Marijuana bill sponsors see progress in Cuomo meeting
ALBANY—The sponsors of a bill to legalize medical marijuana in New York State emerged from a closed-door meeting with Governor Andrew Cuomo Tuesday afternoon without a deal in hand, but were hopeful lawmakers could reach an agreement by Thursday, the last day of the legislative session.
Senators Diane Savino and Jeff Klein and Assemblyman Richard Gottfried met with the governor for more than an hour, and said they discussed some concerns Cuomo has with the bill, including allowing medical marijuana to be smoked, and whether it would contain provisions allowing the governor to shut down the program if the drug was being used illegally.
"I think we’re making progress on a lot of the issues and you know the staff is going to be meeting again to talk about some of the open issues," Savino told reporters.
Asked whether he would consider signing onto a bill that didn't allow smokable forms of the drug, Assemblyman Gottfried, who has previously said it is crucial that some patients be allowed to use smokable marijuana, declined to answer.
"I think you're suggesting we negotiate particulars in a hallway, and we're not going to do that," he said.
Savino said she and Klein had not yet received language from the governor's office about the particular changes to the bill's language they'd like to see before signing off on it. She was uncertain whether or not a deal could be reached today.
"My prediction we're going to end this session on a high," Jeff Klein said as he walked away and reporters groaned.