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Rally calls for full legalization of medical marijuana

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Albany/HV: Rally calls for full legalization of medical marijuana
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A pair of state lawmakers from New York City spent their first day back in session rallying for medical marijuana. That's after Governor Cuomo made a point to talk about it in his State of the State address. But while ralliers believe Cuomo's heart is in the right place, they say his proposal still falls short. Geoff Redick reports.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A pair of state lawmakers from New York City spent their first day back in session rallying for medical marijuana at the Capitol. Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Diane Savino, both Democrats, led a demonstration outside the Senate Chamber on Monday.

The rally followed just a week after Governor Andrew Cuomo's State of the State address. The governor made a point to talk about medical marijuana in that speech, signaling he's ready to move forward with some form of legalization.

While ralliers believe Cuomo's heart is in the right place, they say his proposal still falls short. The governor's proposed executive action would revive a law dating back to 1980. Under that old law, the state's marijuana supply would come from police drug confiscations, and would seemingly only aid a small number of cancer patients. The original intent of the law was to provide small amounts of cannabis for exploratory, research-based treatments.

Monday's rally urged the Governor and the state legislature to consider a more sweeping change known as the Compassionate Care Act. People like Missy Miller are in staunch support of the bill. Miller's son Oliver, 14, has been suffering from seizures, disability and pain since his birth.

"None of the surgeries, special diets, medications, IV treatments -- nothing has worked," says Miller. "But there is a strain of medicinal marijuana that has no side effects, and can stop his seizures."

The strain is not the same as most recreational varieties sold illegally on-the-street. It's also not consumed by smoking, but rather is incorporated into a topical cream.

"Relying on law enforcement is just not going to make available the targeted varieties and the forms (of cannabis) that so many patients need," said state assemblyman Richard Gottfried on Monday.

The group at the Capitol had an audience with Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, and also visited the governor's office. They say new legislative action must be brought on the floor of the Capitol and passed within the 2014 calendar year.

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