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Law New York


Always in search of the perfect vaporizer
New York State Department of Health Announces Latest Enhancements to Improve Patient Access to Medical Marijuana Program
Physician Assistants Now Able to Certify Patients
Chronic Pain to Be Added As A Qualifying Condition Effective March 22

ALBANY, N.Y. (March 16, 2017) - The New York State Department of Health today announced several enhancements to the state's Medical Marijuana Program that will improve patient access. These measures include authorizing physician assistants to certify patients and adding chronic pain as a qualifying condition.

"Improving patient access to medical marijuana continues to be one of our top priorities, as it has been since the launch of the program," said Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker. "These key enhancements further that goal. Medical marijuana is already making a difference for patients across New York State, and we are constantly evaluating the program to see how we can make it better."

Physician Assistants
Physician assistants may now register with the Department to certify patients for medical marijuana, as long as their supervising physician is also registered to certify patients. This regulatory amendment was adopted on March 15, 2017.

Along with empowering nurse practitioners to certify patients, which went into effect in November, this enhancement will help patients by increasing the number of eligible practitioners, particularly in many rural counties where fewer physicians are available.

Physician assistants who successfully complete the NYSDOH approved course and are in full compliance with other regulatory requirements must complete an authorization form with their supervising physicians, and mail this form along with the course completion certificate to the Department. Once the information provided is validated, the Department will send an email confirmation to the physician assistant containing a link that will authorize the physician assistant to register to certify patients.

Chronic Pain
Effective March 22, 2017, chronic pain will be added as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana. The Department has filed a Notice of Adoption of the regulatory amendment for publication in the New York State Register.

Chronic pain is defined as "any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications" (meaning the

patient has a specific condition/situation in which a therapy normally recommended to manage chronic pain shouldn't be used because it may be harmful to that patient), "has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options; and where there is documented medical evidence of such pain having lasted three months or more beyond onset, or the practitioner reasonably anticipates such pain to last three months or more beyond onset."

Conducting a review of evidence for the use of medical marijuana in patients suffering from chronic pain was one of the recommendations in the Department's two-year report on the Medical Use of Marijuana Under the Compassionate Care Act.

For more information about New York's Medical Marijuana Program, visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/medical_marijuana/.
...glad my home state adopted this...gotta makeup for giving us...u know.
I see that cannabis flowers are still not allowed in the medical mj program. You are only allowed oil. Of course no edibles either. I looked to see if NY had the voter's referendum system and I see you don't have that either. The referendums or bills have to come directly from the state legislature. That's a big problem. It looks like moving is your only answer, that's usually difficult to do.

It seems like most of the medical mj states have the referendum process for the citizens to start a petition to help put in place laws for the citizens in their state. Such as a law for medical or legal weed.

Agreed it looks like a lousy law. Hopefully this NY mmj law is something that's a work in progress. Maybe as other areas have success the lawmakers of your state will see that it could be a benefit to increase tax revenue.

With too high of prices and a lousy law it does nothing to defeat the black market at all and it doesn't help most of the patients.
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The MMJ law that we have is awful, very few conditions allowed, poor choice in products and high prices. We have 19,889,657 people in this state and less than 14,500 people have signed up :shakehead:.

The cost of getting a card varies , but I did inquire when they first allowed it and most Dr's were charging $200-$250 and you pay $50 the the state.

Then pay double to triple the price for meds that you can get other places at reasonable prices :doh:

Chronic pain is defined as "any severe debilitating pain that the practitioner determines degrades health and functional capability; where the patient has contraindications" (meaning the

patient has a specific condition/situation in which a therapy normally recommended to manage chronic pain shouldn't be used because it may be harmful to that patient), "has experienced intolerable side effects, or has experienced failure of one or more previously tried therapeutic options; and where there is documented medical evidence of such pain having lasted three months or more beyond onset, or the practitioner reasonably anticipates such pain to last three months or more beyond onset."

That's a pretty draconian definition.
New York MMJ Companies Sue Health Department to Keep Industry Small

New York is home to one of the most restrictive medical marijuana programs in the country—a shoddy deal that has made it difficult for thousands of patients to gain easy access to the medicine they need. But this has not stopped the companies hired to manufacture and sell cannabis products throughout the state from filing a lawsuit against the agency in charge of the program in hopes of keeping the industry small and exclusively in their hands.

According to a report from the Albany Times Union, four of New York’s five medical marijuana producers have filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health in order to stop them from licensing additional cannabis companies in their territory.

The complaint, which was filed by the Medical Cannabis Industry Association, argues the Health Department’s attempt to expand the market “will completely overstep its authority delegated by the Legislature,” as outlined in the 2014 passing of the Compassionate Care Act.

New York health officials have been working for months to give the state’s medical marijuana program the wings it needs to finally get it off the ground. It all started last year when the state decided the time was right to add “chronic pain” to its list of qualified conditions. It’s a move that was predicted to increase the state’s patient registry by several thousand people.

The next logical step was to ensure these patients were able to get their hands on cannabis products by opening the program up to more businesses to serve them.

In February, the Department of Health made that move, issuing licenses to New York Canna Inc.; Fiorello Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Valley Agriceuticals LLC; Citiva Medical LLC; and PalliaTech NY LLC.

But the existing companies think it is too soon for New York to expand the program in this manner. The lawsuit claims that giving other cannabis firms the ability to operate, while patient numbers are still low, could cripple the market and put the program in its grave.

“The DOH’s premature doubling of the supply market, before patient demand has grown to a level that can sustain even the existing market, will immediately launch the collapse of the medical cannabis industry in New York,” the complaint reads.

The lawsuit goes on to say that an expansion of this magnitude would sabotage the industry’s plan to bring new, expensive medications to market for the sole purpose of treating children with epilepsy. The companies argue that they have already taken a substantial beating by being part of New York’s cannabis trade, and they simply cannot afford to take it on the chin anymore.

“The program is still in its infancy, and patient demand is currently too low to support an expansion of the supply market for medical marijuana,” the lawsuit states. “As it is, all five (of the Medical Cannabis Industry Association’s) members are sustaining tremendous operating losses, after having made millions of dollars in initial investments.”

On Friday, the courts did not issue an immediate injunction to prevent the expansion.

A spokesperson for the NY Health Department, Jill Montag, said the agency “will continue to fight any attempts to block patients from the relief they deserve.”

“The court’s decision today not to block this expansion while the lawsuit is pending certainly helps those residents,” she added.

Once again, its all about money, yeah?

Hi @momofthegoons - I suggest that you consider retitling this thread to merely "New York" as a catch all for all NY legalization topics. Right now the title limits that a bit, perhaps??

New York Assembly Adds PTSD to Medical Marijuana Conditions

The New York State Assembly voted 131-8 in favor of a bill that would add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the state’s list of qualifying medical marijuana conditions.

Bill A 7006 now heads for a Senate vote before hopefully heading to the Governor’s desk to become a law. If you live in New York, MPP and Marijuana.com urge you to contact your Senators and tell them why New Yorkers with PTSD need access to medical cannabis.

The National Center for PTSD acknowledges CBD (cannabidiol) as an aid to PTSD, while past studies have shown medical marijuana reduces PTSD symptoms in military veterans.

In late March, New York added chronic pain to its list of qualifying medical cannabis conditions.

With its vertically integrated cannabis businesses flailing, hopefully, these new qualifying conditions will boost the health of New Yorkers and the state’s cannabis economy.

The following eight Assembly Members of voted against the inclusion of “post-traumatic stress disorder as a condition permitting the use of medical marihuana” for New Yorkers:

Regarding these eight representatives....you know what to do, New Yorkers....vote early, vote often, and vote them out of office. 86 da' bums.
MMJ for Menstrual Cramps Passes First Major Hurdle in New York

In a great relief for women who are plagued with menstrual cramps, in other words all women, the New York Assembly Health Committee voted 24-2 to approve a bill to add menstrual cramps as a qualifying condition to the state’s medical marijuana program.

Thank the goddesses, and that includes New York Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who sponsored Assembly Bill 582, and Whoopi Goldberg who threw her support behind it. The bill now heads to the full Assembly for a vote.

“Women have struggled with agonizing periods since the dawn of time, and this legislation is exactly the type of progressive innovation needed to finally bring some relief!”said Assemblywoman Rosenthal in a statement. “Midol cannot be the pinnacle of menstrual cramp treatment. We women demand more; we demand access to pain relieving medication that is safe and effective at relieving menstrual cramps.”

Rosenthal acknowledged the support and attention Whoopi Goldberg brought to the issue.

“Thanks to an incredible partnership with Whoopi Goldberg, we have an amazing chance to make periods less painful across all of New York State,” said Rosenthal.

Goldberg responded with a statement urging legislators and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to get behind the bill.

“I’m glad to see states like New York starting to get serious about this and when it gets to Gov. Cuomo’s desk we hope he recognizes and champions this conversation, and allows these decisions to be made between patients and their doctor by signing this very important bill Assemblywoman Rosenthal sponsored,” said Goldberg.

Goldberg is co-owner of Whoopi and Maya, a line of medical cannabis products designed specifically to provide relief from menstrual discomfort.

New York State’s MMJ program, one of the most restrictive in the country, covers precious few medical conditions, including cancer, HIV and AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases, epilepsy, some spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis. Chronic pain was added to the list in December.

A bi-partisan bill that would include PTSD as a qualifying condition passed the Senate Health Committee earlier this month and now awaits approval in the GOP-controlled Senate.

Bill 582 has not yet found a sponsor in the GOP-controlled Senate. But Rosenthal, also an outspoken animal rights activist, isn’t finished yet.

“I am working hard to get that accomplished,” Rosenthal said about the prospects for a vote in the Assembly.

If you live in New York State, please contact your Assembly member.
Advocates eye constitutional convention as path to legalizing marijuana in New York

Monday, June 5, 2017, 4:00 AM
ALBANY — A state constitutional convention could become a pot party if a group of advocates fighting to legalize marijuana in New York get their way.

The group Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019 has formed a political action committee and is planning a public information campaign to convince New Yorkers to vote this fall in favor of holding a constitutional convention.

The group contends it may be the quickest way to write into law provisions that would allow the recreational use of marijuana.

“We believe that going through a convention process is the only viable and reasonable alternative to the Legislature,” said Jerome Dewald, a 66-year-old venture capitalist from Manhattan who is leading the effort.

Dewald, who has invested in cannabis industry ventures around the country, noted that legislation to legalize marijuana has been bottled up in the Legislature for several years.

“We simply don’t believe that (legislators) will achieve any objectively reasonable result in less than five years,” Dewald said.

The group plans to have reps at festivals and other events where millennials gather this summer, and then launch a more traditional ad campaign later in the fall.

Under state law, the question of whether to hold a constitutional convention must be put to voters at least once every 20 years. If voters vote yes on Election Day, an election would be held next year to select delegates and a convention convened in 2019.=

“I sincerely have no idea what kind of momentum this proposal would have,” said state Sen. Liz Krueger (D-Manhattan), who has sponsored legislation to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

The question has generated opposition from several labor unions that fear it could lead to a weakening of worker protections in New York.
Advocates of recreational marijuana in New York renew push in final days of legislative session

By The Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. — With little more than a week left in the legislative session, some state lawmakers and community advocates are renewing the push for legalized recreational marijuana in New York state.

State Sen. Liz Krueger and Assembly member Crystal Peoples-Stokes are joining with advocates organized by the Drug Policy Alliance Monday afternoon to announce reintroduction of the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. Other supporters include the Immigrant Defense Project and VOCAL-NY.

The bill would establish a legal market for marijuana in New York and tax and regulate it like alcohol. Supporters say it’s time New York joined the growing list of states that recognize changing public perceptions about the drug. They say legalizing cannabis will eliminate harsh criminal penalties that disproportionately affect minorities while raising hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

The state already allows people with certain medical conditions to obtain non-smokeable forms of medical marijuana.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been dubious about legalizing weed beyond this limited medical use. Past efforts to expand use have stalled in legislative committees.

So, it ain't only the Republicans that are dense as a rock about MJ.
Behind RRNY, a campaign to legalize marijuana in New York
A once-in-20-year chance to put the issue before voters

Published On July 12, 2017

Marijuana is still illegal in New York, but that did not stop more than 4,000 people from descending on the Javits Center in Manhattan for a cannabis-industry conference in June. Longtime activists in blazers decorated with weed leaves mingled among Wall Street types in crisp suits. But one man stood out among the well-heeled crowd.

Jerome Dewald, a 66-year-old investor, manned a booth for Restrict & Regulate New York (RRNY)—a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in New York through a state constitutional convention. He was sporting his signature look—a bowtie, glasses and a straw fedora hat. On this day, he also donned a Billy Reid seersucker blazer with a lively pattern of blue chrysanthemums. Dewald worked the room to raise awareness for his efforts to use a little-known avenue for direct democracy to address the issue of cannabis reform.

Legalization has lagged on the East Coast partly due to the lack of direct democracy. The eight adult-use marijuana measures that have passed in the U.S. since 2012 were approved at the ballot box through voter-driven initiatives. No state has legalized recreational cannabis through the legislature yet, though Vermont came close this year.

New York state’s constitution requires a referendum on whether to hold a convention to rewrite it every 20 years. Other states in the region have similar provisions, including New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. The last convention held was called by the state legislature in 1967, but voters rejected its proposals — primarily one to let tax money be used to fund religious schools. Voters can also call for a convention. That last happened in 1938, when they approved amendments enabling the state to set up a social-welfare system and requiring public construction projects to pay a union-level “prevailing wage.” Voters rejected holding a convention in 1997.

New Yorkers will vote this November on whether to hold a convention in April 2019. Delegates would be elected next year, and voters would ratify or defeat proposed amendments in November 2019. Some ethics groups have supported holding a convention, saying it could be used to reform the state’s notoriously corrupt legislature. Labor unions have strongly opposed it, as they fear it would be used to eliminate the guarantee that public employees’ pensions must be paid in full.

Dewald, who hails from Muskegon, Mich., spent decades living as an expat in Moscow before he returned to the U.S. in 2015. He’d started trading cannabis stocks in the over-the-counter markets two years earlier, and decided he wanted to invest exclusively in the marijuana industry. He spent 2015 attending as many cannabis conferences as he could—14 by his count. The next year, he “plowed as much money as [he] was willing to plow” into the industry, about $1 million. When he learned about New York’s constitutional-convention process, he was initially skeptical, but he decided that it would be the best way to achieve legalization in the state.

“We are not going to get satisfactory results from the legislature or the governor in anything less than five years,” he tells Word on the Tree (WOTT). “First, we have to wait for [Governor Andrew] Cuomo to leave office, and then we’re going to have to navigate the legislature.”

If voters approve Con-Con (for constitutional convention), delegates would convene in 2019 to weigh in on a variety of issues.

Dewald’s Criminal Record
With a once-in-20-years avenue open to put the issue of marijuana legalization before New York voters, one might expect national advocacy organizations to support the campaign. But so far, no major group—the Drug Policy Alliance, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, the Marijuana Policy Project, Students for a Drug Policy, Marijuana Majority—has taken a position on Dewald’s campaign, despite their support for other legalization measures around the country.

“The silence from our industry is deafening,” Dewald sighs. “Not one policy group in our industry has come out in favor of a New York State constitutional convention as a pathway for legalization in New York.”

There’s a reason for that. In 2005, Dewald was convicted of fraud and larceny charges in Michigan for his role in two political-action committees he’d run in the 2000 presidential election—one raising money for Democrat Albert Gore, one for Republican George W. Bush. After state appeals courts upheld his conviction, he filed a habeas corpus petition in federal court, arguing that because his PACs were raising money for a federal election, he could only be charged under federal law, not state law. A federal district court ruled in Dewald’s favor, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals overruled it in 2014, reinstating his conviction in a two-to-one decision.

When Dewald reached out to NORML in March to ascertain its level of support for a campaign like RRNY, Keith Stroup, the organization’s founder and legal counsel, raised the issue of his felony convictions. Stroup forwarded the query to David Holland, Empire State NORML’s executive and legal director, and NORML Legal Committee member Joe Bondy.

“I need to know if you are the individual who was convicted of fraud involving two PACs,” Stroup asked in his email reply to Dewald. “The facts of that case seem suspiciously similar to the current project you have started.”

“I responded to him the same day pointing out that [the case] is clearly disclosed on my LinkedIn profile for anyone to read, plus it comes up at the top of any Google search about me,” Dewald says. In addition, he sent Stroup, Holland and Bondy transcripts of his trial and reports from the Federal Election Commission general counsel about the case.

After reviewing the transcripts, Holland sent Dewald a letter saying that he and Bondy had reviewed the information and decided an educational and fundraising alliance with Empire State NORML would not be possible.

“We took no position with regard to the validity of the charges or conviction.” Holland wrote. “They played no part in our determination on behalf of NORML. What did impact our review was the appearance of impropriety and conflicts of interest… with which NORML cannot be affiliated.”

Dewald defends himself, saying: “The whole thing seems very weird to me at this point. Why would Stroup use this 20-year-old conviction as a distraction from the real issue, which is the Con-Con and whether it is a viable process for us? I may be flawed, but no one else is standing up. The clock is marching forward as our troops sleep.”

Limited Support for Dewald and RRNY
Dewald assembled what he called a “group of 18 influentials” who wanted to pursue legalization through a constitutional convention as an option in New York. After NORML raised the issue of his past conviction, he sent an email to the group.

“I go into crisis management mode so that we could at least get something out that tells my side of the story,” says Dewald, who livestreamed an interview about his conviction to address questions surrounding it. The video is on his Facebook page and on YouTube:

When WOTT attempted to contact Dewald’s “influentials,” several people confirmed their involvement and support for the effort. But others in the group were surprised to hear of their supposed support for RRNY. In a follow-up conversation, Dewald clarified that the group of 18 weren’t necessarily supporters, but had different levels of involvement.

“I’m aware of the RRNY campaign, but was not aware I am listed as a supporter,” Kassandra Frederique, the DPA’s New York state director, replied in an email to WOTT. “I play more of an observer role.”

Jeffrey Friedland, CEO of the INTIVA cannabinoid-products company and one of the campaign’s financial backers, says Dewald was “absolutely” up front with him about his past conviction. “I’m used to dealing with people with a checkered past,” he explains.

“I think the cause is very worthy,” says Steve Gormley, founder and managing partner of Seventh Point, a private-equity firm specializing in cannabis-industry investments, but adds that he would reconsider his future involvement due to Dewald’s criminal history.

One of the 18, who asked to remain anonymous, says he has nothing to do with the campaign. Four others, some of who asked not to be named, said they only had informal roles or that they really weren’t involved beyond a few conversations. Others did not return requests for comment.

RRNY’s former treasurer Matt Karnes, founder of GreenWave Advisors, resigned immediately after learning of Dewald’s conviction. “I like to give people the benefit of the doubt,” he states. But Karnes felt blindsided by the disclosure. “I think [RRNY] is a worthwhile endeavor, but he should’ve told me this before he asked me to be the treasurer.”

According to Dewald, Leslie Bocskor, president of Electrum Partners, a cannabis-industry consulting firm, has contributed funding to the campaign. Pamela Johnston, senior vice president of strategy and special projects at Electrum, is also backing the RRNY campaign, and has been involved in its messaging strategy and communications. Dewald is “on the right side of history in regards to cannabis policy and regulation,” she told WOTT in an email.

Dewald Continues to Lead RRNY Despite Questions
On June 15, RRNY announced that it had raised $600,000 for its 9B ballot issue political action committee.

“I have purposely set up this PAC… to be open, transparent and so that financial decisions are approved by two others in management,” Dewald states. “I don’t operate the checkbook.”

Dewald says RRNY’s new treasurer, Will Powers, has complete control over the finances. Powers did not return multiple requests for comment.

Still, many are questioning if Dewald is the right man to lead the campaign. “We don’t want the credibility of the movement collapsing under the weight of his background,” notes Gormley.

“If somebody else wants to stand up and do this because I’m a bad character, I’d be delighted to turn this thing over to someone else,” Dewald says in response to his critics. “We have just four and a half months. If someone else wants the baton, I will be happy to pass it to them racing toward the finish line. But [I’m] not standing on the sidelines.”

Allen St. Pierre, board member at NORML and vice president of advocacy and communications at Freedom Leaf, offers a modicum of support for Dewald. “An imperfect effort led by an imperfect person is better than no effort at all,” he comments.

If a constitutional convention were to be convened and a sensible marijuana legalization measure put forth, Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, says: “We’ll certainly support that and do everything we can to pass it. That said, it seems to me that taking the huge amount of resources required for such an effort and instead putting them into convincing New York legislators to join the growing number of other states that are legalizing marijuana would have a greater likelihood of succeeding, as obviously challenging as it would be.”

Other advocates echoed the sentiment.

“Empire State NORML raises funds for a variety of advocacy measures, not a single issue like [RRNY] does, so our missions are different,” said Holland. “While I support Con-Con, at this time NORML will not take a position that supports Jerome Dewald and his organization.”
New York to Broaden Medical Marijuana Program

The state health department is looking to expand its medical marijuana program.

Under a series of proposals, approved patients would have access to lotions, ointments, patches and chewable tablets.

Currently the drug is only available in liquid and oil forms, or a capsule taken orally.

State officials also want to streamline patient access to dispensaries.

New Yorkers will have 30 days to comment on the proposed regulations when they are published later this month.

Some of the conditions currently covered under the medical marijuana program are cancer, HIV and AIDS, Parkinson's disease, and epilepsy.

This ain't nothing. NY's program still sucks major league dick and will continue to do so due to lack of eligible conditions and prohibitions against vape or smokeable forms. Can somebody explain to me how really, really, liberal blue states seem to be mostly liberal about telling people what they can/cannot do (for their own good, of course). I understand the ass-hats from TX better. They wear their MJ ignorance and narrow mindedness almost like a badge of honor. NY, supposedly one of the homes of liberalism, and they won't let a terminal cancer patient chose to smoke a joint? Fuck them.
I have another way.....vote those useless and self-serving ass-hats out of office. NY needs another Cuomo like Maryland needed another D'Alesandro (Pelosi's maiden name....look it up, nice, little, old style, political machine there.

How New York Voters Can End Prohibition

As a libertarian, these words really hit a nerve with me…

We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in New York to peacefully seize control of our government this November 7.

Cannabis legalization advocate Jerome Dewald pulled no punches when describing the opportunity we have before us to end cannabis prohibition in the state of New York.

In a recent piece entitled, “Tyranny in Albany on Independence Day,” Dewald explained how, in just two years, New York voters could end the state’s prohibition on cannabis—and do so on their own terms.

You see, New York State currently allows for the use of medical cannabis, but the program is incredibly restrictive, cumbersome and inefficient. Only those with very severe and life-threatening conditions can “get permission” from the state to legally purchase and consume cannabis. Many actually believe the program was designed to fail from the beginning, as most politicians outside of the city have no interest in supporting legalization. Meanwhile, more than half of New York’s population favors legalization.

Other states that have legalized adult-use cannabis were up against similar barriers before prohibition was lifted, but those barriers were broken down thanks to the ballot proposal process, which allows voters, not bureaucrats, to decide the fate of a particular issue.

Unfortunately, the New York State Constitution has no such provision. But that could soon change.

On November 7, voters will have an opportunity to approve a state constitutional convention. If voters decide to approve the constitutional convention—which can only be held once every 20 years—they could then have the opportunity to vote on a ballot measure similar to other ballot measures that allowed for adult-use legalization in states where the cannabis industry has since bolstered local economies and created tens of thousands of new jobs.

Here’s a rough diagram that details the process …


So Jerome Dewald, who is the acting executive director of a group called Restrict & Regulate in NY State 2019, is trying to get the word out to New York voters that they do have a voice—if they choose to use it.

As one would expect, a number of legislators don’t want a constitutional convention. Why else would the proposal be on the back of the ballot? And pollsters at Siena College found that 72 percent of voters don’t even know it’s on the ballot. So clearly, Dewald has his work cut out for him.

But here’s the thing…

I have no doubt that if every legalization advocate in the state of New York knew about the constitutional convention and the potential ballot measure, each and every one of them would vote “yes” on the constitutional convention.

The truth is, we often hear about how voters do have power. I’ve always been a bit skeptical of that when it comes to national elections, but in terms of local action, I do believe “the people” have a voice. And in this case, “the people” could do a lot more for the state than any single politician.

With the passage of a ballot measure to legalize adult-use cannabis, tens of thousands of new jobs would be created. Changes could be made to the state’s medical cannabis program that would make it easier for sick folks to medicate as they choose, as opposed to medicating as the state chooses, and New York’s struggling farmers would even have an opportunity to grow industrial hemp, which would serve as a very valuable commodity crop.

There really is no rational excuse for maintaining the prohibition of adult-use cannabis in New York, but make no mistake—few politicians have any interest in changing the status quo. That’s why it’s up to the good folks of New York to lead this very honorable revolt against prohibition.

You can read more about New York’s opportunity to legal cannabis HERE.

Adult-Use Legalization Bill Approved for New York Ballot

Legalization advocates in New York State are one step closer to a statewide vote to end cannabis prohibition. Earlier this month the group Restrict & Regulate in New York State got its proposal certified by the New York Board of Elections.

That means New York State residents will vote on November 7, 2017, to approve or reject the organization of a state constitutional convention, which is one of the few mechanisms available to pass legalization outside of the state legislature.

New York Authorizes 5 New Medical Marijuana Producers

In New York, according to Section 2 of Article XIX of the New York Constitution, the question to hold a constitutional convention is automatically placed on the statewide general election ballot every 20 years.

It started in the state in 1957, and was most recently on the ballot in 1997, when it was defeated 63-37%.

So far there are three issues that have been proposed as subjects for the constitutional convention. Prop. 1 deals with cannabis legalization. Prop. 2 addresses corruption, and Prop. 3 deals with the environment. Voters cast a yea or nay for each of those issues separately. If one of them passes, then a statewide constitutional convention would be called to address the issue.

From there, it’s still a long road to legalization. If voters call for a convention, state residents would then elect delegates in November, 2018. The convention would be held in April, 2019, and voters would then again vote on the proposed amendment(s) produced by the convention, in November, 2019.

As New York Relaxes Cannabis Rules, Industry Wants In

Below is a flow chart that lays out the process as it plays out in New York State.

New York isn’t the only state that allows a constitutional convention. It’s actually a fairly common procedural option here in the United States—even if they don’t happen all that often.

A constitutional convention is a gathering of elected delegates who propose revisions and amendments to a state constitution, according to Ballotpedia. To date, 233 constitutional conventions to deliberate on state-level constitutions have been held in the United States, while 44 states have rules that govern how, in their state, a constitutional convention can be called.

New York Lawmakers to Renew Push for Cannabis Legalization

States can have differences in their laws governing constitutional conventions. In some states, like New York, a ballot measure asks people to approve or disapprove of holding a convention automatically on the ballot every 10, or in some states (again, like New York), 20 years.

In other states, the state legislature can act to place on the ballot a question asking whether voters wish to call a convention.

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