“March for Compassion” Includes Actions and Events Across New York in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Capitol Region, Westchester, New York City, and Long Island
Major Push by Patients and Families to Pass Compassionate Care Act
Patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers gathered in Albany on Monday to launch March for Compassion, a month of activities and events held around New York to demand the State Senate to past the Compassionate Care Act by April 1. The patients are living with cancer, multiple sclerosis, and other serious, debilitating medical conditions, and the families include parents of children who suffer from severe forms of epilepsy, such as Dravet’s syndrome.
While Albany dithers and delays on A.6357-A (Gottfried) / S.4406-A (Savino), patients are suffering and families are leaving the state. A major Monday story in the Buffalo News by Tom Precious illustrates how many families and patients in New York are leaving the state for places like Colorado, where they can access medical marijuana.
Patients, caregivers and healthcare providers, tired of waiting for Albany to take action, launched March for Compassion, a month-long series of events across the state, on Monday. Events include public educational seminars, lawmaker education meetings, lobby days in Albany, and press conferences.
By Steve Elliott
Democratic legislators in New York state have scheduled public hearings in Mineola and Buffalo next month on legalizing marijuana for medicinal uses.
Some lawmakers in Albany want to allow cannabis for cancer and other life-threatening diseases, reports Teri Weaver at Syracuse.com. The New York State Assembly, controlled by Democrats, has passed medical marijuana bills several times in recent years, but the Senate, run mostly by conservative Republicans, hasn't yet voted on the issue.
However, Senate GOP leaders now share power with a small group of independent Democrats, and one of those, Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) supports legalizing cannabis for medicinal use.
While Gov. Andrew Cuomo hasn't endorsed medical marijuana, he has left the discussion open, and a bill proposed by Sen. Savino and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) would legalize and regulate the dispensing and sales of medical marijuana.
Under the bill, medical professionals who can prescribe controlled substances could authorize patients for medicinal cannabis. Authorized patients would register with the New York Department of Health; the authorization process and the dispensing of medicinal cannabis would be part of a newly adopted statewide prescription monitoring system which was instituted to reduce abuse of controlled substances.
By Steve Elliott
A policeman in Buffalo, New York who recently was awarded Officer of the Month honors has been fired after he was caught growing 82 marijuana plants at his home.
James Hamilton was arraigned on Thursday on charges of operating a cannabis-growing operation at his home after a six-month investigation led to his dismissal from the Buffalo Police Department, reports Phil Fairbanks at The Buffalo News. Hamilton had been a cop for less than a year.
"Like any organization, you have bad apples," claimed Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda on Thursday.
Rookie cop Hamilton, 29, recent Officer of the Month, now faces multiple drug and weapons charges. Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy C. Lynch claimed 82 marijuana plants and 4 pounds of marijuana were found in Hamilton's basement. Police also seized a 12-gauge shotgun.
Hamilton was arraigned before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, who entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. "My client is innocent," said defense lawyer Matthew Borowski. "And he intends to fight these charges."
By Steve Elliott
New York could be next in line to legalize medical marijuana. A state senator has introduced a bill that would allow the very ill to use cannabis as a medical treatment, but the bill reportedly has an uphill battle.
Diane Savino, a Democrat from Staten Island, is sponsoring the bill, reports John Borsa at WKBW.
"In other countries, the UK and Canada, they've done extensive research on medical marijuana, and have been able to show that there is a direct effect in a positive way on patients," Savino said.
According to the state senator, her bill takes what has worked in other states and leaves out elements that have not been as successful.
Under her proposal, seriously ill patients would need to get their doctor's authorization, and could then buy marijuana through a system of state-regulated dispensaries. The cannabis would be tracked "from plant to patient," Savino said.
But that's where that "uphill battle" we mentioned comes in. Governor Andrew Cuomo has in the past said he "doesn't support" medical marijuana. And of course, some nervous Nellies are fretting about "making marijuana more widely available."