New York will become the latest state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical reasons, according to a report released this weekend.
The New York Times reported last night that Governor Andrew Cuomo will sign an executive order allowing for the distribution of medical marijuana at 20 New York hospitals. According to unnamed state officials the law will be officially revealed to the public in Cuomo’s State of the State address this Wednesday.
According to the New York Times:
“While Mr. Cuomo’s measure falls well short of full legalization, it nonetheless moves New York, long one of the nation’s most punitive states for those caught using or dealing drugs, a significant step closer to policies being embraced by marijuana advocates and lawmakers elsewhere.”
The law is not as progressive as measures adopted in Colorado or California. However it represents a major shift in the governor’s thinking. As recently as April he had said that while he understood the positive aspects of legalizing marijuana for medical reasons, he personally did not support it.
Now (and perhaps with an eye to re-election this year in November) Cuomo will sign an executive order that will see New York become the 21st state in the Union to legalize the sale of medical marijuana, albeit for very serious medical conditions such as cancer and glaucoma. On January 1st this year, Colorado became the first state to legalize the sale of marijuana for purely recreational use.
The medical benefits of marijuana in alleviating suffering for some of the most devastating medical conditions have long been known to both medical professionals and lawmakers. However, reactionary opposition based on myth and backed by powerful vested interests has long held back what many of us see as a purely humanitarian measure. Infinitely more people are killed by alcohol, firearms and cigarettes each year than have ever been killed by smoking marijuana. However three of these things are perfectly legal and enjoy state regulation. It is time to challenge the unfounded claims of proponents of the ludicrous ‘war on drugs’ and demonstrate the benefits that marijuana can bring people suffering from diseases that we would not wish on ourselves or any of our loved ones.