In what seemed like an 11th hour save, lawmakers in New York and Governor Cuomo worked out a deal on the Medical Marijuana bill known as the Compassionate Care Act based on Cuomo's conditions.

Those conditions mean that non-smoke versions of the drug can be used be patients. Cuomo said this is due his concerns over public health and safety, while also noting the benefits:

There are certainly significant medical benefits that can be garnered. At the same time, it's a difficult issue because there are also risks that have to be averted -- public-health risks, public-safety rises -- and we believe this bill strikes the right balance

However, in the amended version of the bill - Cuomo can 'pull the plug' at any point based on the advice of his Health and Police Commissioner:

There are no advisory boards. There’s no intermediaries. It’s regulated by the Department of Health. It can be stopped by the executive at any given time.

This has many in the health community concerned over the fact that the program can be stopped at any time for any reason.

As for it not being smoked, how will the drug be taken or used? The bill covers oils, pills, or vaporized.

Here's other key highlights

  • Health insurance providers will not be required to make marijuana part of it's covered drugs. 
  • Doctor's will decided if a patient is eligible to be perscribed the drug. 
  • Patients would then have to apply for a medical marijuana card for use.
  • Once approved the doctor will decided the amount needed per patient
  • Patients who give their drug to others could face a year in prison
  • Department of Health can suspend or revoke a person's card if they 'willfully' violate any provision of the law.
  • The drug WILL BE taxed 7 percent

Now on to what illnesses are currently covered (Note: more can be added):

  • Epilepsy
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
  • ALS
  • Parkinson’s
  • Huntington’s
  • Neuropathies
  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • HIV
  • AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Lastly, the bill could be up and running with 18 months but Lawmakers still need to cast a vote.

8:00 AM 6/20/14 UPDATE:

In a 113-13 vote, New York State Assembly passed the Compassionate Care Act legalizing Medical Marijuana on Thursday morning. A vote by the senate will take place this morning (6/20) at 10 AM.

2:30 PM 6/20/14 UPDATE:


[News 10 / USA Today]