The days leading up to the end of the legislative session in Albany, New York could have been described as disquieting and tense. New Yorkers have been trying for years to persuade Governor Cuomo to sign a medical marijuana bill in New York. In the past two years, a delegation of patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, SSDP chapters, and endorsing organizations have held meetings with Cuomo’s staff to discuss the details and logistics of this the Compassionate Care Act. In spite of this, the governor’s staff did not suggest amendments to the bill until the final days of the session and Cuomo failed to meet with patients or family members of advocacy groups. On Monday, June 16th, Cuomo announced that he would support the Compassionate Care Act on the condition that significant changes were made to the legislation. The accepted changes are as follows:
- The bill bans smoking marijuana. Patients can consume their medicine through a vaporizer or edibles.
- There can be no medicinal marijuana patients under 21
- Patients cannot consume medicinal marijuana in public. Landlords and employers have the freedom to restrict use of marijuana by patients.
- The number of registered organizations (entities that the state licensees to produce and dispense marijuana) are limited to five, and the number of licensed dispensaries are limited to 20 for the entire state.