March 23, 2010

NY Senate Committee Approves Medical Marijuana Bill

March 23, 2010
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The New York Senate Codes Committee voted 11-5 to move forward with (SB 4041-A) . Similar legislation passed twice before in the Assembly, but this is the first time something like this has passed in the Senate. The success was due in large part to the fueled speculation that medical marijuana revenue can help fill in budget gaps. “I think there is a very real chance that sometime in the next days or few weeks, that medical marijuana could actually be enacted in New York,” said New York Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried.

One provision of the bill might still be a sticking point; patients would not be allowed to grow for themselves. This didn’t seem to be an issue in today’s vote, but I predict it will be once it goes forward for more debate. The only way Republicans will vote for this bill, is if it includes the possibility of generating enormous tax revenues. The only way that is possible is if everyone buys their medicine from state controlled dispensaries, where the state can monitor and tax the sales. This is an implementation factor that just about every state doesn’t consider when they think medical marijuana is some budget shortfall savior. I would like to remind the State of New York what this is all about. What is the purpose of passing medical marijuana in New York; to help patients who are in desperate need of medicine, or to try to institutionalize medical marijuana for the benefit of politicians??

A state operated dispensary system might be fine for some patients, but certainly not all patients. In Oregon, I can grow my own medicine, which is EXTREMELY important to me. I don’t want to be held hostage by a caretaker, grower, dispensary owner, or the state. I want to produce it myself, so I know exactly what I am ingesting. Plus it saves a ton of money, and what I produce is much better than what most dispensaries have. I think New Yorkers should have the right to grow just like I can in Oregon. But I can almost guarantee they won’t be able to, because the way I produce and consume my own medicine doesn’t generate much tax revenue; the only tax revenue I generate is the fee that I pay to the State of Oregon for my medical card. Without the ability to grow medicine for themselves, patients are getting the shaft in New York. But if a provision was added to the bill that allowed patients to grow it themselves, the bill would not get enough votes. That’s a brutal catch-22 if you ask me.

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