Medical Marijuana Still Has Hurdles To Jump in the Senate.
Medical marijuana legislation passed in the New York Assembly four times, but the bill has not been able to clear Senate.
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, who sponsored the legislation that passed for a fifth time in March, is hopeful that this will be the year New York becomes the 23rd state to legalize medical marijuana.
"I think medical marijuana legislation is closer to becoming law in New York than it has ever been," Assemblyman Gottfried said. "I am more hopeful than ever that it will finally come together between the Assembly and the Senate.
"If we get a bill to [Governor Andrew Cuomo], I predict he will ultimately sign it."
Governor Cuomo has put hesitant support behind medical marijuana, and said he will sign legislation as long as it it makes sense and has the proper regulations.
In January, Cuomo unveiled an initiative that would give hospitals across the state the opportunity to treat patients under the watchful eye of the state's health department.
Assemblyman Gottfried said the current medical marijuana bill, called the "Compassionate Care Act," has rules and restrictions in place to avoid misuse of the drug.
"Under this bill, there would be a list of specific diseases that [medical marijuana] could be used for, and in order to be a medical marijuana patient [a person] would have to register with the state," he said.
Opponents against the legsialtion have argued that doing so would be reckless, and that the Food and Drug Administration should handle which drugs should and should not be legal.
The Compassionate Care Act needs to pass the Senate rules committee, which meets Monday, before it can go up for a vote on the full-Senate floor. The legislative session ends June 19.