Cuomo’s Medical Marijuana Plan: The Mystery Deepens

Activists who were hoping to hear
more information about New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s
medical marijuana plan
 in yesterday’s State of the State

instead got less, the Drug Policy Alliance notes:

Cuomo initially said he would share details about the plan
during his state of the state address, but instead provided only
limited comment. The Governor’s policy briefing book, published
during his speech, outlines what amounts to a medical marijuana
research program, not the comprehensive system that patients need.
Critical questions remain as yet unanswered—such as, which patients
would be eligible, or where the marijuana for the program would
come from. Administration officials have suggested they would
obtain marijuana from the federal government or from supplies
seized by law enforcement, but those options, while specifically
outlined in the 1980 Olivieri law, are both unlikely and pose
significant safety risks to patients. Additionally, public and
private hospitals may be resistant to participating in a state
program that instructs them to violate federal law. 

As I
pointed out
on Monday, it seems unlikely that Cuomo will be
able to obtain marijuana from the federal government, which would
require the approval of the Food and Drug Administration, the Drug
Enforcement Administration, and the National Institute on Drug
Abuse, all of which insist that cannabis is not a legitimate
medicine. Using marijuana seized from the black market or grown by
the state, meanwhile, would involve state officials in direct
violations of federal law. The only option that seems viable is the
one used by every state that so far has allowed the medical use of
cannabis: creating a medical exception to the state ban on
marijuana, so that individuals can do the growing and distributing.
But that would require action by the state legislature, while Cuomo
claims he can provide patients with cannabis through executive
action under existing law. This is looking more and more like a
gesture rather than a policy. 

from Hit & Run

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