Business as usual in New York, cannabis continues to be decriminalized

Business as usual in New York, cannabis continues to be decriminalized

New York - The New York State Senate and Assembly passed legislation (S.6579A/A.8420A), to continue decriminalizing cannabis in our state. The bill lowers the fines associated with possessing small amounts of cannabis, under 2 ounces, to be up to $200. This bill also introduces a retroactive expungement mechanism into our criminal justice system, potentially affecting hundreds of thousands.

This “decriminalization” bill that is currently waiting for the Governor to sign into law, does nothing to end arrests for cannabis possession. Instead, the bill reduces penalties for public use and burning to a violation that can still ultimately lead to arrest. Cannabis was decriminalized by New York in 1977, and yet millions of people have been arrested since then and we became the cannabis arrest capital of the country.

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NY: Bill To Allow Emergency Access to Medical Cannabis

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New York: Allow Emergency Access to Medical Cannabis!

New York legislators have introduced a bill to require the Commissioner of Health to establish emergency access to medical cannabis programs and to provide medical cannabis for patients whose serious condition is progressive and degenerative or patients for whom a delay in access to medical cannabis would pose a serious risk to the patient's life or health, before the implementation of the State's medical cannabis program, which is not expected to be operational until January 2016 or later.

 

The Compassionate Care Act originally contained a provision to allow emergency access to medical cannabis in New Yrok, which was removed by Governor Cuomo in the negotiations leading to its passage.  Since then, three young girls have died from being denied expedited access to the medicine they needed and many families with children who need access to medical cannabis have left New York State.

 

Look up your senators contact information here and assemblymembers contact info here.

Below you will find a simple script to guide you through a call and a sample letter for you to email or mail. Call to Senator/Assemblymember's office:

Hello, I am a constituent of the [Senator OR Assemblymember] and  my name is [Your Name] and I live at [Your Address or zip-code] and I would like to leave a message for the [Senator OR Assemblymember].

I would like to urge they support Senate Bill 5086 and Assembly Bill 7060, which would require the Commissioner of Health to establish a program to provide emergency access to medical cannabis for patients who can't wait for a robust program to be operational.

Thank you for your time, have a nice day.

 

You can use this text, or modify as you see fit, and mail / email it to them to show your support for the sick and dying patients in this state by allowing emergency access to medical cannabis.

 

Letter to Senator/Assemblymember text:

Subject:

Allow New Yorkers with Progressive and Degenerative Serious Conditions Emergency Access to Marijuana

 

Body:

Dear Honorable [Senator OR Assemblymember] [Rep's Last Name here]

I'm urging you to support Senate Bill 5086 and Assembly Bill 7060, which would require the Commissioner of Health to establish a program to provide emergency access to medical cannabis for patients whose serious condition is progressive and degenerative or for whom delay in the patient's certified medical use of cannabis poses a serious risk to the patient's life or health, before the implementation of the State's medical marijuana program, which is not expected to be operational until January 2016 or later.

The Compassionate Care Act originally contained an emergency access provision, which was removed by Governor Cuomo and Senator Skelos in the negotiations leading to its passage.  Since then, three young girls have died from not being able to access the medicine they needed.

Whether or not you supported the Compassionate Care Act, I encourage you to support Senate Bill 5086 and Assembly Bill 7060, because the most critically ill New Yorkers can’t wait until next year for their medicine.

Best Wishes, [Your Name Here] [Your Address/Zip code here]

Action Alert: NY Emergency Access bill Assembly health committee vote for emergency access to medicinal cannabis [4/28/15]

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Action Alert for the NY Emergency Access bill

Assembly Member Richard N. Gottfried's NY Emergency Access bill to create an emergency access program for patients with the most urgent needs is getting voted on by Assembly Health Committee TODAY. let's get it passed and force the Senate and Gov. Cuomo to act!

How to help:

1. Call Speaker Carl Heastie at (518) 455-4800 and ask him to bring the NY Emergency Access bill to a floor vote as soon as possible.

2. Call your Assembly member (if you don't know who that is, go to http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/search/) at his or her Albany office and ask him or her to support A. 7060, the emergency medical marihuana program bill;

Sample Script: Please note - You will get a live person when calling within normal business hours. " Hi, My name is _______ ______, I am a NYS Resident.

I would like to leave a message for Speaker Heastie and my support for A. 7060, a bill to provide Emergency Access to medical marijuana.

I want to urge the speaker to support the NY Emergency Access bill and bring it to the floor for a full vote. Thank you for your time, have a nice day!"

Remember: Be polite, care and share!

 

Public Comments on Proposed Rule Making - Medical Use of Cannabis

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Proposed Rule Making - Medical Use of Cannabis

Below you will find the Public Comments on Proposed Rule Making - Medical Use of Cannabis submitted to the NYS Department of Health.

 

Memo

 

To: Ms. Katherine Ceroalo, Bureau of House Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Unit, New York State Department of Health From: Doug Greene, Legislative Director, Empire State NORML, David C. Holland, Esq., Executive and Legal Director, Empire State NORML, Troy Smit, Executive Director, NORML Long Island, Board Member, Empire State NORML

Date: February 17, 2015 Re: Proposed Rule Making for Medical Use of Cannabis, I.D. No. HLT-52-14-0013-P

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Proposed regulation: Section 80-1.2(a)(8) requires that a practitioner’s certification be limited solely to the specific severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions defined in subdivision seven of § 3360 of the public health law, which are listed therein, or any other condition added by the commissioner.

Comment: The specific severe debilitating or life-threatening conditions (the “Qualifying Conditions”) listed therein represent a small subset of the conditions for which cannabis has been shown to be safe and effective for. We believe that there was little input from health experts on the final list of Qualifying Conditions. The department should promulgate regulations establishing a medical expert review process for adding and deleting Qualifying Conditions. Proposed regulation: Section 80-1.3(d)(4) provides that an application for a registry identification card shall include a nonrefundable application fee of fifty dollars; provided, however, that the department may waive or reduce the fee in cases of financial hardship as determined by the department. Comment: The department should set explicit standards for financial hardship, such as eligibility for various federal means tested programs, i.e. the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), nonemergency Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). See also Colorado’s rules specifying income criteria for an indigence fee waiver. Proposed Regulation: Section 80-1.4 provides that caregivers designated to handle approved medical marihuana products on behalf of certified patients are required to register with the department according to the procedures detailed in this section and to obtain a registry identification card.

Comment: To provide and expedite emergency access to medical cannabis, and prevent further loss of life, caregivers whose patients are not within a set distance of a RO dispensing facility should be legally allowed to purchase, transport or cultivate medical marijuana in limited quantities for their patients legally as long as they are registered with the State, as they do in Massachusetts and Arizona. Pursuant to proposed § 80-1.11(g), medical marihuana products will be strictly limited to highly processed and costly forms of administration.  Therefore, the department should also consider the willingness of applicants to dispense medical marihuana products to certified patients on a sliding scale or for free.  See, for example, regulations implementing the District of Columbia’s sliding scale program and Massachusetts’ requirement that registered marijuana dispensaries must have a program to provide reduced cost or free marijuana to patients with documented verified financial hardship. Proposed Regulation: Section 80-1.11(c)(1) provides that each registered organization may initially produce up to five brands of medical marihuana product with prior approval of the department. These brands may be produced in multiple forms as approved by the commissioner. Thereafter, additional brands may be approved by the department. However, in no case shall marihuana in unprocessed whole flower form be made available to certified patients. Comment: Not allowing certified patients to access cannabis in its natural unprocessed form is unique to New York and Minnesota. Cannabis has never been listed as a primary cause of death in mortality statistics. By prohibiting access to whole plant cannabis, there are likely to be certified patients with qualifying conditions that will be unable to fully benefit from the medical marihuana products permitted under the proposed regulations. The synergistic effects of whole plant medicine have been well documented over the years.  The department should allow dispensing facilities to supply certified patients with whole plant cannabis for vaporization. Furthermore, placing a limit upon how many brands a registered organization may initially produce will reduce the public health benefits of the program. Practitioners’ abilities to help a certified patient determine the brand that best treats their qualifying condition would be maximized by lifting this cap, which will restrict patients from being able to find the brand that’s best suited to treat their qualifying condition.  NJ initially limited each ATC to three strains of low, medium and high potency, but those restrictions were repealed in September 2013. Proposed regulation: Section 80.1-16 relates to the marketing and advertising of registered organizations. It seeks to limit the time, place and manner in which such advertising and marketing of a registered organization is permitted. Comment: The restrictions far exceed the constitutionally permissible regulation of commercial speech under time, place and manner restrictions and force registered organizations to incur restrictions that are not imposed on pharmacies or other facilities that market medicines in general or for specific afflictions.  The limitation of only one public visible signage, limited to black and white print, and the proscription of using any language or art that promotes medical marijuana in that signage is not a proper basis to prohibit commercial speech.  Further, the requirement that there be no promotion of a particular strain or brand for a the treatment of a particular symptom is unduly restrictive as the limitations on the number of strains that may be carried requires selectivity in the types that can address various symptomologies.  Last, the requirement that any claim of effectiveness be fair and balanced and supported only by demonstrable medical research and reports that are widely accepted in the medical profession are unduly burdensome. The medical profession has been deprived of meaningful opportunities to conduct mass scale research and the number of scientific reports that delve into the effectiveness of marijuana are scant and not widely accepted because the medical profession has been limited in such research due to the continuing Schedule I status of marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act. The better approach would be to allow advertising in line with that permitted by other purveyors of medical products; permit promotion of strain effectiveness based upon anecdotal information known to the vendor; and the ability to rely upon research that is founded upon accepted medical methodologies regardless of whether the particular theory promoted has been widely accepted in the medical community.

 

Watch Empire State NORML-NY Cannabis Alliance-Brooklyn Live

Watch Empire State NORML-NY Cannabis Alliance-Brooklyn LIVE!

(Brooklyn, NY): Empire State NORML-NY Cannabis Alliance-Brooklyn LIVE! Discussing the recent passing of the Compassionate Care Act, Medical Marijuana and the state of marijuana policy in New York in large including decriminalization, repealing prohibition and MORE!!

Doug Greene (Empire State NORML); Adam Scavone (New York Cannabis Alliance); Sam Oakford (VICE News); Brooklyn Independent Media (BK Live)

Empire State NORML is a grassroots non-profit advocacy organization dedicated to moving public opinion sufficiently to legalize the responsible use of marijuana by adults, and to serve as an advocate for consumers to assure they have access to high quality marijuana that is safe, convenient and affordable. Empire State NORML's is the NY State affiliate of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

The New York Cannabis Alliance is a diverse coalition of advocates including consumers, patients, veterans, politicians, legal and medical professionals, and all those who believe that current cannabis laws are unjust and unsustainable. New York Cannabis Alliance works to educate lawmakers and the citizens of New York to enact laws that protect the interests of those involved in the production, distribution and use of cannabis.

VICE News is an international news channel created by and for a connected generation. Our documentaries and original news series bring you an unvarnished look at some of the most important events of our time, and shine a light on underreported stories around the globe. Unorthodox and at times irreverent, we get to the heart of the matter and call it like we see it.