ALBANY – Gov. Cuomo on Monday for the first time said he’s open to signing a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.
With momentum building in the Legislature to make medical pot legal, Cuomo said he’d sign the bill as long as it “makes sense.”
“If you don’t do it right and controls aren’t in place, it could be a problem,” he said. “How you do it is everything in this case.”
Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) have been pushing for passage of a medical marijuana bill this session.
“If their piece of legislation, the legislation makes sense, then I would sign it because I support the overall effort,” Cuomo said.
He noted that he has already moved without legislative action to provide medical marijuana at 20 hospitals throughout the state. He also announced last week an agreement to develop a trial project to provide Epidolex, a drug that contains an ingredient found in marijuana plants, to help children with epilepsy.
It’s unclear whether Senate Republicans will allow a vote before the legislative session ends next week.
Twenty one states have already legalized medical marijuana.
Savino, the Senate bill sponsor, said Monday that she is “very confident” the measure would be approved before the end of the session.
She called the latest version of the bill “the tightest, most regulated piece of legislation that will affect the medical marijuana industry in this country.”
The legislation would authorize the use of medical pot to treat 20 specific “serious, debilitating, life-threatening” chronic llnesses.
To avoid the problems faced in California, the bill would require that every pot plant have a bar code that Savino said would make “impossible to divert this into the black market.”
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