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

MedicalMarijuanaComingToNY

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: Push To Fix Marijuana Law Likely Dead; Stop-and-Frisk Continues

StopAndFriskNY

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo was criticized on Thursday by black and Hispanic Democrats who said he wasn't doing enough to stop the tidal wave of "stop and frisk" arrests of minority youth.

Cuomo recently proposed making the "public display" of 25 grams or less of marijuana a violation for which police officers issue a summons instead of an arrest. New York lawmakers decriminalized pot back in the 1970s, but New York City Police Department officers got around that by asking suspects to remove the marijuana from their pockets, then busting them for "public display" of pot, an arrestable offense.

The decrim bill was seen as an attempt to address the fallout over the NYPD's controversial tactics, which critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have pointed out leads to disproportionate rates of minorities being busted for pot.

Gov. Cuomo failed last year to reach a deal with Senate Republicans on the public display decrim bill; they opposed the measure, reports Mara Gay at The Wall Street Journal. He again pushed for a slightly different bill, this time decriminalizing public possession of less than 15 grams, in March but again lost.

The issue appears dead again for this year, according to lawmakers.

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