Assemblyman Dick Gottfried isn’t worried about New York going to pot if the governor’s plan to legalize medical marijuana is enacted–because the drug is so easy to obtain on city streets already.
“Anybody who thinks they need to jump through all of those hoops because they want to recreationally use marijuana, you know, they just don’t know what they’re talking about. Anybody who wants to break the law to get marijuana for recreational use can go out on almost any street corner,” Mr. Gottfried said last night, calling in to NY1′s The Call.
“The only people who are gonna make use of this legislation are propel who are desperately ill. Anyone else who wants to use marijuana just for fun is not going to need to jump through all these hoops,” he added.
Critics, such as former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, never quite bought that argument, however; last summer, Mr. Bloomberg called medical marijuana “one of the greatest hoaxes of all time.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to discuss his plan–which marks a reversal from his previous position against decriminalizing medical marijuana–this afternoon in his fourth annual State of the State address, along with a new push for tax cuts and new infrastructure investments.
Under the plan, which would be enacted via executive action through the state’s health department, marijuana would be available at 20 hospitals throughout the state to patients with serious health conditions who receive certification from a doctor and register with the health department.
Mr. Gottfried, who serves as chair of the Assembly’s health committee, said there are thousands of New Yorkers suffering unnecessarily because and hailed the governor for his change of heart.
“The key thing is that the governor has put his name in support of the concept of medical use, and I think that dramatically changes the whole debate in New York. It is now a question of what’s the best way to do it, not whether we should do it,” he said.