| 02 Mar 2015 | 04:27

    state sen. tom duane and assembly member richard gottfried, west side legislators who chair each chamber's health committee, unveiled a bill that would protect patients from arrest while using medicinal marijuana. "there is no reason we can't establish common sense controls to ensure safe access to this medicine for suffering patients who have their doctors' recommendations while ensuring it doesn't wind up in the wrong hands," duane said in a statement. legalizing medicinal marijuana in new york has been a goal for gottfried, who had introduced the bill every two years since 1997. in 2007, the bill passed his chamber but died in the republican-controlled state senate. with democrats in control of that chamber, the bill has a better chance of passing. plus, with president barack obama's administration ending raids on and prosecution of medicinal marijuana dispensers, the state bill could pass without fear that citizens might be prosecuted on a federal level while following state law.