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Assemblyman Katz Travels to Colorado to Research Marijuana Industry

Assemblyman Steve Katz
Assemblyman Steve Katz
Assemblyman Steve Katz (R, C, I -Yorktown) made a trip to Colorado earlier this month to research the marijuana industry. He met with business owners, growers, distributers and lawmakers who have been successful in the industry. 

"I believe in the legalization of medical marijuana because it has been proven effective against some horrible illnesses that currently have less than adequate treatments," Katz told Patch in an email. "Doctors across the country agree that our government should not be standing in the way that they treat their patients."

Katz, who had previously voted against the legalization of medical marijuana, reversed his position last year and voted on in favor of an assembly bill that would allow for marijuana to be used for "medicinal and therapeutic purposes."

That vote came about three months after Katz was ticketed for unlawful possession of marijuana and speeding on the New York State Thruway in the town of Coeymans on March 14, 2013 at about 10 a.m.

Katz said he changed his vote after hearing from his constituents and doing an "extensive research" into the matter.

"I've participated in legislative hearings that I left with tears because of the pain that families and children feel," he said. "All because they cannot be adequately treated in our state. We can and should do better for all New Yorkers."

Katz said there have been cases that demonstrate that marijuana has been helpful in treating a variety of diseases from epilepsy to PTSD to aiding with the effects of chemotherapy. 

"Chemotherapy patients would have an appetite stimulant and pain reliever all in one without the addictive properties that oxycodone and morphine have," he said. 

Families with children suffering from Dravet Syndrome would be immediate beneficiaries, Katz said. He was in Colorado from Jan. 5 to Jan. 8 to learn firsthand about a strain called Charlotte's Web that has shown promise for treating children with epileptic disorders. 

North Salem mother Kate Hintz, whose daughter Morgan suffers from a severe seizure disorder, is counting on the legalization of medial marijuana. 

Katz called the Hintz family "courageous and strong."

"I don't know how they do it and they give me strength," he said. "I only hope that my work will bring them closer to giving their children promising and fulfilling lives."

As far as recreational marijuana, Katz said he believes that if the state figures out a way to regulate it, it could be a "tremendous revenue generator for our cash starved state."

"Right now there is a black market for marijuana that drug dealers own," Katz said. "They can put any number of harmful additives into their product and sell without paying any taxes, if the state creates a program that regulates it like alcohol and derives taxes, I believe it will the state can benefit, we can control the market and eradicate a serious crime problem all at once."

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