News, views and commentary on Long Island, state and national politics.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver appeared to throw cold water Monday on the prospects of the State Legislature legalizing medical marijuana; though an aide later said the speaker wasn't implying the issue was dead but was focusing on the State Senate’s inaction.
Silver (D-Manhattan) and the Democrat-dominated Assembly support medical marijuana but indicated its prospects weren’t great because there was “no interest” in the politically split State Senate taking up the bill.
“I don’t think it has a future in this session,” Silver said. “I don’t think so. There was no interest from the other parties.”
Later, spokesman Michael Whyland said Silver was emphasizing that the Senate needed to act.
"It has not passed the Senate, and of course we hope this is the year it finally passes," Whyland said.
In any case, Silver’s remarks drew a sharp retort from state Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), the lead Senate sponsor of the medical marijuana bill.
“I wasn't aware he was elected to the Senate,” Savino said in an email. “The fact of the matter is that each week, we continue to generate broad, bipartisan support for (medical marijuana) we have among the general public.”
She added “the only question is when” New York embraces medical marijuana.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, a Democrat, proposed a limited medical marijuana research program, saying he has “great comfort” in a program he can “control.”
A spokesman said Monday Cuomo will go ahead with his medical marijuana proposal if legislators don’t do anything and would review whatever they do, if anything.