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Audio from Albany: Senator Diane Savino, medical marijuana proponent

As part of a regular weekly feature on the Politics Now blog, Tom Precious of The News' Albany Bureau posts an audio interview with a newsmaker from the Capitol.

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ALBANY — Patients, health providers and lawmakers are making another uphill push today at the Capitol to have New York join 16 other states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The legislation has passed the Assembly four times already, but has been stalled in the Senate. While some district attorneys have supported the concept, others worry legalization for medical reasons could be a steppingstone to broader relaxing of the state's drug laws. Patients interviewed in the past, both self-described liberals and conservatives, say they have broken the law to obtain marijuana to help with everything from the effects of chemotherapy to chronic pain from car accidents, and that existing drugs are too expensive and have too many side effects.

SavinoToday we talk about the issue with the new sponsor of the measure in the Senate, Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat and member of the four-person Independent Democratic Conference, a group that has been allied with Republican senators on a number of issues over the past year. Savino, whose district also includes part of Brooklyn, argues New York is overdue in letting people with serious chronic pain and terminal illnesses, with the prescription from a doctor, use marijuana as part of their treatment options.

--Tom Precious

Listen to the full conversation with Savino here:

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