Big Marijuana has tapped some heavy-hitting Abany lobbyists to leagalize pot in New York for medicinal purposes, according to the New York Post.
At the helm is lobbyist Patricia Lynch, who runs a firm that represents a Colorado-based marijuana manufacturer. She is a former top aide to Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, and one of her managing partners, Patrick McCarthy, is former executive director of the state Republican Party and an aide to former Gov. George Pataki.
“We’re going to negotiate this bill with the wind at our backs. There’s tremendous support to legalize medical marijuana in New York,” state Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, told the Post.
The new push for legalized medicinal pot comes a week after voters in Massachusetts overwhelmingly approved medical marijuana, and recreational marijuana became legalized in Colorado and Washington.
According to the paper, a Siena College poll in June showed 61 percent of New York voters backed medical marijuana to help relieve pain and suffering.
And it’s not just those with medical ailments that would benefit from marijuana, said Savino, who predicts that with licensing and taxing of marijuana growers, dispensaries and sales could generate upwards of $1 billion for New York.
Prescription marijuana is backed by the New York State Medical Society, as well.
But New York law enforcement argues that medical marijuana can be a gateway drug.
“We are now coping with the epidemic of prescription-pill addiction and cannot afford another disaster caused by the highly abused ‘remedy’ pushed by Big Marijuana,” New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan told the Post.