Monday, December 22, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: Eating Crow – and Some Reefer -- in Albany

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When it comes to medical marijuana, I've been smoked out by Governor Cuomo.

Just three days after I declared that the thorny issue was all but dead in the State Capitol, the governor got what he wanted yesterday, trumpeting his plan which is set to be voted on by the State Senate later today.

The governor's insistence that the drug not be smoked and only ingested in other ways already is bringing to mind more Maureen Dowd-style freakouts by New Yorkers who will be taking the marijuana orally. But while advocates are less-than-thrilled with the smoke-free option, they'd rather take some pot rather than none at all.

"If that becomes the only thing that stands in the way, you can't say no to that. It just doesn't make any sense,'' said State Senator Diane Savino, who was just saying no earlier in the week.

While the legislative session is hardly ending on a flurry of big bills being passed, the medical marijuana bill gives the governor something to point to as he hits the campaign trail this summer – at least with members of his liberal base who are trying to figure out how to spell Zephyr Teachout. (Extra credit bonus: Her middle name is Rain!)

Meanwhile, while Mayor de Blasio never got his millionaire's pre-k tax, he did get the legislature to allow him to lower the local speed limit as part of his Vision Zero plan. Maybe that's a good thing with some of that new marijuana floating around.

And at least for a few months, the governor won't have to worry about the legislature harshing his mellow.

Bob Hardt

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