New York lawmakers will take up the issue of medical marijuana once again in the coming weeks, as a state senator plans to submit a proposal this spring to legalize MMJ.
But don’t expect to see dispensaries on the streets anytime soon: New York’s governor remains opposed to the idea at this time. Anyone hoping to start an MMJ-related business in New York, therefore, might have to wait until 2013 at the earliest.
Diane Savino, a Democratic senator representing Staten Island, intends to introduce a bill this spring that would legalize the possession and use of medical cannabis. Under the proposal, patients would be able to buy marijuana from dispensaries that have registered and received licenses from the state, and there would be strict limits on who would be allowed to grow their own cannabis at home.
Several previous attempts to legalize medical marijuana in New York failed, finding little backing from lawmakers. There’s a good chance the state could pass the bill this time around, however, as support for MMJ is now quite strong among voters. Recent polls show that anywhere from 50% to roughly 70% of New Yorkers back the idea of legalizing medical marijuana, mirroring public support nationwide for MMJ.
But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo still isn’t convinced that legalization is the answer, telling reporters this week that he needs time to research and evaluate the matter before signing off on any legislation.
The governor hasn’t ruled out the possibility of backing a medical cannabis bill at some point, but he said there likely isn’t enough time for a thorough study of this issue in the current session.
Unless he has a change of heart in the next two months, MMJ legalization won’t become a reality in New York this year even if lawmakers give it the go-ahead.