Pubdate: Tue, 29 Apr 2014
Source: Oneida Daily Dispatch (NY)
Copyright: 2014 The Associated Press
Author: Josefa Velasquez, The Associated Press
Page: A11


ALBANY (AP) - Lawmakers may be coming to an agreement to allow the 
use of medical marijuana after revised legislation was introduced 
Friday that limits the number of diseases that would qualify for prescriptions.

Opponents criticized the original bill for allowing prescribers to 
determine what constitutes a serious condition, previously defined 
generally as severely debilitating or life threatening. The amended 
bill narrows that to about 20 conditions, including cancer, HIV, 
AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, multiple sclerosis and 
Parkinson's disease.

"Those are conditions that have been determined, in either other 
states or through research, to be benefited by medical marijuana 
treatment," said the legislation's sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino, of 
Staten Island.

Savino, a member of a group of breakaway Democrats that control the 
Senate with Republicans, says she has 39 votes in favor for the bill 
- - only 32 are needed to pass legislation in the Senate

Earlier this month, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said his chamber 
would pass the legislation again if the Senate took up the bill. The 
Assembly has passed the measure each year since 2007.

A spokesman for Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos says he is 
studying the issue. Co-leader Sen. Jeff Klein, one of the breakaway 
Democrats, is a co-sponsor of the bill. They control what legislation 
gets to the floor for a vote.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said he would review the legislation 
if it passes.

A Siena College poll released last week found that 51 percent of New 
York voters support legalizing medical marijuana, while 26 percent 
said they prefer Cuomo's plan to let 20 hospitals statewide provide 
medical marijuana to seriously ill patients.

The poll also showed 21 percent of voters still want to keep marijuana illegal.

The revised legislation would also bar patients under the age of 21 
from smoking the drug, though it could still be administered in oil 
form or through a vaporizer.

Medical marijuana is among a handful of issues expected to be taken 
up by the Legislature after a month-long break concluded Monday.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom