Marijuana laws are changing rapidly throughout the United States. In some states, certain individuals are permitted to grow their own personal supply of marijuana plants, but not in New York. Unless you're one of the 10,000-plus patients approved to use medical marijuana in our state, the drug is off-limits.
For many years, patients undergoing chemotherapy treatments have used marijuana to help relieve the side effects. After your recent diagnosis, it seemed like a good idea to have something on standby to ease the nausea once you begin your treatments. Unfortunately, it was not in the cards. After you purchased a half-ounce of the drug, the police pulled you over for a minor traffic infraction, searched your vehicle, and arrested you for drug possession.
Last month, New York finally launched its own medical marijuana program - making it the 23rd state in the country to legalize the medical use of cannabis. However, while this new legislation was supposed to help those patients most it need, some argue that the program is simply too restrictive for many patients to do much good.
Citing statistics from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice, a recent report issued by the Drug Policy Alliance noted that the number of arrests in New York City for low-level marijuana possession offenses plummeted to just 16,590 in 2015 - marking the first time since 1996 that marijuana arrests have been below 17,000.