New York’s Assembly voted at around 2:50AM EST on June 20th to approve the Compassionate Care Act, a proposal to legalize medical cannabis. The vote was quickly followed by the bill’s approval in the Senate.
Under the proposed law, individuals will be allowed to possess cannabis for medical purposes if they receive a recommendation from a physician, and subsequently receive a registration card from the State Health Department. Unfortunately an amendment was approved to prohibit the consumption of cannabis through traditional smoking, because Governor Cuomo threatened to veto the bill if such a change wasn’t made. Vaporizing, however, would be allowed, as would the consumption of cannabis through edibles, lotions, tinctures, oils and so forth.
The bill would also allow for a limited number of medical cannabis dispensaries in order to provide safe access to the medicine, though the number of outlets would be limited to just five.
Proposals to legalize medical cannabis in New York have been approved five other times in the past by the state’s Assembly; this marks the first time the Senate has approved such a measure.
Given the approved amendments, Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the bill into law.
[Editor’s Note: There was a correction made in this article; the original version stated that the bill passed the Senate first, when it had in fact passed the Assembly, and then the Senate.]