Bioethics Blogs

New York’s Medical Marijuana Law May Just Be a Political Hoax?

On
the very last day of the 2014 legislative session, the New York Senate passed “The
Compassionate Care Act” (S.1682-A, Savino) approving the legalization of medical
marijuana
.
  The Assembly had previously
passed a companion bill (A.6357-A, Gottfried). The Senate bill has been sent to
Governor Cuomo for his signature. The governor endorsed the bill in the
legislature, but as of July 4, 2014, has yet to sign it.

New
York medical marijuana proponents have been
advocating for the availability of cannabis
for several years. Neighboring states Connecticut, New Jersey, and Vermont, and 18 other states and
the District of Columbia currently allow medical marijuana. However, last
minute compromise changes to the New York law will severely restrict access to
medical cannabis. In fact, the limitations are so rigid that some might say the
bill is a hallow shell, a sham, one designed to appear to allow medical marijuana
yet really not. Regardless of how one feels about medical cannabis, to hype the
public into believing that marijuana will be available for medical purposes and
then establishing barriers to its accessibility that is a fraud. It would be
unconscionable to raise the hopes of distressed patients, many suffering with
chronic and painful conditions, only to see those hopes dashed.

What
are a few of these barriers in the compromise bill? First, the raw plant will
not be available
so that a patient may smoke the plant as one might smoke a
cigarette. Both
The Lancet and The New England Journal of Medicine report that smoking the plant is the best way to deliver the active
ingredients effectively.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.