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Letter: Medical marijuana plan falls short

Pot plants mature inside a grow house, later

Pot plants mature inside a grow house, later to be harvested, packaged and sold at Medicine Man marijuana dispensary in Denver, Colo. (Dec. 27, 2013) Credit: AP

I thank Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo for proposing to allow access to marijuana for medical purposes ["Medical marijuana for New York," Editorial, Jan. 19].

However, his plan to dust off and spruce up the 1980 Olivieri law, which allows a state-run research program, seems like an attempt to avoid passing legislation. His plan perpetuates laws irrelevant to the scientifically supported knowledge we have today of the plant's medical potential.

Distributing to only 20 New York hospitals will not cover all the patients who need it. While many wait with debilitating illnesses, citing this archaic law will prolong needless suffering rather than implement a proven and comprehensive system.

In June 2013, the State Assembly approved the Compassionate Care Act, which proposes safe access to approved patients under strictly regulated Department of Health guidelines. The bill was introduced in the Senate, but senators ended their session without voting on it.

I urge state leaders to pass this beneficial bill.

Sarah Percesepe, East Meadow

Editor's note: The writer is a member of the Long Island chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, an advocacy group.