; and the New York State AIDS Advisory Council.

A 2012 Siena poll found that a strong majority of New Yorkers support legalization of medical marijuana, 61 percent-33 percent, including 69 percent-27 percent among independent voters.[1]

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