A bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana is gaining momentum in the state Assembly, with bipartisan sponsorship and a successful vote Tuesday in the Assembly Health Committee.
The bill, which would allow primarily terminally ill patients to be prescribed marijuana for nausea, pain and other symptoms, has 41 Assembly sponsors, including seven Republicans.

"If you have ever seen anyone on their deathbed, dying in agony, screaming in pain every day as I had with my father who had cancer ... the risks of smoking marijuana are outweighed by the therapeutic benefits," said Assemblyman Robert Prentiss, a conservative Republican from Colonie.

The bill has broad support from the medical community, with endorsements from medical societies in New York, Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Rockland and Dutchess counties.

It is also supported by the state Health Department's AIDS Advisory Council, the New York State Association of County Health Officials, the New York State Nurses Association, the Hospice and Palliative Care Association of New York State, Statewide Senior Action Council, Gay Men's Health Crisis and the New York AIDS Coalition.

Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Author: Erin Duggan, Capitol Bureau
Published: Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Copyright: 2004 Capital Newspapers
Contact: tuletters@timesunion.com
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/