In a rare display of bipartisanship, the New York Senate passed a bill that would speed up access to medical marijuana for patients suffering from severe illnesses. The bill passed the Republican-controlled senate 50-12 after clearing the Democrat-controlled Assembly 130-18, reflecting an increasing recognition among politicians of all stripes that marijuana can be used to help manage a variety of illnesses.

If signed into law, the bill would give “special certification” to patients suffering from a “progressive and degenerative” disease or who are at risk of death or health problems without access to the medicine. “This will help a select group of patients that may not survive as they wait for the Compassionate Care Act [New York’s medical marijuana program] to be fully formatted and in place,” said Sen. Joseph Griffo (R.-Rome).

Much of the pressure to pass the legislation came from parents of children who suffer from intractable epilepsy, who traveled repeatedly to the Capitol to express their support for the bill.

The bill moves now to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who has yet to indicate his position on the legislation.


Photo Credit: -JvL-

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