Rally to legalize medical marijuana held in Rockville Centre

Advocates say medical marijuana can help treat numerous diseases. (6/4/14)

ROCKVILLE CENTRE - Advocates for legalizing medical marijuana held a rally Wednesday in Rockville Centre, urging lawmakers in Albany to bring the Compassionate Care bill to the Senate floor for a vote.

The bill would allow the use of medical marijuana to treat diseases from cancer to AIDS to Parkinson's disease. Baldwin resident Pamela Chait-Ross, who has multiple sclerosis, says it would help her cope with the pain she suffers.

It has passed five times in the Assembly, but the Senate has not acted yet. Some senators oppose medical marijuana in smokeable form. A spokesman for state Senate Republican leader Dean Skelos says there will likely be a vote on the bill before the session is over in two weeks. A spokesman for the Senate Democratic Conference says the overwhelming majority of Democrats are ready to pass it.

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced this week that New York will participate in a clinical trial to use marijuana extract to treat children with some forms of epilepsy. Advocates say it is not enough and a bill is needed to help more patients.

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