ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — The lead sponsor of a bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York said Thursday negotiations are underway between the governor’s office, Senate and Assembly and her goal is an agreement within days.
“We have been hoping that the governor’s office would engage because we would really like to have a three-way agreement in time to be printed on Monday so it can be acted on by the end of this session,” said Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat.
Meanwhile, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on public radio’s “Capitol Pressroom” that he is open to the “Compassionate Care Act,” as the legislation is called, but has reservations. The governor, a Democrat, said he generally approves of the concept but is worried about implementing a safe distribution system that can’t be exploited.
Cuomo has supported exploring medical marijuana use. In January, he announced a pilot program that would allow 20 hospitals statewide to administer the drug to patients under the direction of the state’s health department.
While Savino met with reporters, Senate leadership moved the bill from the finance to the rules committee, its final stop before a vote in the Republican-led Senate.
John DeFrancisco, chairman of the finance committee, has said he wouldn’t allow the measure to be brought to a vote.
Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos, chair of the rules committee, has reservations about allowing marijuana cigarettes for medical use, but is open to ingestion of the drug in other forms. Savino’s bill prohibits anyone under 21 from smoking marijuana.
The legislative session ends June 19. The rules committee is not slated to meet until Monday.