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Cuomo rejects newly amended medical marijuana bill

Updated: 06/17/2014 1:44 PM
Created: 06/17/2014 10:31 AM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rejected a medical marijuana bill newly amended by lawmakers to address some concerns he has raised in negotiations, which continued Tuesday.
    
Cuomo said the changes to the so-called Compassionate Care Act don't include a ban on smoking the drug and requiring the program to be evaluated in five years.
    
Lawmakers revised the measure late Monday, just beating a deadline and setting up a possible vote by the end of the week. The regular session is scheduled to end Thursday.
    
"We've made progress in the discussion, but we're not there yet," the Democrat told public radio's "Capitol Pressroom" on Tuesday.
    
The bill would legalize medical marijuana for severely ill patients. Among the changes made Monday were allowing only doctors to prescribe the drug, dropping three conditions for which marijuana could be prescribed - diabetes, lupus and post-concussion syndrome - and doing away with an advisory panel that would oversee the program.
    
The amended bill, introduced shortly before midnight Monday, needs to be on lawmakers' desks for three days before it can be voted on, though Cuomo could waive the aging period.
    
Advocates are pressing Cuomo to allow the drug to be smoked, saying that is the fastest way of ingesting the drug, which helps with nausea associated with chemotherapy treatment.
    
A spokesman for bill co-sponsor Sen. Diane Savino said negotiations with Cuomo's office are continuing and that amending the bill didn't signify that a final deal had been reached. He said negotiators are still waiting for bill language from Cuomo.
    
When pressed on why his office hasn't provided language for the medical marijuana bill, Cuomo said, "I don't want to get into the negotiations with the Senate leadership and the Assembly leadership."





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