ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Negotiations have begun between the governor’s office, Senate and Assembly regarding a bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York, according to the bill’s lead sponsor.
“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.
Sen. Diane Savino’s comment came Thursday as Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he’s open to the so-called “Compassionate Care Act,” but has reservations about the drug being exploited.
Cuomo remarked on the bill on public radio’s “Capitol Pressroom.”
The governor 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.
On Thursday, state Senate leaders 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.
Chairman of the rules committee and Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos said he 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.
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