New York: Medical Marijuana Debate Heats Up at the Capitol
By DEMETRA GANIAS
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A push to allow for medical marijuana has passed a State Senate committee in hopes that the issue will come to the floor for a full Senate vote this session.
But there are serious concerns among law enforcement that the need for weed could spark new public safety problems.
Michael Kessler of Elmira broke his back in 6 places, then burned 90% of his body in a motorcycle accident.
Timothy Cerrone of Amsterdam has multiple sclerosis, and needs injections to be able to see.
They're among thousands of patients who say medical marijuana is the best way to help dibilitating pain, and won't damage to the liver as badly as decades of taking prescription drugs.
Right now, the senate is considering legislation that says a patient would *not be allowed to grow pot; distribution would be regulated through hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies; and patients under 21 years old need parental consent.
But several people in law enforcement argue, marijuana would inevitably get into the wrong hands.
Albany County Inspector John Burke also points to a marijuana pill, Marinol, that's more easily regulated:" You can get a pill that's refined, it's a synthetic, its does the exact same stuff to your body as inhaling that marijuana cigarette."
But some patients, like Cerrone, say, that pill is not nearly as effective, adding, "I've tried all sorts of things and marijuana is the one thing that actually makes me see."
Up next, the Senate codes committee will take up the debate.