Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State still has some a little buzzed.
Cuomo mentioned he would launch a state medical marijuana program to help patients, and since then various organizations and supporters of cannabis have applauded the decision, but are calling for more information.
“Our opinion is that any medical marijuana law is great,” said Troy Smit, a member of the board of directors of Empire State National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a marijuana advocacy group. “There are patients out there that need it.”
The governor’s program is a pilot to research medical marijuana, and will be limited to only 20 hospitals and patients with serious illnesses, such as cancer.
Cuomo is able to enact the policy through an old law, which established the Antonio G. Olivieri controlled substances therapeutic research program.
However, not much information has been released about the program, leading people to question which patients will qualify to get access to the cannabis, which hospitals will participate, and even how the state plans to collect and dispense marijuana.
“We are afraid his whole plan is unworkable and leaves everybody in the dust. What is the point of a plan that doesn’t work,” Smit asked.
A recent DrugPolicy.org/Siena College Research Institute poll showed that 79 percent of people in New York City support medical marijuana for people with serious conditions, and there is hope that the program could be expanded after its test run.
The program’s “findings will be used to inform future policy,” according to the governor’s office.
“We have to make New York healthier. Research suggests that medical marijuana can help manage the pain and treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses,” Cuomo said. “We will monitor the program to evaluate the effectiveness and the feasibility of a medical marijuana system.”