State Senate to Consider Medical Marijuana Bill

April 4, 2013 Updated Apr 4, 2013 at 11:47 PM EDT

By John Borsa

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April 4, 2013 Updated Apr 4, 2013 at 11:47 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - New York could be the next state to legalize marijuana use. A state senator from downstate introduced a bill that would legalize medical marijuana.

A Pew Research Center study shows for the first time in history, a majority of Americans support legal marijuana, 52 percent.

Medical marijuana is already legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia.

Colorado and Washington State have legalized the drug completely.

But despite momentum in support of legal Canibus, allowing the very ill to use the drug as a medical treatment in New York faces an uphill battle.

Diane Savino, a democratic state senator from Staten Island, is sponsoring the bill.

"In other countries, the UK and Canada, they've done extensive research on Medical Marijuana, and have been able to show that there is a direct effect in a positive way on patients," she said.

The bill takes what has worked in other states and leaves out elements that have not been successful, said Savino.

Under the proposal, a seriously ill patient would have to get a doctor's permission and could then purchase marijuana through a system of state-registered dispensaries. Savino said the pot would be tracked from plant to patient.

But that is not enough for opponents, who warn that making marijuana more widely available is a slippery slope.

"Marijuana is not safe. It may be less dangerous than some other things for sure. But that doesn't make it safe any more than a motorcycle is more dangerous than a car but a car is still dangerous," said Dr. Robert Whitney from the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in the past, has said he does not support medical marijuana.