Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny: Medical Marijuana Bill to Assist Seriously Ill Patients Passes Assembly

June 14, 2007
Assemblymember Alec Brook-Krasny (D-Coney Island, Dyker Heights) announced today that the Assembly passed legislation allowing the use of marijuana to treat serious, life-threatening illnesses under a doctor’s supervision (A.4867-A).

“There are seriously ill New Yorkers with life-threatening medical conditions who would benefit from the use of medical marijuana,” Brook-Krasny said. “This carefully crafted legislation reflects our compassion for those who need to alleviate their chronic pain and suffering.”

Assemblymember Brook-Krasny said medical studies have proven that the drug can offer relief to HIV/AIDS and cancer patients, and other patients suffering from life-threatening conditions.

“Medical marijuana can be very beneficial and effective for patients who don’t respond well to other medications.” Brook-Krasny said.

Assemblymember Brook-Krasny said the bill would:

  • allow a certified patient or designated caregiver with a valid registry ID card to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 12 plants;
  • authorize the state Department of Health to issue ID cards to certified patients and designated caregivers;
  • allow doctors to certify the use of marijuana for intervals of up to one year for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions – only if the doctor determines it would be more effective than other drugs; and
  • bar patients from using marijuana in public places.

While the active ingredient in marijuana, THC, has been approved for medical use by the Federal Food and Drug Administration and the Drug Enforcement Agency since 1986 in synthetic pill form, consuming the drug in its natural form – which physicians say is more effective – remains illegal under federal law.

Brook-Krasny added that in the last two months, New Mexico has legalized the use of medical marijuana. A similar measure recently passed the Connecticut legislature and is on the governor’s desk for action. Assemblymember Brook-Krasny said legalizing the medical use of effective medicine does not undermine the message that non-medical use of illegal drugs is wrong.

“Many controlled substances that are legal for medical use, including morphine, Valium and steroids, are otherwise illegal,” Brook-Krasny said. “It is inappropriate to allow physicians to prescribe powerful opiates to relieve pain, but not marijuana. I urge the Senate and governor to help make this bill law.”

Assemblymember Brook-Krasny said the bill is a pilot program that will expire four years after becoming law.