Local officials offer support for medical marijuana

A local state senator and two local law-enforcement officials say they support the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes.

“I plan to vote for medical marijuana. I was very much opposed to the smoking facet of it, but once that got removed, I think it’s appropriate,” state Sen. Hugh Farley, R-Schenectady, said this morning.

Farley, whose Senate district includes Fulton County, said he predicts the Senate will overwhelmingly approve legalization today, although he expects a few amendments will be made during the process.

He said marijuana use would be “highly regulated” and legalizing the drug for medical purposes is the “appropriate thing to do for people that need it.”

He said the measure needs to be amended.

“We are going to do what they call chapter amendment because we only want a doctor prescribing it, and in [the bill], there was nurse practitioners. It will need some adjustment, but I think it’s appropriate.”

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey said this morning he supports the approval of medical marijuana, especially since it wouldn’t be offered in plant form.

“I think it will be fine with the restrictions Gov. Cuomo wanted put on it like it’s not allowed to be smoked and not allowed to be sold in plant form and strictly for the treatment of folks who are seriously ill,” Lorey said. “I’m certainly not against treating people that are ill.”

He said the fact medical marijuana wouldn’t be available in plant form would make the task of enforcing the law easier.

“It’s definitely a lot more difficult for people who don’t deserve it to get it and a lot more difficult to misuse,” he said.

Montgomery County Undersheriff Pete Vroman said he supports the medical use of the drug.

“It’s brand new, but if it is a law, as a law-enforcement professional, we have to uphold that,” Vroman said. “I’m glad it’s not a plant-based product that someone would have to smoke because in a pill form or some other method, it would be easier to regulate and control.”

Levi Pascher can be reached at