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NYC Inches Towards Medical Marijuana

The New York City Council overwhelmingly backs legalizing MMJ—state lawmakers are the next hurdle.

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New York could ape California's progressive
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By Tony O'Neill

03/02/12

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While states like Colorado and California have steamed ahead with progressive marijuana policies, New York seems stuck behind. This week however, the New York City Council resoundingly passed a resolution calling on the state legislature to pass two bills to legalize medicinal pot use.The resolution was sponsored by Danny Dromm (Democrat, Jackson Heights), who has some serious progressive credentials, recently making the news as an outspoken critic of Republican Peter King’s anti-Muslim crusade. A few politicians, like Republican Vincent Ignizio and Democrat Vincent Gentile, sat the vote out. But it still passed by a massive 44-3 margin. The loudest dissenting voice belonged to Democrat Peter F. Vallone Jr., who represents Astoria. Vallone—who recently helped to shut down a proposed graffiti art exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum on the basis that it would "encourage criminality"—called the proposed measure a “prescription for disaster.”He went on to speculate that if medical marijuana were legalized it would end up being “sold near schools.” This assertion was countered by Dromm, who pointed out that the current law criminalizes cancer patients and others with serious illnesses who could benefit from MMJ. The vote is encouraging, but supporters can't celebrate just yet. The medical marijuana bills might still be doomed to languish in Albany, where clearing the Republican-controlled Senate won't be easy. The Marijuana Policy Project is encouraging supporters to sign its petition, urging New York lawmakers to pass an effective MMJ law.

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