With impeccable timing, the New York State Conservative Party weighs in:
Conservative Party to Legislature:
Marihuana is Not Medicine And Should Not Be In Public View
Brooklyn, NY - Conservative Party State Chairman, Michael R. Long, issued two separate legislative memos to the Members of the NYS Legislature, today strongly reminding them that marihuana is still a dangerous gateway drug and steps to redefine it as a medicine is ill-advised and allowing it to be in public view sends the wrong message. The memo’s follow:
A. 10581 – Rules (Jeffries) On Codes Committee Agenda
Purpose: An Act to amend the penal law, in relation to criminal possession of marihuana in the fifth degree.
Party Position: The Conservative Party of New York State strongly supports the US Constitution and understands that a citizen has a right to not incriminate oneself. However, this bill, if enacted goes beyond that right.
This bill strikes 5 words currently in the language in NYS Penal Law section 221.10 that states “marihuana in a public place, as defined in section 240.00 of this chapter, and such marihuana is burning or open to public view, or…”, the 5 words are “or open to public view” . The striking of these five words changes the law in a manner that ultimately would allow marihuana to be in public view as long as it is not burning.
School grounds is defined in Section 240, public places also means a place to which the public or a substantial group of people has access, including and not limited to playgrounds, places of amusement and parks.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy states, “Marihuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. Although marihuana is sometimes characterized as a “harmless herb,” the cultivation, trafficking, and use of the drug have a negative impact on many aspects of our lives, from public health to national security, transportation, the environment, and educational attainment.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/ondcp/ondcp-fact-sheets/marihuana-know-the-facts).
The Conservative Party is opposed to any change in NY’s Penal Law that further decriminalizes the possession of marihuana. Marihuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States. Studies have shown an association between chronic marihuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and schizophrenia. Other research has shown marihuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. In fact, marihuana smoke contains 50‐70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke.
Drug abuse is unfortunately on the rise. By making this change in NY’s Penal Law, the message to the public becomes marihuana is not as harmful as all the studies have proven. Marihuana continues to be a gateway drug and every effort to diminish that message must be rejected.
We urge you to oppose this bill.
A.7347-B Gottfried (On committee agenda) S. 7283-Savino
Purpose: An Act to amend the public health law and the general business law, in relation to medical use of marihuana
Party Position: There is nothing medical about marihuana. The support memo, issued by the sponsors of this bill, are duplicitous in its stated purpose by stating that the bill allows the patient to use marihuana to treat a serious illness “under medical supervision”. There is no medical supervision! A doctor simply writes a letter, NOT a prescription, which states the patient has a serious condition that in the practitioner’s judgment can and should be treated with the medical use of marihuana. No wonder some in the medical field support this bill...they will be paid for an office visit and have NO liability for the misuse of the mind-altering drug.
The sponsor support memo also states that the fiscal implication would be “minimal administrative expenses largely covered by registration fees and substantial Medicaid savings.” Again, they are being duplicitous. The Department of Health will expand and the associated cost of additional employees, with associated pension costs, will be a burden to taxpayers, material on the “benefits” of “medical” marihuana will be printed and distributed, allows the DOH to contract with a third party to conduct an evaluation of the operation of the law, and doctors will be paid for their new “seriously” ill patients.
The proposed bill still allows up to 12 plants to be in the possession of the “certified patient” and a “designated caregiver” may possess that amount for each patient for whom he or she is the caregiver.
The sponsor support memo states, “Legalizing the medical use of effective medicine does not undermine the message that nonmedical use of illegal drugs is wrong. Many controlled substances that are legal for medical use (such as morphine, Valium, and steroids) are otherwise illegal.” It is true that morphine, Valium, and steroids are illegal (without a prescription), it is also true that there is substantial abuse of them and when abused a doctor can be held accountable because there is a prescription issued. (Legislation is currently being considered to curb the over prescription of harmful drugs.) There is NO prescription for cannabis. The potential for abuse is far more dangerous as has been proven in California. To call marihuana medicine sends a very unhealthy message.
Thousands of dollars are used to discourage the smoking of a legal substance (tobacco), tobacco is taxed and then taxed again to discourage its use, and now some want to legalize smoking of a controlled substance, given without a prescription, and call it medicine? California did not anticipate the proliferation of marihuana shops and in fact is taking measures to curtail some; New York says it will not happen here. Do not believe it.