Last week it appeared that New York's medical marijuana bill, the Compassionate Care Act, had a great chance of being passed this week. The bill had already passed the New York Assembly, and supporters stated that they felt they had enough support in the Senate to get a similar result in that chamber. It appears that the momentum took a hit this weekend, when New York Governor Cuomo leaked a list of demands that would be required in order to sign off on the bill. Among those demands are:
Banning smoking - only vaporization, pill form, and edibles will be allowed
No sharing of medical marijuana between patients
A reduced list of qualifying medical conditions to become a medical marijuana patient
Changes to the amount a patient can obtain/possess per month
Medical marijuana doctors would need to have special certification to approve patients
Out of state patients do not have protection while in New York
Limiting the number of dispensaries allowed, and the number of organizations that oversee them
Allow the Governor, at any time, to suspend the program
These demands resulted in a public response from the bill's sponsor, New York Senator Diane Savino. Per Daily News:
"Where I come from, you don't negotiate in the press," she wrote. "Leaks from the governor's office are an attempt to distract from the issue. The facts are many of his concerns are already addressed. We will not be dissuaded! Call the Governor, tell him to support the Compassionate Care Act!"
If New York Governor Andrew Cuomo felt so strongly about these demands, why did he wait until the last minute to spring them on lawmakers? And why did he do it via the media? I don't think it takes a conspiracy theorist to determine this was part of a strategy to slow the process at a vital time. It's nearing the end of New York's legislative session, and setbacks like this one during the final rounds of negotiations is a pretty clear attempt to derail New York's medical marijuana efforts. If you live in New York, stand up and be heard. Patients shouldn't have to continue to suffer because New York's Governor wants to play games.