A sizeable number of elected officials representing Long Island who responded to a recent newsday.com survey said they support legalizing the use of medical marijuana in New York.
Of Long Island’s 81 local, state and federal elected officials, 32 mostly Democratic respondents said they support legalizing medical marijuana, two said they would not support such a measure, and 47 would not say whether they would support it.
Among those who said they would support legalizing medical marijuana were Democratic U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and U.S. Reps. Tim Bishop, Carolyn McCarthy and Gregory Meeks.
Republican State Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick and Democratic Suffolk Legis. William Spencer said they would not support such a measure, though Spencer qualified his answer by saying, "if the conditions, qualifications and methods of delivery can be … [strictly] clarified and controlled I would consider supporting it."
Newsday.com's survey comes after a Quinnipiac poll in February that found 88 percent of New York voters support the legalization of medical marijuana.
State legislation has been introduced to make medical marijuana available, but if or when such measures might move forward remains to be seen.
In his State of the State address, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo spoke about a plan, based on a 1980 drug research law, that he could enact using executive power. The plan would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana through up to 20 New York hospitals and would only make it available for patients with certain diseases, such as cancer.
A spokesman for the governor said in early April that Cuomo will move forward with his medical marijuana proposal if state legislators don’t act and would review whatever they do, if anything.
Legislators can still answer newsday.com's survey, which includes questions ranging from whether children should have access to medical marijuana to whether the state should legalize the use of recreational pot.
See the survey results and find out how to contact your legislator by clicking the link above, or go to newsday.com/medicalmarijuana.