State senate passes medical marijuana bill

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Updated: 5/20 11:35 pm

ALBANY, N.Y. – The state senate passed a medical marijuana bill Tuesday.

A bill has been presented to the state assembly four times in recent years, but it was always stalled in the senate. But the state Senate Health Committee voted nine to eight on Tuesday to pass the Compassionate Care Act.

Upon passage of the bill, the room erupted in applause.

“We could create the tightest most regulated program in the nation,” Senator Diane Savino said.

Advocates cheered on.

“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Jared Meagher said.

But the bill was still cautioned by those who have concerns.

“If it is approved by the FDA, it’s good,” Rachel Weitz said.

Medical marijuana could soon be prescribed in the state of New York.

“We should not be making decisions for what diseases get treated by doctors,” Savino said. “We should not be doing that. We should leave that to professionals.”

Savino brought the bill forward. She claimed more than two years of research went into forming the bill.

“What we have done is we have adopted the best practices from other states and rejected the worst,” she explained.

If the bill becomes law, it allows for 20 manufacturers to grow marijuana and would allow it to be prescribed and distributed by medical professionals for 20 different diseases, including cancer, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s Disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

“I want the state and any other state to be responsible for the people and make the right decision,” Weitz said.

But for those who oppose the bill, they point to inconsistencies across the country and want federal regulation to be the deciding factor.

“I do believe that the FDA is the one that has to give the final approval and give us the direction,” Senator Martin Golden said.

If made into law, a 12-person advisory committee would help regulate the bill. It also allows for diseases to be added or taken off the list as medical technology advances.

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