NY: Lawmakers Explore Allowing Medical Marijuana For Opioid Addiction Treatment

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Sixty eight people have died from opioid overdoses in Monroe County so far in 2018. State lawmakers are now exploring a new option for people who are addicted.

The New York state Assembly just approved a bill that would add opioid addiction to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

There’s a big difference between medical marijuana and pot you’d find on the street. Medical is high in CBD and regular is high in THC, which makes you high.

The state Assembly voted “yes” to a bill that would allow people who have been diagnosed with opioid addiction to use medical marijuana. Supporters say medical marijuana can help with withdrawal and make it easier for people to stop using opioids.

Now, this bill heads to the state Senate, so how would your local lawmakers vote? News10NBC reached out to every senator in our area and they all said they would vote to add opioid addiction to the list of qualifying conditions for medical marijuana.

Sen.Michael Ranzenhofer supports the bill, saying in part, “The opioid epidemic is having devastating effects on communities across our state. If doctors believe that medical marijuana would be helpful in combating this addiction, then we should make this treatment available.”

“Anything we can do to help addicts kick their habit would be a step in the right direction,” Sen. Pam Helming said. “I would support allowing medical marijuana to be used to treat opioid addiction. However, the medical community must continue to study this issue to ensure that medical marijuana is a viable option for treating opioid addiction.”

“As a member of the Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, I’ve seen first-hand what this terrible epidemic has done to families across our state,” Sen. Robert Ortt said. “If the use of medically prescribed marijuana will help save lives by curing individuals of their deadly opioid addiction, then it is a proposition I would certainly be favorable of. If this action is being for called by medical professionals, I’ll defer to their expertise to add another tool to fight this epidemic.”

“Based on my ongoing discussions with experts in the medical field about the drastic increase in opioid use and addiction, I support the use of medical marijuana as a treatment option and would vote yes for the bill put forth by Sen. George Amedore,” Sen. Rich Funke said.

Sen. Joe Robach also supports the bill.

“I have previously supported medical marijuana for treatment of certain medical conditions,” Sen. Robach said. “If prescribed by a licensed physician, and if it provides a medical benefit, I would certainly be open to those changes.”

However, not everyone is in favor of this change. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence worries the use of medical marijuana could lead some people to develop other drug addictions.

There’s no word on when this bill will be brought to the senate floor for a vote, but the legislative session ends June 20.

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