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BY PAUL DeRIENZO | A bill legalizing medical marijuana in New York State may be on the verge of a big boost if the City Council follows the advice of its Mental Health Committee and endorses the measure now before the New York State Senate and Assembly.
The scheduled Council vote on Wed., Feb. 29, comes as the city revealed that nearly 700,000 people were searched by police in the past year under the department’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy. These stops, often justified by marijuana found in the person’s possession, are held responsible for an increase in annual pot busts in the city to more than 50,000 last year.
Introduced by Councilman Danny Dromm (Democrat, of Jackson Heights, Queens), the bill was the subject of hearings last year that pitted the Bloomberg administration against cancer survivors and potheads who want to see New York follow the lead of New Jersey, which is required to open marijuana dispensaries for approved patients.
Speaking of the 69 percent increase in marijuana arrests since 2005, Dromm recently noted, that’s “enough to fill Yankee Stadium.”
Activists say they’re planning to attend the Council meeting to speak for passage of the measure.