The State of New York legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2014. However, state law places limits on the availability and use of the drug for medical purposes. For example, New York’s medical marijuana law does not allow smoked forms of marijuana. Medical marijuana advocates object to this limitation, and have introduced Bill S.1087-Rivera/A.6009-Gottfried in an effort to remove it.
This bill is objectionable for two reasons. First, smoking marijuana is dangerous. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I controlled substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act. In addition, the American Lung Association (ALA) warns that “[s]moking marijuana can harm more than just the lungs and respiratory system – it can also affect the immune system and the body’s ability to fight disease, especially for those whose immune systems are already weakened from immunosuppressive drugs or diseases [such as] HIV infection.” The sponsors of this legislation have failed to make the case that smoking marijuana is safe, let alone healthful.
Second, legalizing smoked marijuana for medical purposes would undermine existing efforts to discourage the recreational smoking of marijuana.
On April 25, Bill S.1087-Rivera/A.6009-Gottfried went up in smoke in the Senate Health Committee. The Committee voted 11-6 against advancing the bill.
Senators Voting Aye:
Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan)
Sen. Velmanette Montgomery (D-Brooklyn)
Sen. Roxanne Persaud (D-Brooklyn)
Sen. Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx)
Senators Voting Aye With Reservations:
Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach)
Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Queens)
Senators Voting Nay:
Sen. Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn)
Sen. Marty Golden (R-Brooklyn)
Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City)
Sen. Chris Jacobs (R-Buffalo)
Sen. Bill Larkin (R-Cornwall-on-Hudson)
Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury)
Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Jefferson Valley)
Sen. Patty Ritchie (R-Oswegatchie)
Sen. James Seward (R-Milford)
Sen. Jim Tedisco (R-Glenville)
Sen. David Valesky (D-Oneida)