Assemblyman Perry’s Efforts Help Pass New Law Which Will Give Seriously Ill Patients Access to Medical Marijuana

Assemblyman N. Nick Perry announced the Assembly passed legislation agreed to by the Senate and governor allowing seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana to treat debilitating and life-threatening illnesses (A.6357-E).

“The agreement reached today is an essential step toward providing certain seriously ill patients with safe alternatives to alleviate their pain,” said Assemblyman Perry. “Allowing health practitioners to prescribe medical marijuana will give our families, friends and neighbors who have severely debilitating illnesses other options to improve their quality of life.”

The legislation would allow licensed physicians to determine if a patient suffering from a debilitating or life-threatening illness is likely to benefit from the use of medical marijuana. These patients would receive a special identification card, which they would be required to carry while in possession of the drug. The bill would impose penalties on anyone attempting to defraud the program, and would make it a felony for a practitioner to prescribe marijuana when there is no medical need.

Furthermore, the bill would cap the number of licensed medicinal marijuana growers at five and the number of locations where the drug could be dispensed at 20 statewide. Additionally, the bill would prevent the marketing of medical marijuana to teenagers and limit the forms of the drug that could be prescribed to oil-based extracts, pills, edibles and vaporized forms. Patients would not be able to receive prescriptions to smoke medical marijuana.

Under the bill, the medical marijuana program would begin 18 months after enactment and expire after 7 years. It would be overseen by the state Department of Health and the governor would have the ability to suspend the program if there is a risk to public health or safety. Finally, the bill would impose a 7 percent excise tax on medical marijuana sales, helping to fund our schools and other vital programs.

“Legalizing prescribed medical marijuana can improve the quality of life for some of New York’s most seriously ill residents,” said Assemblyman Perry. “This legislation is about fairness and compassion. No one should ever have to consider choosing between breaking the law and getting the relief they desperately need for themselves or loved ones.”