NEW YORK – In a hotly contested eleventh hour compromise, Governor Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders agreed to legalize certain forms of marijuana for patients with a limited range of diseases on Thursday, putting a lackluster finish on the nearly two decades old wrestling match.
As of Wednesday night, in typical fashion, Cuomo rejected certain language and omissions in a proposed bill sponsored by Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat, who have advocated for medical marijuana legalization for nearly 20 years.
After days of intense negotiations amid the looming end of the 2014 legislative session, the medical pot bill was truncated beyond what many lawmakers wanted, after Cuomo vehemently warned that he would sign it only with the inclusion of certain strict requirements.
The passage of the Compassionate Care Act has made New York only the 23rd state to have medical marijuana laws on the books. The bill, which has been introduced every session since 1997, will be the most tightly regulated system in the country, due to Cuomo's restrictive jargon contained within.