New York Lawmakers Closer to Approving Medical Marijuana Bill

The New York Assembly Ways and Means Committee overwhelmingly passed a bill that would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to patients suffering from chronic pain or other medical symptoms, the Albany Times Union reported June 17.

Since 1997, Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) has been trying to get a medical marijuana bill passed. But for the first time this year, the bill has a sponsor in the Republican-led Senate in Sen. Vincent Leibell (R-Brewster).

Gov. George Pataki is willing to “review” a medical marijuana bill, a spokesperson said. However, Pataki continues to support the state Health Department’s belief that synthetic drugs like Marinol provide similar benefits to smoked marijuana.

The bipartisan bill moves on to the Assembly Rules Committee before heading to the full house for a vote.