Patients and Advocates: Now It's Time for the Senate to Pass the Compassionate Care Act
A poll released by Siena College found that a clear majority of New Yorkers -- including 60% of Republicans and 65% of Conservatives -- support passing legislation as the best way to "proceed on this issue" of establishing patient access to medical marijuana in New York.
The poll's release comes a day after reports of President Barack Obama discussing the need for marijuana policy reform in an interview in The New Yorker, and after last week's announcement by U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid that he supports medical marijuana. Earlier this month, Governor Andrew Cuomo also announced his support for medical marijuana and outlined a proposal to use his executive authority to launch a medical marijuana research program in New York. Advocates hailed Cuomo's shift on the issue and noted that, because a research program would not create effective patient access, legislation is still necessary to create a medical marijuana system in New York.
Statement by Nancy Rivera, a four-time cancer survivor from Troy, NY.
"This poll reinforces what we already know: critically and chronically ill New Yorkers need a comprehensive bill for relief, namely the Compassionate Care Act, to be passed in the Senate during this 2014 legislative session. We must not and should not have to wait any longer for a medical marijuana system to be put in place in our state. The Senate should immediately pass the Compassionate Care Act."
Statement by gabriel sayegh, New York State Director of the Drug Policy Alliance:
"This poll isn't a surprise - the vast majority of New Yorkers have long supported allowing patient access to medical marijuana under the supervision of a healthcare provider, and they clearly understand that Albany needs to pass legislation to achieve that goal. Unfortunately, Albany -- specifically the Senate -- is stuck in retrograde, leaving patients to suffer and leaving New York in the dark ages. The entire nation -- including the President -- is engaged in a discussion about fixing our broken marijuana policies, and 20 other states have moved forward through legislation or referenda establish medical marijuana systems to help patients in need. Internationally, countries like Canada and Israel have national medical marijuana systems. But in New York, the Senate is putting politics ahead of the lives of patients and their families, refusing to even hold a public hearing on the issue. Patients and families in New York have suffered long enough -- it's time for the Senate to pass the Compassionate Care Act and send it to Governor for his signature so New York can finally establish the medical marijuana system patients urgently need and deserve."