By Madison Margolin, 2/18/17
NEW YORK — Back in 1971, the father of the American “War on Drugs” drew a connection between Jews and cannabis.
“You know it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish,” president Richard Nixon said. “What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob, what is the matter with them? I suppose it’s because most of them are psychiatrists.”
Most Jews are not psychiatrists, of course, just as most marijuana law reform activists are not Jewish. Nixon, however, wasn’t alone in calling Jews out for their involvement in cannabis policy.
An anti-Semitic article published by alt-right website The Daily Stormer in late November entitled “Weed Kikes Attacking Jeff Sessions!” denigrates a number of Jewish activists by name for opposing President Donald Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General, a position that directs federal drug law enforcement.
By Lindsay Riback, 12/9/16
ALBANY – The state is poised to lift restrictions on medical marijuana growers that currently limit the number of products they can carry and prevent them from selling wholesale products to each other.
The state Department of Health announced this week that it will lift a regulation that limited the state’s five licensed medical marijuana companies to carrying only five products each, a limitation patient advocates had long been critical off.
The state agency also said it will begin accepting plans from the companies to sell their products wholesale to other registered organizations, which is expected to increase the variety of products available at dispensaries across the state.
By Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard N. Gottfried
The election of Donald Trump and Republican control of Congress are a serious threat to programs and policies that protect our health. Washington could make radical changes to Medicare, Medicaid, the Affordable Care Act, reproductive care, and other programs that could drastically undermine our right to health care, cost New York State billions of dollars a year in federal funds, and destabilize health care providers.
The first step in stopping or reversing these attacks is to clearly understand what’s at stake and spread the word. There is hardly anything more rigged against working people than health care. The Trump-Republican agenda will make it worse. This is a time to redouble efforts in more progressive states like New York to create universal access to health care, with funding based fairly on ability to pay, through an “improved Medicare for all” system.
For years, congressional attacks on funding and programs have been defeated by the threat or use of presidential vetoes. Now we will have a president who may be leading the charge.
By Josefa Velasquez, 12/1/16
ALBANY — Chronic pain will soon be added to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana, the state’s Department of Health announced Thursday.
“After conducting a thorough review of the scientific literature, it became clear that there may be certain benefits in the use of medical marijuana by patients suffering from chronic pain,” said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. “Medical marijuana is already helping thousands of patients across New York State, and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition will help more patients and further strengthen the program.
DOH will develop a proposed regulatory amendment that will include specific language specifying the chronic pain conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana. The language of the proposed amendment was not immediately available.
By Matthew Hamilton, December 1
New Yorkers suffering from certain chronic pain will be able to use medical marijuana to alleviate their symptoms, the state Department of Health announced on Thursday.
That addition to the strict list of conditions treatable by medical marijuana products is one of the most significant strides the state has taken to expand the program to date.
It’s not yet clear exactly what kind of chronic pain will be treatable under the program’s rules. The department will develop a regulatory amendment, which will specify the chronic pain conditions that will qualify patients for the program. That amendment is to be published for public comment soon, the department said.
By Tracey Drury, 12/1/16
Another major change is coming to New York’s medical marijuana program, one that doctors say could more than double the number of qualified patients.
The state Department of Health announced Thursday it would add chronic pain as a qualifying condition. It joins 10 qualifying conditions initially identified when the state program began: cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, inflammatory bowel disease, neuropathies and Huntington’s disease. Also covered are individuals with spinal cord injuries tied to spasticity.
By Matthew Hamilton, 11/12
A divided electorate found agreement in one area Tuesday: marijuana policy.
Voters in eight of nine states where marijuana-related initiatives were on the ballot approved either recreational or medicinal use of the drug. Among the eight states was Massachusetts, where voters approved recreational use beginning Dec. 15 and put the first retail marijuana shops in the Bay State on track to open in January 2018.
With the Massachusetts vote and, more broadly, a Donald Trump White House
beginning in January, the drug policy outlook is mixed for New York, where a strict medical marijuana program exists but recreational use of the drug is a nonstarter at the Capitol
There are those who view Massachusetts as potentially catalytic for favorable recreational marijuana policy in neighboring New England states. More recreational availability possibly could eat into the New York medical program’s patient base, not to mention offer an outlet for Capital Region residents 21 and older to hop across state lines to purchase pot. The same people are cautious about a Republican White House
and cabinet that may not look favorably on progressive drug policies.
By Joe Spector, 11/10 (via WGRZ)
ALBANY — A vote Tuesday in Massachusetts to legalize recreational marijuana may have a significant impact on its border state New York.
Law-enforcement officials in New York said they will be monitoring the legalization of marijuana in Massachusetts, which will allow for possession of some pot there starting Dec. 15.
Massachusetts won’t allow marijuana shops to open until 2018. A vote in Maine to legalize weed was uncertain Thursday, but if approved, it would make them the first two states in the Northeast to do so.
By Nadia Prupis, 11/9
On a dismal election night, voters in four lucky states found something progressive to celebrate—recreational marijuana legalization.
California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all voted to make it legal for adults over 21 to smoke weed, a sweeping mandate that many expect will prompt a legislative domino effect throughout the country.
Nowhere is that felt more strongly than in the politically influential state of California. Advocates have long said that if legalization passed there, other states would be likely to follow suit. Both California and Nevada’s wins also help strengthen a West Coast “marijuana bloc,” as the New York Times put it, joining Alaska, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon in making recreational use legal in their states and throughout the region.
Arizona, the final state considering full legalization, narrowly rejected its ballot measure. Medical marijuana remains legal in the state, however.
“Marijuana reform won big across America on Election Day—indeed it’s safe to say that no other reform was approved by so many citizens on so many ballots this year,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the advocacy group Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), although he also cautioned that the election of Donald Trump threatens the advances made on Tuesday.
By Steve Wishnia, September 30
This Election Day, Massachusetts and Maine might become the first states east of the Rockies to legalize the sale of marijuana.
“It’s time to get real about prohibition,” says Richard Evans, a Northampton lawyer active in the Massachusetts legalization movement for more than forty years and chair of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. “It’s time for the industry to start paying its fair share of taxes, and it’s time to be honest about the difference between use and abuse.”
It’s also time, Evans adds, to recognize that while prohibition has not worked to eliminate marijuana use, as “an instrument of oppression for minorities, it has worked shamefully well.”