Test whether Cuomo is serious: when do we see the Executive Order?

The articles and comments I have seen concerning Governor Cuomo’s proposal to re-implement the old, defunct Oliveiri Statute by executive order have been uniformly skeptical of his plan.

Some of them made the objection I did, which is that no hospital worried about losing federal funding is going to participate (although the article at the foregoing link indicates that there are hospitals interested in the idea).

I believe there is one fundamental question that must be addressed, ahead of all questions about whether hospitals will participate, what patients will be eligible and what will be the source of the cannabis (if Cuomo succeeds in hoodwinking the legislature into letting his executive order bypass the legislation that would create a licensed private-sector supply side).


We need a date certain by which he will issue the executive order, a statement as to who will be the point person to implement the order, and a date by which regulations will be promulgated. I explained in my first post on this topic that Governor Christie of New Jersey pulled a similar ploy in 2010: he tried to obstruct implementation of that state’s program by proposing that Rutgers University grow cannabis as an alternative to implementing the duly-enacted statute. The New Jersey statute, enacted before Christie became governor. provide for creation of six “Alternative Treatment Centers.” Although the statute as enacted called for creation of the ATC’s and promulgation of regulations, the Christie administration failed to promulgate regs and instead Christie suggested ignoring that part of the statute and handing off cultivation to Rutgers. That didn’t work but it delayed things for a little while.

Back to New York: I expect that unless people demand a date certain by which the executive order will be issued, Cuomo will delay until far enough along in the session that there will be insufficient time for advocates to analyze whether the plan is viable before this issue disappears into the whirlpool of other policy disputes. There was a big news splash when the Governor made his announcement, Assembly Member Richard Gottfried has stated that the Governor’s support for implementation of a medical cannabis supply is good but new legislation is needed, and now all is quiet.

If Governor Cuomo is serious – and his announcement is not simply a political ploy – then he must state a date certain by which the order will be issued. Otherwise, his proposal is just a means of derailing the Gottfried-Savino medical cannabis bill and the Krueger-Peoples-Stokes general legalization bill.

4 thoughts on “Test whether Cuomo is serious: when do we see the Executive Order?

  1. Hospitals won't run afoul of federal law if they obtain cannabis from Mississippi and supply to patients under schedule I prescriber license that they share. This is how they did it in the Eighties and how Columbia U Med Ctr did it a few yrs ago with their cannabis to hiv patients appetite study


  2. Yes, IF the National Institute on Drug Abuse's farm at the University of Mississippi will provide cannabis but do we think that the farm has the capacity to generate and distribute volume and quality and diversity sufficient to meet customer demand? NIDA's refusal to give cannabis to Dr. Abrams in San Francisco kicked off the multi-year litigation by MAPS against the DEA for its refusal to license an alternate supplier. Until there is a shake-up in that little-known corner of cannabis law and policy then the federal government is not part of the solution, just the problem.

    Looking at things differently, Cuomo may be a political genius: his proposal is actually a direct challenge to the federal government, that being “if you want everything done in compliance with federal law, then the federal government should stop hindering the process.” In other words, his proposal is testing the system: if the feds would (a) provide cannabis to the states or, better, (b) break NIDA's monopoly as the sole manufacturer of cannabis permitted under federal law then there shouldn't be a problem. If the federal government will not cooperate then New York will do what it needs to do. I don't any of the foregoing will happen, but Cuomo can be interpreted as throwing the problem back at the feds (in addition to the NY Senate Republicans).

    I am not familiar with the “schedule I subscriber license.” Feel free to elaborate.


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