Medical Marijuana Gets New Push In New York; 'High' Hopes Ill-Advised
A Colorado-based marijuana company has enlisted the help of one of Albany's most influential lobbyists to make medical marijuana a reality in Andrew Cuomo's "progressive" New York. But the chances of the Empire State getting prescription pot any time soon aren't great.
Gaia Plant Based Medicine has recruited former Sheldon Silver aide Pat Lynch's lobbying firm to urge lawmakers -- and Cuomo -- to legalize medical marijuana in New York.
However, despite overwhelming legislative and public approval (anywhere from 60-percent to 80-percent of New Yorkers support medical marijuana, depending on which poll you look at), Cuomo has said he won't approve a bill legalizing medical marijuana.
Earlier this year, Cuomo said he's still "studying" the pros and cons of medical marijuana.
"There are tremendous risks," the governor told reporters in April. "I think the risks outweigh the benefits at this point."
We've repeatedly asked the governor's office what "risks" he was referring to, however, we've repeatedly been given no answer.
The problem for Cuomo isn't that New York doesn't support medical marijuana -- or that there are any actual "risks" in allowing people suffering from medical illnesses to smoke pot -- it's that he's currently (unofficially) running for president. And explaining to the far-right why he not only allowed gay people to tie the knot, but also led the Godless crusade to end the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws -- and legalized medical marijuana -- will undoubtedly lead to GOP campaign ads declaring that Cuomo is pro-drugs and anti-traditional family (gasp!).
But there is some hope for medical marijuana -- and we can thank that miserable shrew Sandy.
Pro-pot advocates argue that licensing fees for medical marijuana facilities could generate hundreds of millions of dollars -- money that could be used to help the state to bounce back from last month's devastating hurricane.
It now seems to be a case of politics vs. common sense. Unfortunately for the pro-pot crowd, politics are pretty powerful.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.