“There are certainly significant medical benefits that can be garnered,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo during a press conference Thursday. Last year, he was against medical marijuana for medicinal purposes. Thursday, Governor Cuomo was touting a deal with lawmakers to legalize the drug to help ease the pain of those who are seriously ill.
“We believe this bill strikes the right balance,” said Cuomo.
Advocates have been at the Capitol for days pushing for the bill. Many in the crowd are either struggling with illness themselves, or know someone who could benefit from the drug.
But there are risks along with those benefits, according to the Governor, and that’s what took so long to strike the right balance. The bill does not allow marijuana to be used in smoking form, only oil based and other liquids.
“This is a compassionate issue,” said Kate Hintz of Compassionate Care New York. “If you’re given a terminal diagnosis of cancer, I do not see the harm with the specifics that have been made in this bill.”
The program will be administered by the Department of Health and patients will need a registration card and a prescription from a doctor.
Lawmakers are expected to vote on the legislation Thursday night.