Pubdate: Wed, 02 Mar 2016
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Copyright: 2016 Capital Newspapers Division of The Hearst Corporation
Author: Lawrence Goodwin


The Feb. 23 editorial, "Revisit medical marijuana," should've held 
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and federal lawmakers more accountable for 
perpetuating irrational policies toward cannabis plants.

Many advocates who worked so hard to pass the 2014 Compassionate Care 
Act blame Mr. Cuomo alone for strictly limiting public access to 
medical cannabis.

The governor means well to prohibit marijuana smoking for medical 
purposes, which is legal in other states. Lighting any dried plant 
material on fire and inhaling the smoke risks damage to lung tissue, 
so recommending it would violate an oath taken by medical 
professionals to do no harm.

New York could address that by welcoming innovative companies to 
market much safer electronic vaporizers instead of marijuana joints and blunts.

The larger problem is that Mr. Cuomo insists on dictating which 
medical conditions qualify and allowing only five cannabis growers 
and 20 dispensaries in our state. He seems to be motivated by the 
same cannabis paranoia that has blocked progress at the federal level 
for decades. The federal Schedule I classification of "marihuana" in 
the 1970 Controlled Substances Act makes the absurd claim that 
cannabis flowers have "no accepted medical use." That is contradicted 
by an abundance of scientific evidence, plus the fact that New York 
is the 23rd state since 1996 to enact a medical marijuana program.

For the first 150 years of U.S. history, no such federal law 
complicated the cultivation of these plants. There was even a long 
period when cannabis flower extracts were prescribed as medicine.

It is unconscionable for lawmakers to continue opposing the 
restoration of vibrant medical cannabis markets. Every hour of delay 
deprives qualified patients of their basic rights.

Lawrence Goodwin

- ---
MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom