Source: smokershighlife/Flickr

The bill legalizing medical marijuana passed the State Senate Health Committee on Tuesday, bringing it a step closer to law.

While advocates, including the bill’s sponsor, Senator Diane Savino, celebrated, Capital New York turned to one of the bill’s main opponents, Senator Marty Golden, for his thoughts. What followed was a pretty interesting exchange, in which Republican Golden argues for federal oversight, while Democrat Savino portrays it as a states’ rights issue in which New York must lead the way:

Golden said he believed medical marijuana would be legal at some point in New York, but “I don’t believe it should be now.” He said he would be inclined to support medical marijuana when the Food and Drug Administration supports it at the federal level.

Savino delivered an impassioned response.

“I wish, I really wish that the F.D.A. would move, but as it’s been noted in the past, the F.D.A takes its own sweet time,” Savino said. “In the meantime, people suffer. Children suffer. People die.

“Why is it so important for us to act before the F.D.A finally decides to do it? Because in so many ways, Senator Golden, New York is the watershed state,” she said. “As New York goes, so goes the nation. And we, if we are successful in establishing the tightest most regulated program in the country, we will become the model and the F.D.A. will finally acknowledge that they have been sticking their head in the sand about this issue for far too long.”

I’m not quite sure when, in the course of recent history, Democrats became the party of states’ rights and Republicans became the party of broader federal powers, but medical marijuana is hardly the only issue to exhibit the new paradigm (DOMA, anybody?).

Regardless, it’s not yet clear whether the bill will come to a floor for a full vote during the current session. Although it’s garnered some Republican support, and Savino said she has enough votes to pass it, Republican leadership remains cold to the idea and introduced a competing bill last week that does not allow any smokeable forms of the drug to be used for any reason.

Related posts

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    I would ask Senator Golden to do the research himself, rather than wait for a very slow moving federal agency to get around to taking any action themselves on the issue. Check research done through the National Institute of Health.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

    As for States Rights, the legal focus of the two parties are different. The Republicans wish to limit Federal power to that which is specifically addressed in the constitution. Democrats see the flip side of this, wishing to utilize the aspect where powers not specifically delegated to the Federal government revert to the states.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/lisanne001 Lisanne!

      Wait, let me also point out that states can act in circumstances where the Federal government has not acted, unless the Federal government has exclusive jurisdiction. And Congress can, in many instances, nullify State laws with opposing legislation.

  • ShadowLock

    Tell me again why we haven’t made it accessible for medical use???

    Think someone needs proof we need to make it medically accessible asap! Before more kids die…..
    http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/

    perhaps Pharma is keeping FDA generously paid out purposely?

  • RSJ

    U.S. Patent #6630507. The federal govt has a patent on the medicinal properties of marijuana, yet it’s classified as a controlled 1 substance on the grounds there are no medicinal benefits. Contradictory? You bet. Screw medicinal marijuana and legalize it already.