New York seems to be on the verge of becoming the next state set to join many others to permit its ailing residents the right to obtain marijuana for medical purposes, giving the long maligned yet innocent plant a new venue.
Despite the fact that alcohol and tobacco use claim hundreds of thousands of lives each year in the United States, and there has never been a single documented case of death by marijuana, possession, sale and use of the herb remains a felony crime throughout much of the nation.
Forward thinking states such as California, Maine, Montana and Vermont have allowed for the use of medical marijuana for years. Many doctors agree that for pain treatment and the alleviation of anxiety and depression, marijuana is better than various chemical pharmaceuticals designed for such applications.
Increasingly, the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is becoming legal.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo originally opposed the legalization of marijuana for medicial purposes, but has come around after making a serious study on the subject and hearing of heartbreaking stories of people whose sufferring could have been alleviated by access to the plant when properly administered. He now appears ready to allow for legislation that will allow for five growers who each can have several dispensaries to sell approved medical marijuana to individuals who qualify for it based on illness.
Beginning next week, the Niagara Falls Reporter will begin an investigative series examining the legalization of marijuana in New York for medical purposes. We'll look at the effects legalization has had in other states, talk to health care professionals about its' therapeutic effects and examine what impact legalization might have on the criminal organizations that now have control over the plant's sale.
We'll look at the efforts of the powerful liquor, tobacco and pharmaceutical industry lobbies opposing legalization.
Banning things that people want – liquor, gambling, guns etc. – has long been a function of government in this country, which was, after all, founded by the Puritans. But with each passing year, the tide seems to be shifting, and allowing citizens to make their own choices is becoming, for many politicians unaccustomed to the concept, the right thing to do.
Most significantly we will explore, in depth, the behind the scenes of how the governor will qualify and select who will get to grow and dispense the product in New York and how it may effect local communities that are to host the growing of strictly regulated medical marijuana.
Many towns are expected to vie for the chance to host the growers on account of the revenue and jobs it will create.
Lastly, we will show how medical marijuana (as opposed to recreational marijuana) aides children and adults in the relief and cure of ailments.