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“I’m just a bill…”

I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill” But how long do I have to wait to become a law? What does medical marijuana have to do with School House Rock?

Who remembers school house rock? “I’m just a bill, yes I’m only a bill”. Like the school house rock song: “I’m just a bill” says: “Its hard to become a law”. Well it is if you are talking about (egads!) medical marijuana. Because if you are talking about a Veteran’s ability to cancel a rental agreement or increasing legislative pay wages, bills can become laws in less than a session. So why does medical marijuana, with its overwhelming support, continue to be “stuck in committee, where I sit here and wait”, while far less popular bills get priority?

For over 9 years medical marijuana has remained without a vote or even proper debate in the New York State Senate and Assembly. Thankfully the past several years, momentum has been building to protect patients from being arrested for the medical use of marijuana in New York. During the 2005-2006 legislative session, a medical marijuana bill introduced by Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan) garnered 43 cosponsors. More good news is that for the first time in recent history, a member of the majority party of the Senate, Rep. Vincent Leibell (R-Putnam County) has sponsored a medical marijuana bill.

The leadership of both chambers, Senate MajorityLeader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) , have expressed support for allowing the medical use of marijuana. Yet, once again, the medical marijuana bills are stuck in the committee stage. Our new Governor says he does not support medical marijuana. So our new Governor and legislators need to hear a clear message from New Yorkers. We must tell them that protecting the seriously ill from arrest has to be a priority this session. A letter, or e-mail, even better yet a visit or phone call can do much more than most people think.

To contact your legislators about the NY medical marijuana bill visit:
https://ssl. capwiz.com/ mpp/issues/ alert/?alertid= 8829361

To write a letter to the editor in support of medical marijuana visit:
https://ssl. capwiz.com/ mpp/issues/ alert/?alertid= 9218486

There is no excuse for inaction. Both in the legislature, and by the citizens of NY. Medical marijuana has garnered overwhelming support in both the medical community and among the public in New York (and beyond). Seventy-six percent of New Yorkers (Zogby), the state medical society, the state nurses association, Hospice and Palliative Care Association
of New York State, New York StateWide Senior Action Council, Gay Men’s Health Crisis, and New York AIDS Coalition all support New York’s medical marijuana legislation. Even the federally chartered National Institute of Health concluded in 1999 that nausea, appetite loss, pain and anxiety all can be mitigated by marijuana.? While the study expressed reservations about smoked marijuana due to the health risks associated with smoking, the study team concluded that until another mode of ingestion was perfected which could provide the same relief as smoked marijuana, there was no alternative. The list of supporters goes on and on, and yet the sick and dying are still waiting for relief.

Oh, and as for those that say we can’t legalize medical marijuana because of federal laws: less than 5% of marijuana arrests in NY are by the feds. All other arrests are made under state law (in fact, over 50,000 arrests, about one-fourteenth of the entire country’s marijuana arrests occur in NY city each year). Besides, NY has a great history of ignoring
federal law that did not agree with NY state law (one that comes to mind are anti-abortion laws).

We are not talking Cheech & Chong here. We are talking about a doctor making a recommendation to their patient. Lets get politicians and law enforcement out of the relationship between patient and doctor. This is long overdue. The legislators are just getting back to work. Lets make sure they do their jobs. We can only expect them to do what we want if we tell them what that is. Then we can end the song like school
house rock does: “They signed you bill, now your a law!”

Effecting Positive Change Through Education, Awareness, Cannabis & Music,Rob Robinson
Executive Director – NY NORML (NY State Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) www.nynorml.org
Senior Activist – NY State CAN (Cannabis Action Network) www.nystatecan.org
Adviser – New Paltz NORML / SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) www.newpaltz.edu/norml

Founder – NY Harvest Fest www.nyharvestfest.com
Owner – Damn Sam Productions www.damnsam.com
Co-Publisher – Notes on the Scene www.notesonthescene.com

(845) 943-8883

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