Press Release  | 03/07/2014

NY State Assembly to Include Comprehensive Medical Marijuana in State Budget Bill; Patients, Families, Caregivers Call on Senate To Do Same

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Statewide Coalition Launches Month of Actions With Weekly Lobby and Education Days in Albany and Community Forums in Buffalo, Syracuse, Capital Region, Westchester, NYC, Long Island

Momentum Builds as Assembly Jumpstarts Negotiations and Four Senate Republicans Announce Support for Compassionate Care Act

New York: Today, Assembly Health Committee Chairman Richard Gottfried (D, WFP – Manhattan) announced that the Assembly would include the comprehensive medical marijuana bill in their state budget proposal. The move assures that, for the first time ever, the Compassionate Care Act will be formally discussed in state budget negotiations between the Assembly, Senate and Governor.

The move comes as momentum continues to build for a comprehensive medical marijuana bill. In the last few weeks, four Republican State Senators have added their voices to the chorus of support for the Compassionate Care Act: Senator George Maziarz (R – Newfane), Senator Mark Grisanti (R, IP – Buffalo), Senator Joe Robach (R, C, IP - Rochester) and Senator Tim O’Mara (R, C – Big Flats, Elmira). The senators garnered praise and thanks from patients around the state. Now, patients, families, caregivers and healthcare providers are echoing the call of these leaders to demand the Senate pass Compassionate Care Act. After passing the Assembly four times, the bill is currently stuck in the Senate, despite the fact that there are enough votes for the bill to pass.

As the Senate delays, patients and families continue to suffer. To prod Albany into action, this week, Compassionate Care NY - a coalition of over 1,000 patients, 650 physicians, nearly 70 endorsing organizations, and over 10,000 supporters -- launched March for Compassion, a month-long series of actions and events to educate New Yorkers about medical cannabis and build support for the measure.

The events include weekly education and lobby days in Albany and community forums around the state, focused on passing the Compassionate Care Act. It was at the first March for Compassion education and lobby day this week where Senator O'Mara, in a meeting with patients and caregivers, announced that he supports the Compassionate Care Act.

In addition to weekly education and lobby days, March for Compassion includes community forums around the state, where medical experts, patients and family members will address the benefits and risks of medical cannabis. Attendees will learn about the comprehensive Compassionate Care Act which would create a tightly regulated medical marijuana system in New York for those with serious and debilitating conditions. Currently scheduled forums include Buffalo (3/10), Capital Region (3/12), Mineola (3/13), Westchester (3/14), Brooklyn (3/19) and Syracuse (3/19).
 
A recent Quinnipiac poll found 88% of New Yorkers support medical marijuana. Twenty states and the District Columbia have passed laws creating legal access to medical marijuana for seriously ill patients.
 
Patients and family members will be available for interviews. The events are free and open to the public.

March for Compassion Events

Albany: Legislator Education and Lobby Days

Join patients, parents, caregivers and healthcare providers in Albany to meet with members of the legislature!

Monday, March 3 - all day (State Capitol, Albany) - Successfully completed!

Wednesday, March 12 - all day (State Capitol, Albany)
(Legislative roundtable from 9-11 followed by legislative visits)

Tuesday March, 18 - all day (State Capitol, Albany)

Wednesday, March 26 (State Capitol, Albany)

Statewide: Community Forums and Events

Come out and learn more about the Compassionate Care Act and how you can get involved

Buffalo - Monday, March 10:
A Matter of Compassion: Medical Marijuana in NY, an educational forum
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Hilton Garden Inn, Cheektowaga

Capital Region – Wednesday, March 12:
A Matter of Compassion: Medical Marijuana in NY, an educational forum
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
HopeClub, Latham

Mineola, Long Island – Thursday, March 13:
A Matter of Compassion: Medical Marijuana in NY, an educational forum
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, Mineola

Westchester – Friday, March 14:
Press conference on local support for the Compassionate Care Act
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
(Meeting Location TBD)

Albany – Tuesday, March 18:
Medical Marijuana in NY, an educational forum
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM
Empire State Plaza Convention Center, Meeting Room 2, Albany

Brooklyn -- Wednesday, March 19:
A Matter of Compassion: Medical Marijuana in NY, an educational forum with Faith Leaders
For details, contact compassionatecareny [at] gmail [dot] com or 347-781-5435

Syracuse – Wednesday, March 19:
A Matter of Compassion: Medical Marijuana in NY, an educational forum
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Barbagallo’s Restaurant, East Syracuse

For more information or to RSVP for any of these events, please contact us at:
compassionatecareny [at] gmail [dot] com or 347-781-5435

Contact: Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or gabriel sayegh 646-335-2264

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