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News Update for Fri., June 20, 2014

Young among majority that votes "yes" for Medical Marijuana in State Senate...

Local State Senator Cathy Young was among the majority in the chamber who voted to legalize medical marijuana to alleviate pain... and, other symptoms for some severely ill patients.  Young joined with 48 other Senators in voting yes for the Compassionate Care Act... while only 10 voted no.  The Olean Republican reiterates that she remains strongly opposed to legalizing recreational use of pot.  However... she was satisified that this measure only allows limited use under the supervision of a doctor... and, that it will be used to help treat serious diseases like Cancer and Multiple Sclororis in a "non-smoking form."  The approval follows the overwhelming approval earlier today by the Assembly for the compromise among legislative leaders and Governor Andrew Cuomo.  That will make New York the 23rd state to legalize, but the drug won't be available in New York for at least 18 months while regulations are written... and, five state-approved producers and distributors are chosen.  Many senators say it will help alleviate suffering of children with seizures.

Medical Marijuana measure also approved -- overwhelmingly -- in Assembly; Goodell votes no...

In the state Assembly... medical marijuana was approved 113-13.  The program will be heavily-regulated and Governor Cuomo says he will have the power to pull the plug at any time.  However, Local Assemblyman Andy Goodell was one of 13 Assembly members to vote "no" on the bill.  Goodell says he still has concerns about the program.  One is a requirement to have a Project Labor Agreement which allows only unionized growers could be involved in the process... and, that excludes all farms in Chautauqua County because they aren't unionized.  Goodell also says he has questions about the program including the lack of control over the background of people designated to pick up and deliver the drugs.  However, the Bemus Point Republican says the legislation is a lot better now than when it was first considered a few years ago.  The marijuana involved can’t be smoked... and, the legislation will require doctors to be trained and certified in order to prescribe it.

Rankin will be GOP candidate for Legislature District 12 seat in November... 
There will be an all-woman, special election this coming November for the District 12 seat on the Chautauqua County Legislature.  With her endorsement... Republican Elizabeth Rankin will run off against Democrat Beth Kresge for the Jamestown seat.  Rankin says she's "really honored" to get the GOP's backing... and, says she had been looking to run of public office for a while.  She adds she's worked in constituent services for a "long-time..." and, she would look forward to being a county lawmaker.  Rankin says the issues she's most interested in are taxes... jobs... and, the future for her children here.  Beth Kresge is to be appointed to fill the Legislature 12 seat at next week's Legislature meeting to fill the vacancy when Democrat Fred Larson stepped down.