New York Assembly Overwhelmingly Approves Medical Marijuana Measure

Legislation that allows for the therapeutic use of cannabis by qualified patients, Assembly Bill 6357, was approved today by members of the New York state Assembly in a 95-38 vote. The debate now moves to the Senate where members are expected to take up companion legislation, Senate Bill 4406, in the coming days.

These measures would allow for the therapeutic use of cannabis by qualified patients who possess a recommendation from their physician. They are being supported by a bi-partisan coalition of more than 50 lawmakers.

Under these measures, state-registered patients diagnosed with one of over a dozen serious medical conditions — including cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress, arthritis, diabetes, or epilepsy — would be allowed to possess up to 2 and one-half ounces of cannabis. The measure also allows for the establishment of licensed not-for-profit and for-profit facilities to produce and distribute cannabis to qualified patients. Non-registered patients would be able to present an affirmative defense of medical necessity at trial.

New York voters strongly support allowing patients to have access to marijuana therapy. According to a 2013 Sienna Research Institute poll, 82 percent of New Yorkers — including 81 percent of Democrats and Republicans — endorse the use of marijuana when authorized by a physician. This is an increase in support of 21 percent since pollsters last asked the question in 2012.

Despite this widespread public support, Senate Co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) has stated his opposition to the measure. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated he opposed the measure, but was keeping an “open mind” on the issue.

If you live in New York, it is imperative that your elected officials hear from you. Please take a minute and click here to quickly and easily contact your State Senator, Senate Co-Leader Skelos, and Governor Cuomo and tell them to stand with the overwhelming majority of New Yorkers by supporting this important legislation.

NORML will continue to update you in the coming weeks as this proposal moves forward. You can track the progress of marijuana law reform legislation in other states via NORML’s ‘Take Action’ page here.

39 thoughts

  1. Marijuana helps my PTSD.

    The south needs help to legalize so I don’t have to keep living in fear of using marijuana and being arrested!

  2. This has got to pass. Give me & others the opportunity to a cure that is proven to save lives as in other states. I am currently under chemo not by choice, for Breast Cancer diagnosed in Dec. 2012. Allow my voice & others to be heard. Thank You

  3. This type of bill has been passed by the NY Assembly before, but has always failed in the Senate. On the other hand, this is the most support an MMJ bill has ever had from the Assembly members. We’ll see if that means anything to the Senate.

  4. Only 82 percent approve the use of prescribed marijuana. How could anyone think that someone should not have access to a substance prescribed for them by a doctor ? Even if you believed that cannabis was a dangerous addictive substance doctors prescribe other dangerous addictive substances all the time (because a patient has urgent medical needs) and no one suggests that those substances be unavailable.
    I think if you took away the name marijuana and called it substance X and then explained the full situation no one would even think about restricting access.

  5. The number of positive medical uses there are for marijauna , the. Legalization of it will definitely knock a lot of legal over th e counte r and prescribed meds like a sleeping aids oh their are just too many to mention now but like all new drugs ,oh by the way, marijauna is not a new medication but a very old and always reliable, the reason the pharmaceuticals , yes the people who brought you the lies of cannabinoids, have now been found out . Just wait a couple more years and with the money behind the research , you will then realize , you forefathers really shoved it In and broke it off. Should they ever be forgiven. Time will tell

  6. i have severe pain from eight bad discs three in my neck five in my lumbar spine and one back surgery i have to take hydrocodone every day i used to smoke a little pot to help with the pain and it realy worked well but then they started drug testing and i had to stop now i have more pain again please help people like me ith our pain through legalazation thankyou for your time

  7. It’ll never pass. The politicians in NY are some of the most corrupt, dishonest people this country has ever seen. And NORML, where the hell are you campaigning in NY? Still rolling with delight over Colorado and Washington? Well how about you guys get your asses in gear to help NYers or are you guys doing nothing besides being a fashion statement?

    1. I Have very bad PTSD from 9/11 while working for the FDNY. I was retired due to it along with other conditions. Is it true in NYS that there was approved for PTSD patients to use Cannabis for treatment, and how do I go about getting it prescribed. I Have been on benzodiazepine for over 10 years and do not what to be end up with Dementia at a young age. But doing research know one understands that Cannabis is much safer then a benzodiazepine. Alcohol which is so socially accepted like candy is worse for the human body and has no benefit. I have many friends who are strung out on drugs and Alcohol with PTSD and feel the Government should do more to help the First Responders then make the Drug Companies rich. Please give me any advice you can.

      Thank You. Anthony

  8. It’s so funny to me that for so long this issue has been defeated in legislation yet, amazingly enough one of our elected lawmakers gets snagged with possession and now it passes, by a landslide, one the assembly…hmmm. At the end of the day, it is a product that has so many benefits to society, not just for pain, I.e. hep, fossils fuels etc. such a stigma surrounding this drug, and it’s stupid. Wake up and realize the benefits…

  9. If they are going to force patients to rely on organizations (dispensaries) to provide care instead of allowing patients manufacture their own medicine, then I really hope they make it affordable. Especially, considering how a number of the prospective patients are on disability and can barely afford the cost of living as is.

  10. Phrtao, you took the words right out of my mouth! If weed is to be slated an illegal, addictive substance then why is highly addictive oxycontin not an illegal substance?! Ppl sure use & obtain that dangerously addictive drug for recreational use w/o prescription yet it’s not illegal like herb is.
    The hypocrisy is ridiculous.

  11. Could we get an official update and opinion? I’ve read in articles that Senate never voted, right? Same old story since 1997?

    In my view, it should be a short mention on Norml’s main page. Seemingly, it’s time to plan for new activism tactics. Senate/Governor hasn’t respected the data.

    [Paul Armentano responds: State legislators just concluded their session. Senate leadership failed to hear the measure.]

  12. Adcocate for legislatiion people. Let your voice be heard! Senators,congressmen,let`s get the bowl rolling. I have m.s and when i use m.j. I feel physically and mentally better. It has shelped


  13. Marijuana does not need to be “legalized”. That just gives polititions another way to tax you. Its not about legalization but decriminalization.

  14. I have severe anxiety and i should be eligible! If California can give it for anxiety why not ny? I want something that WORKS, not sugar pills, high priced therapists, and meditation that can take years.

  15. New York needs this. For the patients like me suffering of paranoid schizophrenia. I’ve been given more pills than I’ve ever felt comfortable taking with innumerous side effects. None of which did much for me. I’ve smoked marijuana as long as I’ve been diagnosed and proof positive it relaxes the hallucinations much more than that of pharmaceutical

  16. Why should we have to live in fear for using a natural plant? Why are we not rallying together?! People should be going door to door, handing out flyers and spreading the word, gatherig a larger audience. The vote should be to the people, not the Senator.

  17. This needs to pass. I got arrested last week for growing 10 plants which were for medical use. I have 3 herniated discs in my back and prescribed several addictive drugs with serious side affects. In my attempt to limit use of them I smoke marijuana. I’m facing a felony which may ruin my professional career. All I want is to limit the use of these prescribed life ruining addictive drugs.

    [Paul Armentano responds: The state senate ultimately failed to take up the measure.]

  18. here in NY a pack of name brand smokes are close to 10 bucks. When I run out of cash for weed no big deal but no cash far smokes I will sell c.d. or D.V.Ds or what ever I have to so I can get smokes so addictive and kills us still legal but not weed? what gives?

  19. Our country likes to make choices based on everything but fact’s. alcohol kills and i don’t have to start naming of the statistics about that but we have bars on every corner and proud of it. I would be more proud if we did something that relaxed people, healed peopled people mentally. all Drinking makes me want to do it have sex and fight.Weed makes you want to make friends,share moments with people. Other states are starting to realize this. New york will get on board or when every other state is legal new york will be over flowing with even more pot. the day is coming.


  21. I have osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, and joint problems, this would cut down on the medications I have to take for different pain I have, cannabis helps with my inflammation f joints, chronic pain, chronic fatique, it controls the pain everywhere, helps me sleep at night, it replaces about 4 that I take, that only touch the pain where cannabis works better for what I have, I have been honest with my pcp about smoking, I really think a lot of professionals understand and can’t say too much, how long will it take in the senate, cause I want a prescription so I don’t get in trouble for wanting to feel better and have better quality of life!

  22. Im sick of taking anti-anxiety medication every single day. im sick of waking up to and going to bed with a hand full of pills that dont even seem to work for me. Cannabis is the only thing, so far, that stops my turrets, calms my ADHD down, and helps me sleep at night. Please stop being so ignorant and stop trying to avoid the fact that IT DOES HELP. please…

  23. Wow what a coincidence I looked this up today…. Hot topic! I wish I could just smoke openly at a family gathering or party while others are drinking. 99% of stories about a persons craziest or darkest moment start with “I was drunk.” marijuana does not make you courageous and care free. I am a successful, family oriented, productive member of society who happens to have ms. Been smoking for 25 years and only diagnosed 4 years ago. I don’t use any other meds except ldn( an edorphin booster) I eat healthy and smoke weed! So far the ms has not affected me negatively. I will continue my program just wish I could do it legally!

  24. I have MS and have been told MMJ would help with my spasms and other systoms. I have tried it illeagally but want to try different strains.

  25. Now we just have to wait for Senate to reopen again. Really hoping things turn around in NYC. If you’re ever looking for a supply of medibles in the city email me at aliceinwondoorland @gmai…baking goodies has been my hobby since my grandmother got sick..cheers!

  26. Im35 years old with breast cancer. A 5 year old son and a 7 month daughter. It’s unfair that I have to suffer with depression and constant nausea. This needs to pass its mean.

  27. I use it for pain would be nice to not worry about going to jail and being in pain and take less pain pills safe my liver

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