Talk show host promoting medical marijuana legislation

May 09, 2005

, Capitol News 9

"I personally feel that yes the time has come to provide the relief," said Senator Joseph Bruno.

Believe it or not, Majority Leader Joe Bruno is talking about marijuana. But, he doesn't want to legalize it for people like Cheech and Chong, he's thinking more along the lines of people like Montel Williams.

"Twenty-four hours a day, from my shins down, I hurt! It's just that simple. It depends on how much I hurt. And I can control that hurt by using medicinal marijuana," said Williams.

Mr. Williams suffers from MS and in the past he has described his pain as someone constantly stabbing him in the heels with hot daggers. During the press conference, he had to sit down to relieve the stress on his heels.

"If it were not for medicinal marijuana, I would not be standing right here right this second, period. No ifs, ands or buts," said Williams.

Williams was joined by Senator Leibell and Assemblyman Gottfried who have introduced marijuana legislation in their respective houses.

"It is clear, at least on the Assembly side, that if this is a two house bill it can pass in the Assembly," said Assemblyman Richard Gottfried.

And it appears the bill has found a powerful ally in the Senate, as long as it adheres to strict guidelines.

"I support it personally. Yes I do, but with the proper constraints, restraints and specifics," said Bruno.

Should the bill make it past both houses, it would come before the Governor, who historically has been against the idea. But supporters like Williams remain optimistic.

"The Governor has not said that he is going to come down in favor, but I will tell you that clearly the Governor said to me, 'I am going to relook this issue'," said Williams.

The marijuana bill was just presented to the Assembly's health committee on Tuesday, and the senate said their version of the bill needs some fine tuning before it moves forward.

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