Debate Heats Up Over Medical Marijuana in NY
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The debate continues to blaze over legalizing medical marijuana in New York, despite an overwhelming 71% of the public in favor of it. State Senator Diane Savino (D-Staten Island) has announced plans to introduce a medical marijuana bill in the coming weeks, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he will refuse to sign the legislation if it is passed. 16 states, including Washington DC, have legalized marijuana. Legislators have attempted to pass a marijuana legalization bill three times over the past few years, but this one is a breed apart: if passed, this bill would only allow marijuana to be available through a licensed dispensary—only those who are too poor or live too far away from a dispensary would be allowed to grow their own plants. Medical marijuana would bring in revenue for the state, and Cuomo acknowledges the numerous benefits. However, he feels that the risks—such as unwanted attention for the state, increased work for law enforcement and possible legal entanglements—outweigh the benefits, since New York has what he calls a “terrible problem” with drug use.